April 20, 2010

To Settle

To Settle: to take up residence and become established / to become settled or established and stable in one's residence or lifestyle.

When I look back in my life, it has always been very important for me to be settled. Even as a child, I would look for 'hideouts' or personal areas for which I could make my own. My favorite book was one about an orphan named Mandy who found an abandoned cottage that became her own cared-for place. I read it over and over again. I cherished my own place, privacy, and stability. Later on in life, I would always fix my room just-so. My college years, whenever I had to move out whether it be moving from a dorm to an apartment or moving out for the summer, I struggled with the moving process. I craved stability in a place. I craved settlement. Perhaps I despised the feeling of not having control over that part of my life.

I think it's interesting that after 9 months of being in one town after our wedding, Ben and I spent the last year of marriage unsettled. In some form or another we've lived out of our suitcases and boxes for the past year. India for 6 months, several months with Ben’s family, and two months with a friend's family where we are now. As we are getting ready to move into our new apartment in a week, I'm thinking about the upcoming 'settlement' while reflecting on the past year.

I'm not sure exactly what God had in store for us during this unsettled process. We have been blessed in so many ways, by being able to spend time with family, by having wonderful friends to stay with here.... but it has still been difficult. Difficult dealing with my innate desire to have more stability in my environment. To not have to deal with so much change. I think I have handled the adjustment 'ok', I haven't broken down in tears or anything, but I have withdrawn socially a lot during the last 6 months. Haven't felt quite like myself. Maybe some of that is adjusting from India, as well.

Instead of rambling on without meaning, I'll leave you with this. Our security isn't found in a place. It's not found in consistency, in environmental stability, in routine. As much as we would like to create this for ourselves, and how we often try to, we cannot control our life by controlling our material surroundings. God has allowed me to experience this in an in-your-face way this year. Our only true settlement is found in God. He is our dwelling place.

I once heard Rolland Baker, a missionary in Africa, say that he could be in a mud hut in Mozambique or a hotel in England, and he would be at home.

He could enter into his place of familiarity and comfort wherever he was. Because his home was not a physical place, it was the heart of God. For as children of God, we are citizens not of this world, but of heaven. I guess I’m thankful for learning a small piece of this lesson.

"God, it seems you've been our home forever;

long before the mountains were born.. "

(Psalm 90:1, The Message)