First off, let me say, there are good reasons for not moving: you’re waiting for your child’s adoption to be finalized, your spouse doesn’t want to move, you would be homeless and without a job… The list goes on. The purpose of today’s post is certainly not to say that everyone should move to a red state but it IS to say that if you do want to move and you’re using these reasons as an excuse not to, that’s dumb. Don’t do it.
Dumb Reason #1: You’re scared of what people will think.
I’ll never forget taking my first baby to his pediatrician with my husband. We had a lot of questions about vaccines. Were they safe to give all at once? Should we space them out a little? Was there a link between vaccines and autism? Our internet research was enough to drive any new parent into a crazy tailspin of what ifs. We were terrified we would make the wrong decision and hearing what people close to us felt about our decisions was really hard. One day, when my husband was telling our doctor friend our conundrum, he said “Why would you care what other people think about how you raise your children? God gave them to you to raise, not to your friends or your extended family or your neighbors, to you!” Those words set me free. I finally was able to see that this decision was ours alone, and while it was certainly fine to ask for advice, at the end of the day, this was our decision and no one else’s, no matter how well-meaning or how much another person loved our family. It was OUR responsibility to do our own research, make our own decision, and live with the consequences.
Likewise, the decision to move out of state, while a very difficult one, particularly if you are living in a close knit community with lots of trusted family and friends nearby as we were, is YOUR decision. As much as you love your family and friends, they are not walking in your shoes. They do not care as much about your family’s quality of life as you do and they do not see every unique facet of your particular situation because they aren’t you! They have their own worries and concerns keeping them up at night so chances are they haven’t given nearly the thought, time and attention to researching this particular decision as you have. While it isn’t wrong to ask for prayer and advice, it IS wrong to let the opinions of others control you. It IS wrong to use fear as a reason for not doing something you believe you should. “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe” Proverbs 29:25.
Dumb Reason #2: You think your kids won’t be able to handle it.
Our culture has a big problem coddling children. My point is definitely not that you shouldn’t consider your children before a move or consult them or pray with them, or anything like that! But, it is dumb to use kids as a reason not to move. If you have a reasonably healthy home with love and a sense of “We’re all in this together!” there are few things you can’t do. I have seen families walk down very hard roads, like adopting kids they didn’t have to or saying no to travel ball so they could attend church, and guess what? Everyone’s fine! In fact, according to the parents, that very hard thing has actually served to knit the family closer together than they were before because…SURPRISE…hard things are good for us. Doesn’t mean we can’t give our kids extra hugs and kisses and notes on their pillow when they start their new school. Or that we can’t acknowledge the fact that there will be sadness and loss, but it’s also really important to remember what they will gain. If you have children and you’re wanting to leave your blue state, chances are it is FOR them that you want to leave! Perhaps you are concerned your children will marry people with very different worldviews than the one you are trying to pass down. Perhaps you are thinking about that little great great granddaughter of yours who you will never meet living in a state that wants her to join the draft for the military right alongside the men. Or maybe you want your son to have the privilege of providing well for his family without having to work three jobs to make ends meet in a 700 sq foot apartment off of a busy street with a toddler and a newborn on the way. These are GOOD things to want for your kids. Keep them in the forefront of your mind when you start to feel sad about what your kids will lose moving. It isn’t that they won’t lose anything. It is that sometimes those losses may be necessary in the bigger picture.
I honestly think it is nothing short of tragic that our country has reached a point where people have been put into situations causing them to need to leave family and church and beloved friends. But, what would be more tragic is having parents who feel convicted in their hearts that action is needed and then having those parents too afraid to take action before it’s too late.
Many people will be called to stay right where they are and for them and their dear children, that is good. God will withhold no good thing from His people (Psalm 84:11). But, many are believing they should go and if you are one of them, you should heed the words of my high school principal with her thick Minnesota accent when my mom told her I would be attending another high school: “If you’re gonna go, just go.” You really don’t need any other sign. Which leads me to the next dumb reason not to move…
Dumb Reason #3: You haven’t received a “sign” from God.
Few things get me more fired up than the overspiritualization of decision making. God gave you a brain, a unique personality, preferences and opportunities that He has not given me or anyone else on the planet. If you want to know if you should move all that is needed is to look at the opportunities and desires of you and your spouse, pray and act! It’s actually much more simple than many people make it out to be. Not a good idea to move if you have “big marriage drama”, (check out my post here for more on that: http://redstateramblings.com/7-things-to-expect-moving-to-a-red-state/), not a good idea to move if there isn’t a good church in the town you’ll be moving to, not a good idea to move if you’re forcing something that God is clearly saying no to by shutting every door. But, don’t use God as an excuse not to act. If you believe it would be best for your family to leave, work hard to make that happen, pray like crazy, make your desires known to people who can help and then sit back and trust the Lord. If He wants you to move, you will! “I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” Job 42:2. (And it wouldn’t hurt to read one of these excellent books on decision making…)
May God be glorified in the courage you show whether it be to stay in your blue state or to join us out here in the red. He truly is Lord over all!