A new chapter often starts with anxiety

Recently I moved into a studio apartment in Redmond, an hour north of my parents’ house, where I was living after I graduated from college. This isn’t the first time I have moved–indeed, I have lived out of travel bags for a large part of the last year: in my final semester of college, traveling to East Asia and to Tijuana, and staying at several friends’ homes. However, this time the move was different.

This time I moved to be near my job. And this time I was alone.

When I finished my shift at work the day after I signed the lease for the apartment, I cried. This was an enormous step forward for me and I was having so many second thoughts that I couldn’t withhold the tears. Was I making a wise choice, moving out by myself so soon after getting a job? I had always had roommates when I had lived away from my parents–will I be able to stand the loneliness of living by myself indefinitely? Working at a business has no previously-decided end–how will I manage year after year of the same routine alone? What if I am unable to keep my job–will I be able to pay for my lease? I know almost no one who lives in or near Redmond–will I be able to make friends, or will I finish each day dreading the next because I have no one to talk with?

All of these fears fell on me that night like an anvil and I had no direction to go but forward into the unknown. This was the first part of my life for which I had no plan and no one with whom to share my distress.

Then I remembered: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of His reproof / for the Lord reproves him whom He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

This move was a wake-up call for me. Our Father in heaven was teaching me that this life has many responsibilities that are not easy to carry, especially not alone. I had been living a simple life before I moved, and now God was giving me more responsibilities to manage.

Yet two biblical themes encouraged me. First, God doesn’t expect me to carry this burden alone. Second, He has already provided everything I need in this new part of my journey.

Time after time the Lord shows us in the Bible that He wants us to live in a community, caring for each other and bringing our cares to one another. He shows us this in His commandments for the Israelites to care for the people in their community, in such laws as given in Leviticus 19:9-10: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” The Lord shows us this through Solomon’s wise sayings: “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety,” and “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22).

And even in these modern times He shows us our need for company in the church, the body of Christ: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47).

God showed us our need for friends and family in our ultimate need for Him. By sending His Son to become one of us, live among us, teach us, model life in God’s kingdom for us, die for us and rise to life after He died, God clearly showed His love for us by giving us what–rather, who– we need most: Himself.

For my second comfort, God shows us His provision in many ways as well. He shows us this through memories of what He has done for the Israelite people: rescuing them from Egypt, giving them bread and water for their journey through the wilderness, and delivering the Promised Land into their hands. He also shows us His provision through the prophets: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1); as well as in the Psalms: “[God] will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble / He will conceal me under the cover of His tent / He will lift me high upon a rock…. My father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in” (Psalm 27:5, 10).

God ultimately provides us a way to live with Him in peace and love through the life, death and resurrection of His Son.

Yes, in this new chapter of my life I have many concerns and fears. But in this new chapter I am more aware of God’s love, compassion and nearness than ever before.

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with timbrel and dancing,

praise him with the strings and pipe,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

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