Yeah, you read it right. Twelve (12) times in ten (10) years! Believe me, I was just as much shocked as you are when I realized this fact so much so that I had to share it with my mom and she was, in turn, shocked! “That’s more times than I have moved in my life time!” mommy exclaimed.
One may make the judgment that I have lived a life of instability and meandering but, honestly, except for one of the moves, all were based on circumstance and were necessary. I have moved intercity, interstate, out of state and even internationally during this time span. It wasn’t until the most recent move that I sat down and actually recollected on the moves that I made over the years. When I realized that there was a 10 year period in which I moved 12 times my grandmother’s prophetic words from years before instantly echoed in my head:
The way the world economy is changing, no more job security or guarantees, some jobs becoming obsolete and new types of jobs being created, I believe that you and your generation will become a nomadic generation. You will have to move from place to place just to survive and find better ways of living.
Grandma was right.
Well… a lot of things Grandma has said over the years have been right. Our elders’ words are nuggets of gold in our lives and too often we ignore them and they come back and bite us in the behind as we experience life. (Check out my blog post dedicated to that exact thought here, “When The Elders Speak…”)
Grandma’s words couldn’t have been more on point. We have had to become a nomadic generation indeed. I have watched over the years as family, friends and many within today’s world have had to pick up their lives and leave things and loved ones behind to survive. They have moved to other states, across countries, across continents and across oceans just to find a better way as times have become so hard because what they thought were stable situations changed in an instant. For me, this is nothing new as I come from a family of immigrants but for others these are life changes they are not familiar with and have never experienced before.
During my time of recollection, I first thought the same as many of you that are reading may have, “Wow! I have had a life of instability!” Subsequently, what started coming to mind were all the invaluable experiences I have had and lessons I have learned over those 10 years that would not have otherwise occurred if my life did not ensue exactly as it did. When I think over these experiences and lessons, I would not exchange those years for any form of “stability”.
No use keeping these experiences and lessons to oneself. That’s why I created this blog and in this blog post, I would like to share with you some of the most valuable lessons I have learned over this 10 year time period and up to this point in my life. Maybe they can be of value to you as they have been and are to me.
- Change is inevitable. Learn to embrace it.
As you may know with a move comes many changes. However, we can’t expect to live fruitful lives without change. Where there is no change there is stagnancy. Where there is stagnancy there is no growth and where there is no growth there is no life. A life without change can’t be a fruitful one. Though change can be uncomfortable, challenging and outright frightful sometimes, you have to learn to embrace it to receive whatever it is life is trying to offer you with that change. There’s always something to receive and there is always a lesson to be learned.
- Nothing extraordinary happens in your comfort zone.
Change requires you to step out of your comfort zone. As human beings, many of us, if not most, can’t seem to break free of our comfort zones. This is understandable because our comfort zone gives a sense of familiarity, stability, “know how” and a feeling of control. We have the feeling that we have conquered all within our comfort zone and so now we are on top. However, I have seen so many wither away within their comfort zones. In comfort zones fear tends to guard the doors out. Many talents are lost or never discovered, dreams dwindle away and destinies are lost. There is close mindedness and intolerance because change is minimal and so is personal growth… and people are just bored with life and unfulfilled.
Now don’t get me wrong, many people would love to embrace change and step out of their comfort zone but I have come to learn that it won’t happen until one faces their fears and their desire to want more must over power their desire to be comfortable. Trust me, outside of your comfort zone there are amazing experiences waiting to be had, wonderful people waiting to be met, invaluable lessons waiting to be learned and a destiny waiting to be fulfilled that can never happen in your comfort zone. No one who impacted humanity or the world did it within their comfort zone.
- You have to learn to take some risks.
There are times that life will offer you great opportunities that will require some form of risk taking or sacrifice. It is wise to sit down and thoroughly analyze the advantages and disadvantages of life altering decisions. Then there are some cases where you can’t think it out too much. Just grab the opportunity, run with it while screaming “YOLO!” **lol** Quite frankly, some of those types of decisions can be the best decisions of your life!
Unfortunately, many of us will pass up on an amazing opportunity, because we don’t want to step out of our comfort zones and possibly fail. But what about the possibility of succeeding? We are more scared to fail than we desire to succeed. We think, if we fail, it’s absolute on every level. This is an illusion. As much as I hate to fail, failing in life has not stopped me from succeeding in life as well. Sometimes, failure has set me up for success. Plus, I live by the strong conviction that there is always good to what seems bad. Which leads me to my next point…
- Today’s disappointment is tomorrow’s blessing.
Many times circumstances beyond my control that have changed my life unexpectedly and drastically have forced me into the position of moving. After the denial, the questioning, doubt, worry and depression starts coming in. “How could this happen to me?”, “This is not how I planned it.”, “God, why?” ,”God, how could you let this happen?” Sound familiar? However, in retrospect, these changes and disappointments ended up being blessings in disguise. We are beings of the present, so we do not know what the future holds and because of this truth we make judgments based on our present; on the way everything looks right now. However, through my experiences I have come to learn that everything that occurs, the changes with the disappointments and trials, happen for a reason and a purpose. These reasons and purposes, most times, are not revealed to us until the end of the process that must take place and when we see the entire picture we are left with more gratitude than dismay.
- Optimism makes for an easier journey.
Because I do believe that everything happens for a reason I have learned (and I’m still learning) to be optimistic when it comes to life’s changes. Many moves that I have made, in the beginning, has left me feeling like I am losing out. I feel like, because I am starting all over the time given and effort and investments made before, was in vain. Though it feels this way initially, I can honestly say I have gained more after every new beginning than before every ending. I have experienced what I could have never experienced and learned what I could have never learned without that new beginning . So now, when a new challenge comes, I trying to train my mind to make optimism its first response. It reminds me of a quote I recently saw on Instagram: “If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”
And this quote leads me to the next point…
- Know when to hold on and know when to let go.
At first this pertained to things for me. During most of my moves I found it difficult to let go of certain possessions. When you have finally found some stability, collected what you feel you needed to be comfortable and happy then are required to let them go, it can be very difficult. You feel very possessive of these things. “These are mine and I don’t want to let them go.” “I spent [insert dollar amount here] for this!” and “This is my favorite!” are some excuses we make. It was God that had to show me that holding on to things when I needed to let go would cause me to miss out on His direction and His blessings. We would be surprised at how attached we are to things and how this attachment can control and inhibit our lives.
It was this one God given thought that started to shift my perspective when it came to the possession of things:
If you die today, everything thing that you are holding on to, will stay right here. You can’t take it with you. Someone who did not work for it, may not even cherish it or deserve it may inherit it or even worse, the thing that you refuse to let go of can end up thrown away. These things have served you for a time. Now it’s time to let them go and that they may be of service to someone else.
It became real for me after this thought. If I didn’t choose to walk away from certain things eg. house, apartment, car, job, money, etc, I could not have received more and better and, most importantly, what I needed.
I have learned that letting go does not only pertain to things. Letting go also pertains to situations, people, ideals, beliefs, etc. Many of us will prefer to hold on to the aforementioned even if holding on is inhibiting, unfruitful and even destructive. We hold on tight because of sentiment, comfort, ignorance, fear and pride. Sometimes the change, growth, solution, healing,freedom or salvation we seek rests in the act of letting go.
- It’s better to give than to receive.
In regards to attaining things I have learned that what I desire and buy today will not necessarily be what I desire or want to keep tomorrow. This helped me to start examining how I manage my finances and learn how to let go and become a giver. Every time I moved there were certain things I just could not take with me that I had to give or throw away and this included items I never used. Most recently, I have thought on that fact that, if I had taken the time, before I moved, to do some seasonal cleaning, I could have come across items that I could have blessed others with. Sometimes we think giving is only about money but there are many other items in our homes that are lying there being unused that you can bless someone with. You may look at certain items and say “But I want them because I bought them.” but it is likely that tomorrow you won’t even want many of them anymore or you will have to give away some of them you no longer use or never used. Trust me, they won’t all stay in your possession forever. There is always something that’s lying around that can be a blessing to someone else. There is always an opportunity to give.
- Less is more.
I think these three words speak for themselves. The less you collect, the less debt you put yourself in, the less baggage and unfinished issues, the better for you. It’s less to worry about, less things to do and so there is less stress and more room to focus on more important things and more time to be happy.
- It’s okay to be alone and you are never the only one.
We tend to be afraid of change and moving out of our comfort zones because we are afraid to be alone. We tend to equate alone with being lonely. Being lonely, in my eyes, is by choice majority of the times. We are not the only ones going through what we are going through. People have gone through it before us and there will be those that go through it after us.
One of my fears was the idea of having to do certain things on my own. The thought that I was going to be all by myself in this new situation, place, city, country etc. was an intimidating factor. I had to bring myself to accept the reality that there were people just like me, doing the same thing that I am doing and succeeding. I had to ask myself how was I any different from these people? Even if I moved to the other side of the Earth, there were people just like me in that place living day in and day out, doing what they had to do and were just fine and I had proof of that. My location on the Earth doesn’t dictate my abilities or whether I will succeed or fail and most of all it doesn’t dictate God’s abilities.
What you will come to realize is that God always brings people across your path, no matter what circumstance, situation or place you are in, to be an encouragement, a support, a guide and/or a friend. So though you have to walk life’s journey alone, you don’t have to be lonely and you can find strength in the fact that you truly are not alone or the only one.
In addition, alone time is not bad. It is during times of solitude that we can hear the voice of God more clearly and our personal growth takes place. Don’t neglect or defer alone time. You’ll find much revelation, healing, growth and peace in those moments with yourself.
- Every obstacle you overcome builds your self-awareness and self-confidence.
With every obstacle that I have faced within every new beginning, each one that I overcame showed me that I was capable of handling and achieving so much more than I thought I could. Overcoming these obstacles revealed strengths and abilities I did not even know I had and allowed me to develop my weak areas.
Overcoming obstacles makes it easier to face the next obstacle with more experience and confidence than the last and there is a resilience that one builds that they could not have otherwise built without them.
- Face your fears.
Our fears are our biggest inhibitors. There is a time to retreat from your fears but then there is time that you have to confront and conquer them. You cannot run from them forever. Life cannot be lived to the fullest without conquering fears. One cannot live a purposeful and fulfilled life without conquering fears. I have not conquered all of my fears as yet but one by one life brings me face to face with them and then with the help of God, I bring them down. I want to live fearlessly. Someone who lives a fearless and faith filled live can achieve anything!
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 My ability to do anything that may have, at one point, seemed difficult, scary or even impossible has been on the sole fact that I have had to choose to trust God completely. I have learned to trust Him more and more with every change, move and obstacle that He has given me the power and confidence to face and conquer. Each lesson that I have shared with you so far is because I trusted God’s never failing hands to bring me to it.
Has it been easy trusting God? No, but most times, I have had and still have no other option. Sometimes putting my complete trust in Him is downright scary and I feel, like probably, I’m crazy! Taking a step of faith and making a sacrifice that many of those around you have never done and are not willing to do can seem irrational or illogical and can be terrifying. However, trusting God becomes easier with time. I must say, no matter what I had to trust Him for and no matter where I have been on the face of the Earth, Father God has never failed me. Things have failed me, circumstances have failed me, people have failed but God has never failed. I may not have understood everything, may not have liked what He has allowed, may not have even wanted to do it His way and may have been terrified during the process but I have learned to trust in His sovereignty because He always works things out for my good.
Be blessed and encouraged today, Reader. 🙂