Recently, my daughter, Gabrielle, and I made the decision to move to Atlanta, Georgia. We’ve had numerous conversations about it, but now we’re on the same page and we’ve set a date. I haven’t told many people, but the few I did tell have asked the same first question, “Why are you moving?” At first I felt obligated to give some reason that would make sense to them so I would, in some crazy way, receive their blessing. After awhile, I started feeling bad because none of my reasons made them feel better about our decision. Doubt and fear’s voices tried to creep, but I quickly stepped on their mouths. Asking why is a normal reaction, but truth is, I don’t have to have an explanation. People move, and their reasons are always personal. No matter how I explain myself, it will still be painful to the ones that matter most.
I have lived in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) all my life, along with a small remnant of my mother’s side of the family. Although my mom often talks about her hometown, Winston-Salem, NC, we have never visited. Family is very important to me. I have never lived more than fifteen minutes away from my mother, or two hours away from my other relatives. A few years ago, our family grew overnight when we met my mother’s baby sister’s family for the first time. My mom had been searching for her for years, and by divine connection, we were reunited with more cousins than we ever expected. It was a joyous reunion, especially for my mother, aunt, and uncle. Our new family members have lived in the DMV all their lives too, but our paths never crossed until then.
When I was about nineteen years old, I wanted to move to California. I had a cousin, Linda, who lived in LA, and I remember talking to her on the phone and expressing my desire to visit her. Our conversation went like this:
“I want to come to California.”
“If I come, I might not want to leave.”
“Okay, you can live with me.”
Linda and I never spoke about me coming anymore after that. She put the ball in my court, and I didn’t do anything with it. At the time, I was an immature teenager with no idea how I would get to LA. I didn’t have any money. I never even thought of asking my parents to buy a plane ticket. I just dismissed the idea altogether. I have never been to California.
I’ve always wanted to travel, see the world, and live somewhere else. And even though I’ve done some crazy, adventurous things, fear dominated most of my life. I’ve been afraid of people, failure, rejection, and even success, but mostly the unknown. Not anymore. I have never been more prayerful and clear as I am right now. I don’t have to know all the details anymore in order to move forward. Fear no longer has a say in my life. I live by a different formula now.
I listen to God and pay close attention to His directions.
It’s a simple formula, but it took years for me to believe it was that easy, let alone practice it. I’ve learned something important though. I’ve learned that in order to hear clearly from God, you have to disrupt your thought pattern, and silence all the other voices that keep you from the road ahead—the ones in your head, and the people you give an ear to. Your life will never grow to the measure of God’s intent unless you move these things out of your life:
stress, fear, anger, bitterness, envy, doubt, insecurity, unforgiveness, mistrust, jealousy, laziness, pride, selfish ambition, haters, self criticism, negative thoughts, and anything else that keeps you in a place of mediocrity and stagnation
I am excited about moving to Atlanta. My reasons are personal and I have peace. I’m not naïve to think there won’t be bumps and hurdles. That’s life. Between now and moving day, Gabby and I have a ton of planning to do, here and there, and money to save for a successful transition. We’re not alone though. God is right here with us, leading and guiding us, and preparing the road ahead. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” We also have a loving family, including our friends who are really family, praying and supporting us. Even though physical separation is coming, we’re getting things in order for the road ahead.
What’s holding you back? What decisions have you been mulling over or ignoring? What or who do you need to move out of your life, so that you can move forward? What’s your road ahead look like this year?