“Have you ever thought about moving back home, Jennifer?” my aunt asked me last summer, while visiting my Memaw’s home. A series of unfortunate and disappointing life circumstances had recently plagued my life with instability, and her suggestion was not invalid. I am no stranger to uprooting my life, driving away, and plopping down all my belongings in a new place and calling it home. My college years were fraught with moving not just for me, but my father as well, and separately we both experienced some transience during The Great Recession. Moving back home sounded like a nice comfort. But it was simply out of the question.
I looked at my aunt like she was crazy, and responded with something that was respectful, but also let her know her suggestion was simply that. However, it’s not an uncommon offer to the millennial generation anymore. We finish school, and stay where we’re planted until some life crisis hits us. We recover, but somewhere in the midst of that recovery, the comforts of moving home beckon. Some of us millennials choose to stay wherever we are planted and endure the storm, and others choose to start fresh with the support of their family. Neither choice is incorrect, but if you are a millennial who chose to stay, or is thinking about choosing to stay, this is for you.
Stay because you’re sick of moving.
When I chose to stay in Fort Worth, I chose to stay in part because I was sick of picking up my things and trying to make it in a new place. I needed to be physically rooted. Even though I was spending large amounts of time in prayer and God’s Word, I needed to be physically still. I quit working out that year. I love yoga, hiking, and lifting heavy things for my physical health, but that year, it was an act of God to get me to go for a short walk. I think I craved the idea of being rooted so much I literally had to remain physically still. Psalms 46:10 tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Sometimes we need to take this literally.
Stay because everyone expects you to go.
Everyone expected me to move home to Austin. My mother had died. I went through a traumatic break-up. I wasn’t at peace with my job as a teacher. It was the perfect storm for a move home. It would have been understood. I prayed about it, but all I felt was a simple emptiness. It wasn’t a fear of financially affording the much more expensive city of Austin, or having to make new friends or finding another godly church, but it was a simple emptiness. So I chose to stay, even though it didn’t make sense for a 27 year-old who was recovering from my first year as a teacher, without the man I thought I’d marry, and reeling from the sadness of burying a parent. If I wanted the comfort of my hometown, no one would fault me. Yet somehow, it was the last thing I craved. No, what I truly craved during this time was God. It was there that I found sometimes God will not stop the storm, but let it rage and calm His child. It was there I found just as Jesus said to Peter while he was walking on water and the waters rose, “Oh ye of little faith! Do you not trust me?” Jesus had him, and would not let go. Sometimes we must stay because that’s where Jesus will show up.
Stay because it’s important to finish something you started.
Okay, so this one is more principle based than scripture based, but so often our generation doesn’t finish things they start just because they don’t “feel” like it. It’s one of the reasons why older generations don’t respect ours. We’re too susceptible to our whims and feelings and don’t know what it means to have a backbone. Begin something, and then finish it. Don’t be discouraged just because obstacles arise. And don’t let those obstacles be God’s “sign” unto you that He doesn’t want you to finish your race. Let it be the refining fire that removes the dross (Proverbs 25:4). You might find He will see a good work through to its completion (Philippians 1:6), and through our principle of finishing whatever we started we will also grow more Christ-like.
Stay because the best thing about God is His constancy.
Some might argue this point with me: His grace is pretty fantastic. But hear me out. I believe in the power of growing to be more and more like Christ. When my ex broke up with me, he said, “I want the sun to rise and the sun to set, and know that person [my future wife] will be there.” At the time, this confused me because I knew I was a woman of that caliber of faithfulness. Now, what I think he wanted was to know and feel God’s constancy. We all want to know that like the rising and the setting of the sun, God is there and that He is for us. A large part of our humanity is wrapped up in questioning God’s very existence, and for those of us who have ever doubted, it has been quite the relief when we find His existence and grace to be true. There isn’t a thing under the heavens that isn’t temporary or has never been experienced before (Ecclesiastes 1:2-9). Years begin and end, worship songs begin and quickly die, generations come to pass, seasons change and bring about new emotions, and we as God’s people endure it all. But the sun will rise and set, and rush to rise again, and God is still there, for you, and ready to commune with you. (Romans 8:31-32)
So commune with Him.
And then go out, and commune with His people. Be for Him and His people like He is for you. Stay and grow in constancy.
I never moved back home. I never left the church I share with my ex. I never left my job as a teacher at a Title I school. Instead, I made a new home. I made new friends in my church. I kept going back to work, even when it wore me down. And God has blessed me because of this. He is in control. I can trust Him. I know He is for me. And He is constant.