Life and other catastrophes · Relating to God · Spiritual growth and healing

Thinking outside the box

My family and I are currently in the process of moving house. It’s only to the next suburb, but it’s as significant as any relocation.

A friend commented to me the other day: “You’re essentially moving your whole life…”

I thought it was a bit of an overstatement at first, but as I pondered the words I agreed. I really believe that ‘things’ are never just things, and every time we move we are putting the items which symbolise ‘us’ into a different context. An environment which reflects, to some degree, who we are.

One of my greatest treasures – my oldest son – enjoying box discovery…

Items nestled in the depths of plain brown boxes are carefully wrapped in newspaper and plastic because we value them. They add something to our lives, tell snippets of our story, and add joy to our daily existence. These things are our representatives, if you want to go that far.

My husband brought home some boxes the other day that had been previously used by another family. On one box the owner had written the word ‘Fragile’ several times over, and she’d described in detail the contents. It sounded like collectable antique china. Highly breakable pieces. She made that very clear. No doubt her treasures made their way safely to her new abode, but at the time of packing she was determined to clarify just how precious her collection was. It was hers, and she didn’t want it damaged.

Sure, we can’t hold onto things ultimately, but we tend to hold on to what they represent. They describe parts of us that are sometimes impossible to put into words. They can present a certain image or status that we desperately want, but in person can never seem to achieve. Items of beauty all have an origin, a point at which they came into our lives. And we want to share them… to tell their story in a way.

Our possessions can ground us where we otherwise feel adrift. They remind us who we are and where we’ve been.

But, when I think about it… they can never really match the atmosphere that comes from being free of things -essentially ‘ungrounded’ on a spiritual level.

I think the moment I realised Jesus Christ was truly with me wherever I went was the moment I felt that nothing – no people or possessions – could ever compare. He is the treasure whose value is above all. Yes, he is gracious enough to provide tangible treasures as well – but HE is the joy around which all else revolves. In fact, our stuff – no matter how spectacular – cannot help but pale in comparison to the liberating, life-giving relationship only he can provide.

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8)

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22 thoughts on “Thinking outside the box

  1. we tend to hold on to what they represent. — HOW TRUE!

    the moment I realised Jesus Christ was truly with me wherever I went was the moment I felt that nothing – no people or possessions – could ever compare. He is the treasure whose value is above all. — MORE TRUE!!

    Great insights, Ali. I am in a similar stage as we wait for our home to sell. Good luck with your move, especially with your little men. Your boy is adorable!

    1. Thanks so much Sheila! It’s a massive process, moving… may your house fall into the right hands, and may you be blessed as you transition to where God is calling. God bless! And thanks – I think so too 🙂

  2. you described how we (I) think of my possessions–they really do represent me, or a time in my life. That’s why it’s so hard to let go of somethings. But we know that Jesus really is enough.

    1. Yes, they can get very personal can’t they, and we become attached. I’m thankful that Jesus can help us find a balance, and that yes, he is enough. Thanks Joy!

  3. We’ve moved many times over the last few years; I love the way you’ve portrayed just how significant it is. And, at the same time, these earthly things we cling on to are nothing compared the the love of our Lord Jesus Christ!

    1. Thank you, yes there’s nothing minor about moving is there (and that sounds like a big few years for you!). Well said – he certainly overwhelms all our stuff doesn’t he, just because he’s so amazing. Have a great day.

  4. You showed us this so wonderfully, Ali! Nothing does compare to Him, even though things and people can be precious to us. . .and He blesses us with them. Praying to never let that get out of balance ! God bless you and yours as you relocate, but never leave Jesus behind!

  5. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving next door or across a country – moving is a big ordeal. (And with kids…yikes!) Love the Philippians scripture, as it puts everything into perspective. Good luck with the move 🙂

    1. Yeah… ordeal is a good word for it 🙂 But yeah, we’re getting there, and it’s so good to feel God’s calming presence through it all. Thanks for dropping by Janna.

  6. I also recently moved and felt like I moved my whole life from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I am still working to find my “place” in the new city and making the home feel like home with all my crazy possessions. It is so nice to have Jesus Christ with us wherever we go! Thank you for your post. Blessings to you!

    1. That’s a big move. And it does take time doesn’t it? So glad you know the deep, lasting security of your relationship with Him as you make the transition – may you shine His light in San Francisco!

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