Pursuing peace in unsettled times

After two months in Michigan, we are back in San Diego.

When a friend asked me if I was excited to come home, I told her that I was looking forward to being settled in. Settled means feeling comfortable and established. It’s what I want to feel immediately after coming home from a trip. But it’s impossible to magically feel settled as soon as I walk in the door. Those first few days after arriving? I don’t look forward to those. Those are the days of unpacking, sorting, laundry, and grocery shopping. Those are the days of finding a new rhythm, a new routine.

Whether we are getting our bearings in a new job, or getting accustomed to a new season of life, or grappling with our faith, “unsettled” is an uncomfortable place to be. We want to live our lives with the comfortable ease of knowing who we are, what we’re doing, and where we belong. We resist any situation where we might lose our footing, shying away from change, risk, and hard questions.

As uncomfortable as it may be, feeling unsettled brings opportunity for growth. 

In the chaos of returning home after a long vacation, I have the opportunity to declutter, sort, and get organized – unpleasant tasks that I know will ultimately be for my good. Starting something new, adjusting to change, and facing hard questions all present unique opportunities for growth. 

Just ask Abraham, Moses, Ruth, or any of the 12 disciples. The Bible is full of stories of men and women who were asked to trust God without knowing where he was leading. Living in tents, wandering the desert for years at a time, not knowing where your next meal was coming from, and taking a chance on a man who might be the Messiah were all major ways in which God unsettled his people. And we have the privilege of looking back on their stories, on their examples, and seeing where they succeeded and where they failed. And best of all? We get to look back and see God’s hand through it all.

Is there an area of your life where you are feeling unsettled? Are you being stretched in uncomfortable ways? Whether it’s in a simple way with an end in sight (like my unpacking) or a road paved with too many question marks, I pray that God would bring peace to your restless heart.

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

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