What to Do When God Calls You to Start Over
Whether it's a new city or a new situation
Sometimes God calls you to start over and it isn’t easy.
In the first five years of my marriage, my husband and I lived in five different states. We had always had the attitude of “Your will be done, bro” to God, and apparently that meant diving headfirst into the dark abyss of uncertainty and rebuilding our life from the ground up.
Yes, we trusted it was all for a purpose. But knowing that didn’t automatically make it easy. Each move brought a new battle against the unknown: Will we be lonely here? Will we feel at home? Was this the right choice?
Whether you’re heading off to college, moving across the country for a job or starting over after a broken relationship or unmet expectation, sometimes there is a blank slate before you. And there are things you can do to make the best of it. Here are five ways to help you conquer your new adventure like a pro.
In any new place or season of life, the people who surround you can make or break the situation. Loneliness is a real battle that needs to be fought against, not endured. We were not created to forge through this mess alone. So, if you find yourself flying solo, get uncomfortable. Get weird about it. Be the person who asks someone you just met to go get coffee. Offer to help a coworker out with a task at work, then suggest lunch after. Be the one who throws a party without a 100 percent guarantee anyone will even show up. It might get awkward, but just consider awkward your new sidekick because it is unavoidable. You never know who else is in need of the invite or the relationship, so muster up some courage, be bold and trust the process.
Be specific in your prayers.
When life gets chaotic, sometimes it is easy to forget to pray. It seems crazy in retrospect, but in the anxiety and panic, it can be hard to know where to even start. Once, when we were faced with yet another move, I felt like I was too exhausted to hustle through it all over again. So, I prayed this elaborate prayer “God, I will go, but please bring us a church and friends.” I wasn’t bargaining, just being very specific about what I needed. Then, because I had no other option really, I sat back and watched God deliver. And He did because He is great like that, and it is literally something He promises to do in Scripture. So, if it is the hunt for an apartment, the ability to pay your bills next month or find a community, get specific. Trust even when you don’t feel like it, and give God some space to take care of you.
Act like a tourist.
When in a new place, away from any semblance of a comfort zone, it can be easy to hide on your couch in a Netflix coma all weekend because life can be exhausting. But pushing past that and getting out into your new city might be the thing you didn’t even know you needed. Read travel blogs and books about your new city, and act like a tourist. Check out what local festival is happening in your neighborhood that weekend, or sign up for a Meetup group and force yourself to actually go. Getting off the couch and into society can shed a whole new light on things.
When starting over, things don’t always fall into place immediately. How annoying.
Sometimes, you realize the neighborhood you chose stinks after the lease has been signed. Or the first three churches you check out leave you wanting to slip out the back during communion. And in the quest for genuine friendships, it is pretty much a guarantee you will have to sit through 14 awkward happy hours before things start to feel more comfortable. Keep trying things—anything really—until you find where you really are meant to be. You will get there.
Be patient, give yourself grace.
New chapters can be great but also tough. But with time, effort and some serious leaning on God, you may realize your scary-crazy-insane life change was one of the best things that could have happened to you. Life never follows our plans, but sometimes what God brings us instead is even better.