It's been just over two weeks since we made the move from Ocala to Jacksonville. I'm still trying to teach my 3 year old, Micah, that we didn't actually move out of state. He keeps asking when we're going back to Florida. Ha.
The city of Jacksonville is absolutely gorgeous. As I remember it, from when we lived here 8 years ago. The water and bridges make every drive scenic and beautiful. There is no lack of things to do, places to eat, or people to see. I know it won't be long before our days will be filled, so I am just enjoying the freedom of having a somewhat unscheduled calendar.
A lot of people have been asking if we are "settled in" yet. And what I think they mean is if our boxes are unpacked, to which I can enthusiastically reply, "Yes!" But that's mostly because Micah and I were sick and cooped up in the house the first week we moved here, so those boxes HAD to go.
But, while our house looks and feels like home and we've made it through our first couple weeks without too much trouble, would I say we are really "settled?" Not quite.
And the more I think about it, I'm not sure how long it takes to get settled somewhere or if that's even really the goal.
Would I say we were settled when we left Ocala? Sure. After 4 years, we were comfortable, secure and had found a good routine. But that's also how we knew it may be time for us to move on.
We don't feel God has called us to just live comfortable, safe and secure lives. We actually think being on mission looks quite the opposite. That's not to say we shouldn't use wisdom when making decisions for our family, but it also means we shouldn't fail to exercise faith when the decision sometimes seems risky.
But for many people, becoming settled in life, that is the goal. And ironically, it became more obvious to us once we were uprooted.
It's easier to notice how comfortable everyone else is in a new town, when you're the one getting lost every five seconds. Or how apprehensive people can be to new relationships, when you're the one trying to get to know someone.
Not everyone is that way, of course. But you can usually tell who the "settlers" are.
The cool thing about Jacksonville, is the huge military community that resides here. We live really close to a Navy base and have met several military families already. They are some of the most warm and inviting people you will meet. Why? Because they rarely ever "settle" in one place.
Military families and Ministry families are quite similar, in that they are both called to a "mission." If you're in the military, you may change locations and take on different job roles but the mission (to protect and serve your country) never changes. Same is true for those in ministry, moving and changing job titles is part of doing whatever it takes to fulfill The Great Commission (to go into all the world making disciples of Jesus Christ).
Settlers say things like, "Missions isn't my calling." I get it, because I used to say those things too.
That was because I was comfortable, had never moved in my entire life, and really, honestly, didn't get the mission. I didn't see the need for the gospel overseas, because I never gave my heart a chance to see it.
Once I saw it, I couldn't forget.
"Now that I have seen, I am responsible. Faith without deeds is dead." - Albertine by Brooke Fraser
It may not be everyone's call to uproot their lives and move around every few years (Lord knows I'm praying it isn't ours anymore, either) but I think it is possible, as believers, to still live without a "settler" mentality. You need to remember the mission goes beyond just your church, the mission goes beyond just your city, and the mission even goes beyond just your country.
Once you get the mission, it's hard to really answer the question, "Are you settled, yet?" Because Lord-willing, we may never be.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20