This summer marked the beginning of my seventh year of living overseas as well as the start of my seventh year of marriage. Never did I imagine this is how I’d spend my 27th year of life.
Yet life is funny, isn’t it?
We do our best to predict and prepare, but a twist in the plot seems to be the only certainty there is.
I can think back to my days in pre-marital counseling, and the words of a wise pastor still echo in my memory.
Don’t grow your roots so deep into a place. That’s not where they should be. Be open to God’s surprises.
In the past seven years, I’ve called 15 different buildings home. Needless to say, my roots are nonexistent. Living such a transient lifestyle, I’m tempted to think I’ve passed the pastor’s plea with flying colors. How can I grow roots when the ground under my feet is more often different than the same?
But it’s only now I’m realizing that just might not be the case. Perhaps his sage advice wasn’t about my country, my town, or even my home. Perhaps I was all wrong all this time, and I didn’t really understand what his words were all about.
Jesus didn’t have a home, but that’s not what made him holy. He didn’t own a ton of stuff, but that’s not why we call him Savior. Christianity isn’t really about the places He stayed or the things He owned. It’s not even about the places He avoided or the things He didn’t own. It’s so much bigger than that. Indeed, our spiritual lives are much bigger than the boundaries we box them into.
I think what my pastor actually meant was we’re not meant to grow our roots into places and into things at all. Instead, we’re meant to anchor our very selves into God and invest our best efforts into people.
Whenever I move to a new country, I’m tempted to put down roots. No, not the “I want to settle here forever!” roots. The other kind. The kind which make me believe that going out and getting to know others is too much effort. The kind that keep me firmly planted in my home and lock my love behind closed doors. The kind of roots that keep me from moving, living, learning, and loving. Those roots grow loneliness and isolation, misunderstanding and mistrust. And manifesting fear is a far cry from the fruit Jesus calls us to produce. I think that type of thinking, of living was the caution of my counseling.
Whether you live in France like me or you’ve been on the same street your whole life, we can all struggle with putting down roots into the wrong places and pouring out energy into the wrong efforts.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in living all over the world, it’s that my calling is mostly the same everywhere I go. And so is yours. We are Christians. All of us so very different, but called to act out of overflow from the same source in Christ.
So wherever you’re at today, root yourself in Jesus and bloom buds of beauty. Pour into the people around you and love large.
And when we start to do so? Well, there’s just no telling the surprises He’ll provide.
Theresa Meacham is a 27 year-old writer, calligrapher, grace-chaser, and wife to a professional basketball player. She and her husband are from central Illinois and have called 5 countries “home” during their past 6 years of marriage. They are currently living in Lyon, France. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram or check out her blog here.