We’ve recently down-sized – sold our house and moved into an apartment.  Here’s what I’ve learned about moving and the parallels it has with life.

1. Start early and clean out the clutter. We’ve been married for almost 43 years and we’ve lived in our last home for 31 years.  We accumulated not only our own “stuff”, but also items belonging to our daughter and son-in-law, as well as items saved from the cleaning out of our parents’ homes.  If you have a space, you fill it, and that’s exactly what we did.  We had a lot of things we didn’t really need or use.  As with houses, we can fill the storehouses of our minds with things we don’t need or which do us no good – negative thoughts and bad attitudes or habits.  We need to take stock periodically and replace those negative thoughts with positive ones, as well as purposefully developing good habits and attitudes.  “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

2. When you’re tired, rest.  At my age, I’m no longer like the Energizer Bunny (was I ever?)  I can’t keep going and going and going.  I am much more productive, not to mention more even-tempered, when I stay rested.  Similarly, in our desire to serve God, we must be careful not to over-extend ourselves.  Even Jesus took time to withdraw from the crowds to relax and recharge.  I’m not talking about a permanent hiatus – just learning when to say “no”, or delegating, when you feel yourself becoming overtired or frustrated.

3. Organize, label, and organize some  more.  Organizing items pays dividends both in time saved and in cutting down on your frustration because you can’t locate something.  Organizing your time means you actually have more time to devote to the things which are important to you.  Otherwise, time just slips away and you never get around to doing what you meant to do – things like calling or visiting someone who needs cheering up, writing a note or card of appreciation or just telling the latest news, or helping out where and when we are needed.  In other words, we need to make time to serve God.

4. Look upon change with a positive attitude.  There are many things to miss about the property we recently left, like the wide open space that surrounded us, gardening, and the view from our hillside.  there are also things we won’t miss like the lawn mowing, the snow blowing and shoveling, and the maintenance that comes with owning a home.  But here’s what we have – a smaller space to clean and less “clutter”, no mowing or snow to remove, and when something goes wrong, we can just call the maintenance person to come and fix it.  We have big patio doors that let in the morning sun and a lovely deck overlooking the trees.  We can hear the birds singing any time of day and listen to the spring peepers in the evening just like we could at home.  We can see the pheasants stroll by and watch the antics of the squirrels as they try to (and d0) rob the bird feeders.  The people in our building are friendly and welcoming.  Life is good.  Praise God!