I love lists. My daily to-do list helps me stay focused on my priorities. I have several lists on the notes app on my phone: books to read, blog posts to write, gift ideas, and several other lists of things. In addition to these written lists, I carry countless lists in my head as well. There is one type of list that seems to create itself in my head even if I’m not thinking about it: a “pros and cons” list.

Whenever I’m making a big decision or have an impending life change, I find myself thinking of the pros and cons, the positives and negatives. I’m sure this is a completely natural part of the decision making process of many people. In fact, many people probably write out a list of pros and cons before making a big decision! However, I seem to carry around this list in my head. Although there can be wisdom in these considerations, last night God convicted me of my obsession with pros and cons.

As I talked to friends at church last night about our upcoming move to Tennessee, I realized I kept saying things like, “That’s a positive about moving,” or, “That’s a negative about moving.” Throughout the whole decision making process, I’ve thought of everything in terms of positives and negatives. But when I got home last night, I was thinking about that mentality, and God brought some verses to mind from my Bible reading earlier that day:

Acts 20:22-24

And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul went to Jerusalem not knowing what was going to happen to him there. He did know that God was going to do a great work, and he realized there would likely be suffering. But none of that mattered to him. He wasn’t thinking of his life in terms of pros and cons; he was simply determined to follow God’s will.

It may take some effort because I’ve come to be in such a habit of my mental pros and cons list, but I want to stop thinking of life in terms of pros and cons and start thinking simply in terms of what God’s will is. I know it’s God’s will for us to serve Him in Tennessee in this next season of our life. I don’t know exactly what is going to happen there. But I know God is going to do a work. Maybe there will be suffering; this sin-cursed world is full of it. But none of that matters. The only thing that matters is following God’s leading. What about you? Do you keep a mental pros and cons list? Or are you simply following God’s leading, trusting Him for the outcome? Serving Him will always be worth it.

I hate change. I remember telling my friends at my high school in Tennessee that I had decided to go to college in California; the general consensus was that that was a lot of change for someone who had eaten the exact same thing for lunch every day for the last five years. But I was excited for the adventure; I knew it was temporary. And I embraced it.

At said college in California, I met the man who would be my husband. I have a very distinct memory from a few months before we started dating, shortly after I had developed the biggest crush of my life on “cute Steve”. We were standing outside the dining hall and he was telling me about how God was leading him to serve in the ministry in Utah. He mentioned that Utah was a great place to have a family. I involuntarily thought, “Yes, please! Take me to Utah and have a family with me!” In that moment I learned that my future husband was not a mind reader, otherwise he probably would have never asked out that creepy college girl. However, from that moment, that was the dream. And God was so good to me in allowing that dream to come true.

Moving to Utah was a big change. But I was completely determined to make it our home because I knew for sure this was where God had led us, and obviously that meant we would spend the rest of our lives here. In my wholehearted belief of the permanency of our residency in Utah, I sold my rain boots that I obviously wouldn’t need anymore and bought not one, but two pairs of snow boots. That would last me a couple decades worth of Utah winters, right? Little did I know, God would only give us three and a half winters in Utah.

Last October, we received a letter from a pastor in Tennessee asking us to come work with the teen ministry and the bus ministry at his church. He said God had put us on his heart quite some time ago. I was dumbfounded. I actually opened the letter at home by myself because I didn’t know what it was, and when my husband came home, he was certain that the look on my face meant someone had died. I couldn’t believe he was actually excited about the possibility of leaving our home in Utah! But God had a lot of work to do on my heart in the area of surrender.

We spent several months praying together about how the Lord was leading us. God gave Steven peace about moving long before He gave me peace, but I realize that’s because my flesh and my aversion to change were getting in the way. Eventually, God convicted me that my calling had not changed: I was still called to submit to and follow my husband. So I started working on submission to God in the form of submitting to my husband. Slowly but surely, God started to change my heart about moving. I still have my moments when my flesh gets in the way and I just don’t want to go, but I’m learning to walk more closely to the Lord and live a life of surrender.

I think my problem is that I long for something permanent, but I’m learning more and more that my true permanent home is not on this earth; it’s in heaven.

Hebrews 13:14

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

So until I get to heaven, I am choosing to be willing to dwell wherever God leads us, not getting too attached to one place. We will be leaving Utah and going to Tennessee at the beginning of July. I’ll definitely need to buy new rain boots, but I’ll keep at least one pair of snow boots; who knows where God will lead us next! Perhaps we’ll stay in Tennessee the rest of our lives, maybe God will lead us to a snowy place, or maybe He’ll lead us to somewhere in the desert where it doesn’t rain or snow. No matter what, I’m trying not to tie myself too firmly to this earth. Soon I’ll get to be in heaven, and I won’t need rain boots or snow boots (but as a shoe person, I secretly hope we get to wear some kind of shoes in heaven).