Moving has brought on a new kind of stress. I’m packing up what feels like my entire life, and trying to fit it into 3.5 suitcases. It’s been so much more than trying to decide what shoes and shorts to take on a trip – I’m working my way through boxes of books and journals and mementos, trying to decide what I think is valuable, or, as Marie Kondo would say, what brings me joy.
Between saying goodbye to friends and coworkers, searching for housing, trying to sell off my excess items, and still be a functional employee, I’m beginning to feel a bit frazzled. It’s no surprise then that I find myself wide awake at midnight, thoughts racing.
And so I begin to pray an abridged version of St. Patrick’s prayer:
Christ before me, Christ behind me
Christ above me, Christ below me
Christ to my left and to my right
The Power of Christ indwells me
Again and again I meditate and pray, thinking of the scriptural truth and real-life evidence of this prayer being answered. It feels like I am both praying that God will fulfill this prayer and reminding myself that it has already been done.
Christ before me – Moving to Australia has been the plan, in some shape or fashion, for roughly two years now. The reason for this trip has shifted around, but I’ve yet to question whether or not this is where God is calling me.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul encourages them to trust God’s plan, saying “He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion.” (Philippians 1:6)
I see this most broadly in the process of my salvation and sanctification, that the God who rescued me from sin is continuing to refine me and make me more like Him. But I also see it through my vocational call, and through the places I have felt God calling me to live. He who gave me an unexpected desire to move across the world will open doors to make it a reality. The pieces of my move have come together with such remarkable ease that it almost feels disobedient to not go.
Christ above me – In preparing for graduate school and such a big move, it’s easy to place myself at the center of the story, and to believe that, if I plan well enough, this is the beginning of a perfect chapter of life.
As I pray “Christ above me,” I am reminded that God’s Will is ultimate, and that His plans are the plans that will reign supreme. And while I believe that the steps that I’m taking are in line with His will, I still have to hold them with open hands, continually offering my future back up to Him.
We’re currently walking through the book of Philippians in my church, and this week our text included Philippians 1:21: “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” As I listened to the sermon, and as I prayed this midnight prayer, I was reminded of the beauty of the calling to which we have been called.
All crazy wildlife jokes aside, moving to Australia isn’t a risky life or death choice. But even if the very worst possible thing were to happen, my future is secure in Christ, and if I’m living in line with His will and for His glory, there is only gain. I say this attempting to be neither flippant nor dramatic, only peacefully confident that God being in control means that I can choose to move through life without fear.
The Power of Christ indwells me – As I end my prayer, I remind myself that God Himself resides within me. I have always found great comfort in the end of the Great Commission: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” As Christ sends His people out, asking them to live life in a manner that is bold and sacrificial, He reminds them that they never go out alone. I’m excited to make new friends and find new community, but as I reflect back on how God has moved in my life, I am reminded that I have never been alone, and I can make this big move with the same reassurance.
I pray for what feels like a very long time, scared to look at my phone and see how few hours I have left to sleep. But with each repetition of this prayer, I feel my heart slow, and my brain calm down, and I remember the greatness of my God.