Moving as spiritual practice

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By Sue Magrath

I am currently engaged in an activity that many pastors are also undergoing, the task of packing up boxes, picking up stakes and moving to a new community. It’s been twelve years since I last moved, and the intervening years of stability have allowed me to collect a lot more stuff than I should without really noticing. And for some reason, I am stressing way more than I used to about the logistics of pulling up stakes, loading up a truck and unloading it on the other side. But the other day, in a rare moment of stillness, I began to ponder the idea that moving could be considered a spiritual practice. If I viewed it that way, might I feel less anxious about it all?

If you think about it, moving already contains elements that are legitimate spiritual disciplines—surrender, emptying, and gratitude. Surrender—the act of yielding to God’s (and the Cabinet’s) will for your life and ministry. Emptying—the act of letting go of possessions and commitments that weigh you down, that are unnecessary or no longer serving you or God. Gratitude—for the experiences that shaped you in this place and grew and strengthened your faith and ministry, and for the people who wove you into the fabric of community. You are now loosening those bonds to make room for a new community. You can also be grateful for that, looking forward with anticipation to new experiences, new growth, and new people to love.

My prayer for you (and for myself) is that you follow God’s leading as you have in the past, gracefully letting go of the things that bind you, emptying yourself of that which no longer serves you, and practicing gratitude for all that has been and all that is yet to come.

I know this is a much shorter blog than usual, but I have boxes to pack (and so do you!) Blessings, my friends!


Sue Magrath is a spiritual director and the author of several booksHer previous career spanned fourteen years in the mental health field. She is passionate about clergy wellness and has authored the book, My Burden is Light: A Primer for Clergy Wellness.

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