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I paused before shutting the cargo door on the rental car: Am I really doing this? Again? While the majority of my friends seemed to be moving ahead in life—getting married, growing families, gaining in their careers—I was moving back.
Literally—I was moving back to Mom and Dad’s: Unmarried. Underemployed. Unsuccessful in ways anyone could measure adulthood. Which is why I felt like a failure, even though my wisest choice was to move back.
Strapped with student loans, struggling to buy sufficient groceries, and so stressed that anxiety was as common as job-rejection e-mails, I knew something had to change. (I was just hoping my zip code wouldn’t have to.)
But here I am, different zip code and all. Yes, that means I’m typing these words to you from my parents’. Which, I’m still not proud of; I’m just no longer ashamed of it. That’s because God isn’t limited by location when it comes to transformation.
In the past six months of being here, these seven truth-rich, hope-filled revelations have helped me move forward while moving back. In fact, I see now that I’ve moved forward in ways I couldn’t have—if I weren’t living at home:
1. You’re not alone. And no, I’m not attempting Obvious Statement of the Year here, because you literally don’t live alone. In fact, if you’re like me, you wish you could be alone more often. But you’re not alone, in the sense that you’re not abnormal:
In November 2015, The Pew Research Center reported that more young women are living with at least one parent—than since the 1940s. For most of us, that’s before even our parents were born! Does it make this the ideal? No, but it means it’s real.
2. Your address is not your identity. This is still a hard one for me sometimes. It wasn’t until I couldn’t afford to live where I wanted to, that I realized how much stock I put in finances—for my sense of worth and value.
But when God allows cracked idols to crumble, it’s because that kind of faulty foundation is hazardous to us! By not being able to draw affirmation from the idols of money or job performance, it’s forced me to find out who I am without them.
3. You’re not a failure. Okay, maybe you needed to move back home because you made mistakes. Making mistakes—whether they were financial, relational, or outright sinful—doesn’t make you a mistake. (It’s time to forgive yourself.)
I do believe it was a mistake for me to borrow money for grad school. But mistake or not, God still loves us, and wants to still prosper us (you and me)! Beating yourself up can’t change that about Him, and condemnation won’t improve your situation.
4. You’re allowed to grieve. This is not the life I envisioned in 2008, when I left my salaried government job for grad school. There are promises yet to come to pass, dreams yet to awaken, and ones that I’ve even had to lay to rest, permanently.
God knows what you hoped would have happened by now, and how your heart aches. One of the best pieces of advice I received? To be brutally honest with Him about how I feel. Not only can He handle it, but He wants to hand you a new hope.
5. You’re under their roof—but still under God’s reign. Okay, now, please don’t bark this at your mom the next time she asks for your help with the dishes. But do be encouraged to exercise healthy boundaries, even while living “under their roof.”
Thankfully, my parents understand this, for the most part. And I’ve come to understand that they may offer their two cents, but I need to still take God’s will to the bank. I’ve learned I want to honor them—but I still need to follow God.
6. You’re getting something priceless. This one took me a while to see, because, at first, I was so focused on how much I didn’t want to live with my parents. (And not because they’re my parents, but because I’m 32.) Then I realized…
…I get to live with my parents again. I get to see God do new things with old hurts, including ones I inflicted. I get more time with them, before having to wait until Heaven. I just needed a gratitude adjustment, to appreciate the gift of extra time.
7. He’s not done. When I first moved home, I felt totally defeated, and a bit lost (okay, more than a bit). I still have days when it’s hard to have hope that Moving Day will actually come. (Thankfully, God helps our unbelief—ask!)
You could give up. Or you could let God trade your mope for hope, and your despair for repair. You could (and should) take responsibility for what only you can do, and purposefully fight for having faith in what only He can still do…
…because He is still for you.
Now It’s Your Turn: Have you ever had to move back in with one or both of your parents? What did you learn from that time, or what would you add to this list of tips? Tell me in the comments, and in doing so you’ll encourage other readers, too!
Related Video: Finding Forgiveness and Healing After an Affair
Rebecca Halton is a working writer, the author of Words from the Other Woman, and a self-professed “redemption advocate,” who loves cheering women on to freer living in their present, regardless of their past. www.RebeccaHalton.com