Failure to Thrive:
a child who’s physical growth is significantly less than that of peers
Failure to Launch:
the struggle to leave home and transition from adolescence into adulthood
Failure to Settle:
the inability to find contentment with the physical location (home, town, etc.) in which a person currently resides
While TJ and I have made it past the areas where people sometimes struggle in childhood and transitioning from adolescence into adulthood, we definitely fall into the “failure to settle” (FTS) category. FTS is not a “real” thing, at least there is not a formal definition for the ever-growing reality many in our generation face: we have a hard time finding contentment with where we are in life. Perhaps we haven’t found our “perfect” job or maybe we haven’t found our “perfect” house or town, so we keep moving. Every few years we uproot and try somewhere new (or a new job) in hopes that the new thing will be our forever location or dream job. TJ and I been struggling with FTS since we turned 18.
For me, I left Ohio and went to college in Michigan then moved to South Carolina after spending a few months in Georgia, only to move from the Charleston area to the Columbia area two years later. After spending two years in Columbia we moved back to my hometown in Ohio, two years later we moved back to Charleston and here we are, two years on, ready to move again but unable to do so. Vivienne has lived in four homes in 4.5 years – our home in Columbia until she was 3 months old, our home in Ohio until she was 2.5, our boat until 4.5, and now back to a house. We struggle to ever feel settled. Even now, this house, this area doesn’t feel right to us.
As I unpack box after box of things from our storage unit and boat, I found myself not wanting to unpack all of them because I know we will not be in this house forever. There will come a day when we pack it all up and move again. We are still struggling to settle and, in the struggle, we also fail to find contentment and appreciation for where we are in the moment. This is not uncommon.
This is not what we planned but, as so often happens with our plans, God has different ones. While I truly look back on these 18 months of struggle and see where, perhaps, we should’ve taken a leap of faith when we stepped back in fear; everything is a learning opportunity. Now, as we prepare to sell our boat- our home- delaying sailing to other countries until we find the one where we want to be expat missionaries seems even further from our grasp. So, we are trying to find contentment in the waiting… joy, peace, and appreciation with where we are right now.
Charleston is a beautiful town, I work for a wonderful church that has provided us with support, and TJ has finally found a job he truly enjoys; albeit in Mexico. Vivienne is getting to know TJ’s family better, since she lived near mine for the first few years, she has been enrolled in an AMAZING Spanish Immersion preschool for the last two years, and I’ve met a life-long best friend…just to name a few positives through all the negatives we have experienced lately. However, in all reality, we very rarely focus on these positives. We don’t find the appreciation for where we are right now because we know it isn’t where we want to be. It isn’t where we feel we are supposed to be.
Once again we feel we are in limbo land; trapped between where we are and where we want to be. Unless we learn to contentment and appreciation, we will continue to roam as directionless nomads always looking for the next “perfect” place, job, or thing. God has a reason for where we are and finding the joy, lesson, and peace with where He has is key to shedding FTS.
“For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.”
-Psalm 22:24 (ESV)
*No matter how much we struggle, how hard we fail to find contentment and peace with in the center of all the negative, God has not turned his face from us; He hears us and is always there for us.*