Keeping the Faith

What If You Have a Bellyache And You Don’t Even Know It?

The pros and cons of moving house.

Pros: you get to live in a new house.

Cons: you pack your life into cardboard boxes small enough to lift. You relocate only to spend the next few weeks unpacking things you don’t know why you have. No matter how much careful labeling, you still lose things. You WILL end up cleaning two houses. If you have small children, multiply the inconvenience by the number of their sticky little, into-everything fingers. In following months you will field a mass of queries from household members beginning with, “Where’s the…” And there’s that strange period of time when you just don’t know which house to call home.

Moving house, hey! What upheaval!

But then, when you’ve found a spot for your toothbrush, you’ve tested the water pressure, sat to a few meals and listened to the calls of birds in this neck of the woods, there comes that satisfied sigh at the end of one thing and the beginning of another.

That’s where I’m at.

Can I just say, life’s good! God is good! I give the man upstairs all the kudos for the exciting things he’s doing in the life of my little fam. But I digress.

I wanted to add another ‘pro’ to the above list. Of course, there are many, many other positives to moving house. In particular, it gives the opportunity to scrutinise our family habits.

We made a big decision with this move; to relegate the television to a colder, smaller and all-round less comfy room of the house. It’s not in the living space, where a wood fire crackles and our lounge entices. Basically, we’ve made it so that watching tele is an intentional decision rather than a habitual, mind-numbing exercise in zoning out at the end of every day – which is tempting… but not so great for grey matter and relationships.

Two weeks in and the experiment is proving a success.

We’re reading books. We’re having deeper conversations. We’re giving eye contact and undivided attention. We’re getting more things done.

The challenge made me wonder what else I might be missing out on thanks to mindless patterns in my life that I haven’t poked and prodded to check they stand up to a value test.

There’s a verse in the Bible that speaks of patterns.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

What does it mean?

Perhaps the author is encouraging us to rise above the colony ant mentality. There’s certainly a prod towards transcendence – embracing a greater reality. I think it also puts a question mark to the widely accepted postmodern premise that human life has no value, as such, and that worth is subjective.

Romans 12:2 is a verse that begs the reader to take flight by simply opening their mind to God.

Trying a new thing takes great courage but when we reach the end of our days, wouldn’t it be better to say, “I gave it a go!” than, “I wish I had…”?

That verse ends with, “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

It may be hard to comprehend, but God has a “good, pleasing and perfect will” for your life. We’re not just another colony ant to Him. We each matter.

The daughter of a friend of mine was diagnosed with celiac disease at around five years of age. Once on the right diet, she was a changed child. Her whole disposition changed and she was able to articulate the alteration she felt in her body. Put simply, she hadn’t realised that having a perpetual bellyache wasn’t normal.

There’s a certain rhythm to life, a momentum that’s difficult to derail. But what if that very propulsion is precluding you from a freedom the likes of which you have never experienced?

What if you have a bellyache and you don’t even know it?


First published in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday April 27, 2015.


  1. Thanks for sharing Claire, Romans 12:2 is a great verse.
    When we moved house in 2011, we got out of the habit of watching TV entirely (even though we bought one especially for the new house and were given another one). Now, we rarely watch TV, and don’t miss it. Breaking the habit was good for the children too, as they now spend more time on other things like reading and playing piano and are not even interested in TV (although they do watch DVDs from time to time).
    Thanks again, Claire.

    • Thanks Sid! It IS taking a bit of adjustment, but we’re pretty determined! Last night hubby and I had a 2-hour game of Scrabble! Fun! Bless you 🙂

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