On Becoming Addicted to New Beginnings {And Free Printable}

by | Apr 30, 2017 | Rhythms of Rest, waiting

“What’s in that big black bag out in the garage?” H asks me from the dining room. I’m in the kitchen.

“Clothes,” I tell him, “All the clothes I brought with me but haven’t worn since we moved to London. I don’t want to discard them yet but I need to make room in my tiny closet.”

Tidying up closets, re-organizing drawers, cleaning up flower beds, and decluttering my desk – all seem to happen as soon as dark winter transitions to the slanted light and open windows of spring. But maybe the act of putting things right in May is an outward sign of an inward seasonal shift.

Restlessness has been a part of my circadian rhythm since I was a little girl.

The irony is not lost on me that I wrote a book on the theme of rest.

When I began this blog six years ago, I referred to myself as a nomad. That word seemed hyperbolic to some but the truth is, the longest I’ve lived in one place is seven years.

Growing up, I wondered what it must feel like to return to familiarity on the regular. How wonderful to expect peace, security, and love when you walk through the doors of a childhood home.

Last week, after disembarking from the tube, I walked past a father ranting to his young son on the platform. “Your Dad isn’t going to go to jail just because he is drinking a cold beer on a hot day.”

The sun was out but I was wearing a coat and scarf.

That father’s dismissive response was like a page of my story being read out loud. A reminder of what it sounds like to have anxiety and fear carelessly disregarded by the most important person in your world.

Turning around, I searched for that little boy’s face. I needed to see how bravery and hiddenness look while the mind silently screams, “Someone, help me!” The language of co-dependency doesn’t require words, it understands restlessness from within and empathizes with pain.

And innocence holds the hand of God while looking down at pavement and searching for hope in the cracks.

Walking up the steps toward the kiosk, I prayed comfort and protection for a small boy growing under the shadow of his father’s addiction.

Perhaps I have a permanent propensity toward wanderlust and change, not because I’m a nomad but because my soul remembers what my mind forgets.

The adrenaline rush of new beginnings bring joy and hope. But making change happen instead of waiting on God comes at a great personal cost.

Creating, producing, and planning new things can be a subversive coping mechanism for avoiding uncertainty in the middle place. Between the beginning and the end of the story God is writing for us, we are prone to become bogged down, bored, and bewildered about how life will eventually turn out.

And here we are in the middle month of May, when all those new year resolutions seem distant and overzealous.

But become addicted to the adrenaline rush of new beginnings and miss the abundance God has for you in the wilderness.

You will never know what you don’t know if you avoid the discomfort inherent in waiting periods.

I had to live in London for two years before discovering what I need in a wardrobe. It was only after leaning into the learning curves of a new culture that I realized my foolish assumptions while packing boxes.

In the garage, that giant black bag of clothes next to a box springs that won’t fit up the stairs represents plans, dreams, and projections that have unknowingly hemmed me in.

We like to start over because we do not know how to wait.

The certainty of a bad ending is easier to navigate than an uncertain, open-ended detour in the dreams we envision for ourselves. Fix, solve, process, numb, or deny the situation altogether – we’ll do just about anything to avoid diving into unknowns.

How do we determine a new beginning is providential, not a self-imposed fix for inner restlessness? Ask yourself some hard questions.

What do I need to learn? Where have I made assumptions? How have plans, dreams, and projections unknowingly hemmed me in from God’s grand perspective?

Knowing we are deeply loved makes waiting less lonely and more hopeful. As for me, I am poor and needy but the Lord takes thought of me. (Psalm 40:17)

He thinks of all his children walking with heads down and trying to make sense of senseless situations.

He is thinking of you now.

Will you wait for him to come?

As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! Psalm 40:11

Download this free printable May calendar — prompts from Chapter Five in Rhythms of Rest — and keep persevering in waiting on God.

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Celeste Allyn

    Hi Shelly,
    In your story you have used language I am all too familiar with. Nomad, new beginnings, head down. Sometimes I still feel like that child but God is at work in me.
    My father was controlling.
    My parents laughed at me, I laugh now but when I was younger, living at home I constantly changed furniture around creating new looks. That was my coping mechanism. That was my way of controlling something in my life. It was only last week when I could tell them, “I never had a voice”.
    You spoke of new beginnings.
    We move (again) in two months. This time to Ontario. Big move, another new beginning into a house of our own.
    I have been working diligently to uncover those, dare I say, old emotions but they do have a way of being unpacked with each new place.
    But by the grace of God go I.
    Thank you Shelly,

    • Shelly Miller

      Thinking of you today as you pack up and prepare your heart for a new place with new people and new possibilities. May God reveal his lovingkindness to you by providing understanding and purpose in the upheaval. Praying for you today!

  2. Leslie Durham

    Once again your words speak to my heart. “The certainty of a bad ending is easier to navigate than an uncertain, open-ended detour in the dreams we envision for ourselves. Fix, solve, process, numb, or deny the situation altogether – we’ll do just about anything to avoid diving into unknowns.” This really hit home for me. I have seen myself sabotage good things in my life in an effort to control situations rather than wait for God to bring out His best for me. I really needed to be reminded of this today.

    • Shelly Miller

      Leslie, your vulnerability is inspiring. I pray that the revelation you communicate here in the comments will be a seed that takes root and grows into beautiful freedom — freedom from self-sabotage and courage to hope in the unknowns as you wait on Him.

  3. Dea

    In a world that wants to divide into tribes, it’s amazing how well we understand each other, how our human condition is relatable. I think about your empathy toward the boy with his father. You understand his life, his longing. There is no one more suited to pray for the boy than you and, as you already know, that is exactly why your lives intersected. We can say we have no addictions, but then God asks us to wait. This insight is rich—and true. I’m taking it with me into this day. Thank you for your wisdom, my friend. (And the photography is fabulous as usual.)

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes! When we are fixed on what divides we cannot see the beauty of our humanity and the ways in which God redeems our brokenness. Thank you for being my awesome, praying friend. I love you!

  4. Beth Ness

    Wow! This is just what I needed this morning. Waiting on the
    Lord is very challenging at times. I have to covstantly remind
    Myself that God has the Plan and His ways are perfect. Hope all is well with you!

    • Shelly Miller

      Beth! How lovely to see you here on the blog. I think waiting is one of the most challenging aspects of life but it is also an opportunity to see the imagination of God unfold in beautiful ways that astound. May God continue to remind you that you are not alone while you wait, that your circumstances are not an indicator of future outcomes but an opportunity to trust and flourish.

  5. lorie

    “We like to start over because we do not know how to wait.” I felt the prick of these words this morning. I needed to hear these words. I feel this tug of war between where I am and making plans for where I’m going, and wanting it to be done. I don’t want to go through the hard stuff of waiting. Yet, I know when I get there I will miss certain aspects of where I am. But I also know my faith will be richer by experiencing the details of the waiting and allowing its purpoe to have its way. That encourages me. Thank you for these prickly and hopeful words today.

    • Shelly Miller

      Lorie, I pray that the prickly words that convict are also words that comfort and provide hope in the wait. You are in good company when it comes to wanting to avoid the uncomfortableness inherrent in waiting. Keep looking for him in the details. He is with you!

  6. Nancy Ruegg

    What a clever, thought-provoking oxymoron you’ve included here, about missing the abundance God has for us in the wilderness. Some might ask, “How can there be abundance in a wilderness?” They’ve left GOD out of the statement. Praise him that when life’s pathway leads across a wilderness, he is there, manifesting his attributes. To detour the wilderness is to miss greater intimacy, a larger measure of his grace, small miracles along the way, and more. Yes, I want to wait for my Father God to come. Thank you, Shelley, for inviting us to wait, to discover his grand perspective for each of our lives.

  7. Shelly Miller

    Yes Nancy. When we have nothing but God in the wilderness, we experience abundance because we have all we need! Waiting doesn’t always “feel” like abundance but his intimacy is what ultimately fills up the heart with purpose and meaning and hope. Thanks for being here, always.

  8. Kristin

    God was used you again to speak to me this morning. At the beginning of each year I ask God for special words or a focus for the year and this year was waiting…thank you for the encouragment to wait and that I am never alone in the waiting. Blessing to you.

  9. Rebecca Wolfenden

    The words in this post draw me in. I will be hanging out with them to make certain they become etched in my mind.

  10. Susan Shipe

    I’m glad I subscribed – I can tell I will enjoy your emails!

  11. Mary Stewart

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for being obedient to the call to write in trust, about trust. As I came to the end of the post I realized I’d been holding my breath and all I could think was, Ugh. Yes. Me. I am breathing again, with a lighter heart than before. Your insights are more words of love from the One who makes me and wants me to trust him. Very timely, but of course that’s no coincidence, is it?

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