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Friends of mine are struggling to decide whether they should move for a job. It sounds like a great opportunity for her, but she and her family are happy here. What advice can I give them, and how do I support them?

It can feel like the obvious answer is that they should move. Yet life and vocation are more than our jobs: they include our families, friends, and churches and the communities where we live. You can help your friends discern which direction glorifies God and allows them to love their neighbor as themselves.

As they think about taking the job, you can talk them through the reasons they might choose that direction. Accepting a job to get more money or prestige isn’t necessarily bad, but is it worth uprooting their whole family? But if they’re unhappy now and not using their skills and experience in their current situation, perhaps this job offer is God’s provision. There’s also a question of love and fairness: in the Christian Reformed Church’s liturgical form for marriage, the vows end with the promise to encourage one’s spouse to develop their God-given gifts. Does the job your friend is considering allow space for both partners to develop their gifts, especially if one person’s gifts have been prioritized in the past? If it feels like your friend’s job is being prioritized with this move, it can help to have honest conversations about what to do if their spouse or other family members struggle to feel at home or use their gifts in this new place.

You could also help your friends name some of the good things they’d want to find in a new place. You could help them look into schools, community programming, local attractions, and especially churches. You could plan together how you could visit them or how they might stay with you for part of a summer. If they struggle to imagine how life could be good in this new place, perhaps this is the Spirit inviting them to wonder if moving is really wise.

Whatever direction they sense God calling them, they will lose something—either their current community or the possibility of something new and good. If they take the new opportunity, you can help them create ways to say good-bye well and make space to acknowledge the losses alongside the hope and excitement of something new.

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