About a year ago, I moved from Lagos, Nigeria to London, United Kingdom. It wasn’t a spontaneous decision for me but that didn’t make it any less daunting to do. With a mix of high and low moments, I’m super grateful to God for how the past year went and I’m excited for what’s ahead. Nevertheless, moving to a new country is a big deal! So, I hope this post gives you an insight into my relocation experience. You’ll also pick up tips to make the transition easier if you ever have to relocate.
Here are 6 lessons from my relocation experience:
1. You still need God, even in a developed country.
There are people who assume that when you are in a developed country, you wouldn’t need to look up to God so much. They believe the government would do the things that people in less developed countries typically ask God for. So, why would you hold tight to your faith in God? The system in the country works, right?
Yes, the system might be working and the government could be doing a brilliant job but you still need God. He is the source of your life as a believer. I think this wrong assumption stems from a misunderstanding of who God is to us. Your relationship with God is beyond what He can do for you. So, you need Him. You always need Him, in this world and even beyond.
Having a better lifestyle in this new country may feel satisfying but it’s only for a while. Eventually, you realise that anything that satisfies temporarily doesn’t truly “satisfy”. Instead, true satisfaction is eternal and this is only found in Christ.
2. Your experience can be better and different from those of others.
It’s okay to listen to people’s experiences, opinions or advice on how relocation worked out for them. People tend to give you suggestions on what to do and how to transition into your new life. As helpful as that might be, don’t let that determine your experience or influence your expectations wrongly. Of course, be realistic and patient but you don’t have to move from grass to grace. If that’s eventually the reality you face, that’s fine too. Nonetheless, you can expect and work towards a better relocation or transition experience.
For instance, when I was searching for a job, people gave me a lot of opinions and suggestions. I knew the kind of job I wanted. But after months of searching and not getting one, it seemed like people suggested that I lowered my expectations. So, I applied for jobs below my professional level but didn’t get one either. Eventually, I tuned out the noise around me and decided to trust God and expect the best role for me. To the glory of God, I miraculously got an amazing job not long after that. Within one week, I was recommended for the role and offered a job. It’s also at a kind of company that I used to think I wasn’t yet as qualified to work for. I thank God that I didn’t expect less than He could give me. This leads me to my next point.
3. Trust God with your life, not people.
In Lagos, my parents usually came through me when I needed something. If they couldn’t help directly, they knew someone who could help. So, I had to learn this lesson again. I was now in a new country where they didn’t have “the contacts” to make things happen easier. Eventually, the Holy Spirit helped me see how sometimes, I acted like I trusted my parents with my life instead of God.
It’s important that no one competes with God in your heart. People can come through for you but that also means that they can disappoint you. A better alternative is to trust God with every aspect of your life including your life in a new country. With or without having “the contacts”, trust God to take care of you. He loves you and does His best for you always.
4. Your Christian values and beliefs remain relevant.
Being in a new place doesn’t mean you should conform to the culture around you. Your faith is timeless. God’s standards clearly communicated in His Word will always be relevant everywhere.
I like this statement from my Pastor, now paraphrased. The Word of God is our creed on how to live as believers. There is a way God wants things to be done and it is not subject to popular opinions or country. We are meant to be biblical, not conventional.
Don’t relax your faith and values. Instead, commit to a good local church and maintain a fervent devotion. Get accountable to other believers. Live boldly and unashamed for Christ. The Holy Spirit empowers you to do this.
5. It might take a while to feel at home.
Some people assume that once you have a better lifestyle in a developed country, then you shouldn’t miss home. Like, why would you feel lonely abroad?
That assumption is wrong so prepare your mind. It might take a while to feel at home in a new country. Even with family around, you might still feel lonely. Relocation is a huge change. I advise you have a solid support system, physically or virtually and intentionally keep up with your people. In addition, be open and put in the effort to build a new community in your new place.
If your romantic life took a hit too and you find yourself in a long-distance relationship, get some tips here to help you build a good relationship.
People say you start to feel at home with time so, I expect that too. Till then, hang in there. God’s got you.
6. You are still a sojourner in this world so, remember your purpose for being here.
No matter how beautiful the country you live in in this world, it’s not your real country. Your real citizenship is in Heaven. So, don’t get carried away with the temporary life here. You are an ambassador for Christ here and should serve the interest of your real country. Stay on guard and preach the Gospel.
Finally, don’t fall into the temptation to think that preaching the Gospel isn’t as important when life is good where you are. Even citizens of a developed country need the salvation that Jesus gives. They need to hear the Gospel and put their faith in Jesus to be saved. You are a gift to them so share the truth with them.
Excited about what’s ahead!
Even after one year, I miss home a lot but I’m grateful. God has been so good to me and He’s still doing good. By God’s grace, the experience only gets better from here and I’m excited about that.
Thank you for reading through. I would love to read from you too.
♦ If you have relocated at some point, what did you learn from your experience?
♦ What do wish someone told you about relocating to a new country?
Let me know in the comment section. Thanks!