010 The Wisdom of Staying Home. An Interview with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove [Podcast]

In a world where travel is affordable, jobs are disposable and overseas friends are just a mouse-click away, it’s easy to become lured by the greener grass of ‘elsewhere’, thinking that our fulfillment lies in the next job we take, house we buy, church we visit, or relationship we begin. According to Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, however, all this moving means we’re missing out on one of God’s best gifts: the gift of stability. 

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In the Podcast

Question: How many times have you moved house? What have you lost or gained from that? Tell me now.

If there’s one message I don’t want you to get from Resurrection Year it’s that you have to leave home to start again. Yes, part of Merryn’s and my Resurrection Year meant moving from Australia to the UK. But, we did that only after reading Jonathan’s book [amazon_link id=”1557256233″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Wisdom of Stability[/amazon_link] to make sure we weren’t running from our problems. His core message that we should live in a community as if we we’re never going to leave is an important one. In this interview we explore:

  • How a culture of searching can lead to perpetual frustration
  • What the gift of stability is and where it’s found
  • The importance of long-term rootedness in community
  • Balancing an ambition to travel with a commiment to community
  • When it’s OK to move
  • What all this means for the travelling sales person, musician or minister


  • ‘The most important thing most of us can do to grow spiritually is to stay in the place where we are’ Tweet this
  • ‘Ambition tempts us to forsake the mundane for the sake of new opportunities’ Tweet this
  • ‘We learn to dwell with God by learning practices of hospitality, listening, forgiveness & reconciliation – daily tasks of life with other people’ Tweet this
  • ‘Stability in Christ is always stability in community’ Tweet this

Special Announcements

  1. Resurrection Year is out! Read a FREE chapter, read the moving Amazon reviews, and buy the book!
  2. I’m currently doing dozens of radio and magazine interviews about the book across the the US, UK and Australia. If you are interested in me speaking to your audience tell me here.
  3. I will be doing an Australian speaking tour in October. If you would like to have me speak about Resurrection Year at your church or conference, please tell me about your event.

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Question: How many times have you moved house? What have you lost or gained from that? Tell me now.


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  • June 12, 2013

    I lived on campus as a student (and so had to move home over each summer), studied abroad and have lived in share houses since graduating. That has meant that who I am living with has partially or completely changed every 4-10 months over the last six years. Certainly I’ve met a lot of nice people and developed some pretty good friendships along the way but it can get tiring forever adjusting to the quirks of new people and slowly getting to know them and having them get to know you. And ultimately in these kinda arrangements people are living their own separate lives, just in the same place.I had a previous housemate blow up at me because they didn’t want to know about my problems. Kinda lonely at times, especially when you get sick or have had a really bad day and just want to be cared for.

    Jonathan’s book has been a really influential one for me. Although given my income and single status sharehouses are my only viable housing option, it inspired me to try to stay as much in the same geographical area as I can and to stay invested in the same church rather than moving to chase career opportunities or hunting for a church that matches all my preferences.

    • June 12, 2013

      Thanks for this, Joanna. That is a LOT of moves in six years. And it really does take its toll on relationships, as you’ve said. I think of an interview I did some years back with Tony Campolo who told me he’d lived pretty much in the same neighbourhood for his entire life in order to have that sense of community, stability and accountability.

  • June 12, 2013
    Margaret Calvert

    From birth to the age of 18 when I left home I had moved house 19 times! From 18 – 20 I moved 6 times. I got married for the first time and moved 3 times in 12 years. I got divorced and then remarried and within this marriage I have moved 3 times in 19 years. My second husband had lived in the same city all his life with the exception of university. He has bought some much needed stability to my life. Our moves have been an adventure and we are now very settled where we are with no plans to leave here. We went and ran a small B&B in the Scottish Highlands for 6 years and have moved back south to be more accessible to our family, as I am a Grannie now!
    What effect did my unsettled childhood have? It left me feeling like an outcast, as if I did not belong anywhere. A lot of this was internalised to me feeling like I was not good enough, I was somehow wrong, that I should be somewhere else and even be someone else. It has taken many years for God to be able to reach into those places and bring healing, and laterly plenty of counselling along the way
    The situation was made worse by the absence of any stability within the family unit. My parents have a dysfunctional relationship, it was not a settled secure one in which to bring 5 children.
    The only positive thing is that I am very adaptable and can settle in to new situations quite quickly, physically anyway. I also have a wealth of experience and understanding of human nature that I draw on in my work as a counsellor.
    But I envy those who have a sense of history, family, stability and constancy in their lives, although I can not imagine what it must be like to have always lived in one place.
    I know I can never have that past, but I can build my future by staying where I now feel very much at home, as a large part of my life had been spent within a 100 mile radius of here.

    • June 12, 2013

      Oh wow, Margaret. What a story. (And what a life.) You vividly portray the cost of such constant movement. I’m so glad you’re finding healing now, and that your experiences have birthed empathy for others. I do love that last paragraph too.

  • June 12, 2013

    My parents were presented with multiple opportunities to move for a better job for my dad but he was too ‘grounded’ to move. This caused a lot of problems for us financially, and he always felt frustrated and took it out on us many times. This seems a reaction against his own childhood in constant transition. So I guess maybe it’s about balance, and helping kids to understand flexibility and the skills moving gives them later in life.

    • June 13, 2013

      Thanks Tee. There’s the other side of the story: sometimes not moving when you should is equally problematic.


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