About six months ago I took a new job, had a baby, and purchased a home. This was what they call a Significant Life Event (SLE). It was a lot all at once, but it was a lot of good. One of the seemingly small changes that came along with all of these big changes was that we landed in a home just a little over a mile from my new job. And I have been pleasantly surprised by how dramatically living closer to work has affected my life, especially my spiritual life.
Here are three spiritual benefits I’ve seen that came from moving closer to work.
1 – More Time
I’ve already bragged at length about being an early riser, so I’ll spare you the schpeal. But I do love to wake up early and have lots of time alone, to read the Word, pray, study, and write. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day.
Before the SLE, I was commuting between 45–60 minutes both ways in LA traffic. I was waking up early but it was a scramble to get everything in, exercise, spiritual stuff, etc. The commute just ate up so much time.
It is true that you can redeem the time of your long drive to work by praying, listening to audiobooks, or calling people. And this is what I would do. But the options for chronological redemption are just so much greater when you’re not trapped in a metal box on a 5-lane highway going 3-miles per hours in a fit of commuter’s rage.
Living closer to work has meant longer mornings to myself and longer evenings with my family. It’s been such a boon to both my devotional life and my family life.
2 – Less Stress
I’m sure part of the Lord’s purpose in giving me those frustrating commutes was to teach me patience. I’m not sure, however, I learned much of it. Commuting for that long usually meant I was already on-edge even before I opened my email.
Beginning the day already irritated just meant I was primed to sin in my speech and attitude toward others. Not a good start to the workday.
Living close to my work has resulted in an almost alarming level of peacefulness in my life. Now, I find that I typically start my workday with greater reserves of patience and a happier attitude. No doubt the extra time in the mornings fellowshipping with the Lord has also had its effect in these areas. And I’ll take all the help I can get on those fronts.
3 – Healthier Mind & Body
One of my favorite parts about living close to work is that I rarely drive anymore. When I do it’s about a 4-minute commute and I feel deeply ashamed and lazy for using a car for such a short distance. Typically, I’ll bike it (7-10 minutes), walk (~25 minutes), or jog if I’m feeling particularly spry that morning (17 hours).
Biking to work means that along with having a leg up on those hypocritical climate change hippies, I get to begin my workday with vigorous exercise. This has had obvious health benefits, but it also gets the blood flowing and wakes me up. The result has been a sharper mind at the beginning of the day. Now, I’m fully awake when I sit down at my desk, even before I sip my hot caffeinated bean water.
I am charged with the stewardship of this body and mind, to use them for God’s glory. So, doing what I can to keep those boys in shape for ministry is spiritually critical to discharging that stewardship faithfully. I don’t always take care of them as I should, but living close to work has given me an easy way of taking strides in that direction.
I know not everyone is in a position to move closer to work, but if the opportunity arises let me commend it to you. It seems like a small thing, but the quality of life upgrades are truly immeasurable. Most of all, living closer to work can bring you spiritual benefits you may never have considered.