4 Tips for Staying Grounded When Your Heart Longs for Elsewhere

Spring was in the air the other day.

I stepped outside on the porch, soaking in the golden sunshine. I breathed in deeply, warmth settling in me as I took in the brilliant azure sky and sparkling snowbanks.

How I longed for spring. After a long winter season, both literally and figuratively, my heart was ready for the splash of spring color and life. So ready.

But spring isn’t here yet. It’s still only March. Despite the hints of spring, winter still clings to the trees, the ground, the rivers. I have to wait at least a few more weeks to watch tiny green buds start to emerge.

Do you ever find yourself longing for something so hard that it hurts? For another season? For another place? For another home?

Trapped in Another Continent

I recently moved back to the United States after living in South Africa for 10 years. I never expected the parting to be so hard. I never expected to still feel homesick every day three months later. I never expected my heart to feel as though it were trapped in another continent, another country, another home.

My heart longs for another place.

But somehow, I have to reconcile that longing with the present. Because no matter how much I miss my home in South Africa, I know this is where God has placed me. He planted me in this little town in New England for His good purpose and plan.

As I grappled with wishing so desperately to be somewhere else, I asked myself, “How do I learn to find contentment in the here and now? How do I keep from dwelling on the past or longing for the future and instead find joy in the present moment? How can contentment coexist with longing?

Here are a few practices I’ve taken up in this winter season of my life to ground me in the present and keep me focused on the goodness right in front of me.

1. Count Your Blessings

Psalm 107:1 declares, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (ESV).

Giving thanks leads to contentment.

On the days when I’m struggling to see the goodness in my life, I’ve taken to keeping a list of daily blessings.

Often, they’re as simple as getting a good night’s sleep or having plenty of blankets to keep me warm from the winter chill. 

Include anything and everything you can think of – nothing is too small to count. You may be surprised at how many blessings there are right in front of you that you don’t even think about!

2. Invest in Your Community

Our souls crave community. God made us to be relational beings who need intimacy with others.

There’s no better way to ground yourself in the community God has placed you in than intentionally investing in relationships with others.

Invite someone you’d like to get to know better out for coffee. Get involved in your local church. Look for ways to practice the “do unto others.” Strike up a conversation with someone you wouldn’t normally talk to.

Investing in others not only helps to cultivate a sense of belonging in your new home, but it will also turn your focus off yourself and onto the people God has given you to bless.

What opportunities might you be missing out on that God has put right in front of you?

3. Embrace the Waiting

The Bible is full of stories of people who had to wait. Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for their promised son. Joseph waited 13 years in prison before he became vizier of Egypt. Hannah waited 19 years before God gave her Samuel. And David waited 15 years before God gave him the throne of Israel.

Waiting is how God shapes us into Christlike people. It’s how He draws us close to His side. It’s how He changes our longing into peace, our discontentment into joy

I have found that the seasons of waiting in my life have often been the times I’ve grown the most in my Christian walk and seen God most clearly.

When the waiting feels unbearably long, turn to the Lord. Pour out your frustrations to Him, but find peace in the waiting. This season will not last forever, but it is also not meaningless. God is working a great thing in you through the pain and the questions.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV

4. Look Forward to Tomorrow

Longing is not always bad.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

Longing keeps our eyes on Jesus, on eternity, where there will be no more tears or sorrow or parting. Longing reminds us that there is more than this brokenness. That this world is not all there is. That there is something far, far better in store for us. And we should look forward to that day.

Friend, keep longing for the future. Look forward to the day you get to see your loved ones again. Dream of the day you get to return to your overseas home. But don’t get stuck there.

Don’t forget to see the beauty God has put right in front of you. Invest completely in the present wherever you are, but still allow yourself to look forward to the future.


While practicing these habits has helped ground me in my present circumstances and find deeper belonging and peace where I am, the battle is far from over.

Daily, I have to turn my eyes to Jesus to ask Him to give me the contentment and joy I need. But each time, it gets a little easier. A little better. A little closer to Christlikeness.

Dear TCK, the Christian life is not a 50-yard dash. It’s not even a 5k race. It’s a marathon. Which means each day you have to practice surrendering your longings, your disappointments, and your waiting to Jesus all over again.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” Paul declares in 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV).

Will you be able to say the same when you stand before God someday?

Keep clinging to joy even when you don’t feel like it. Keep investing in the people around you. Keep embracing the waiting. And keep looking forward to the future.

The race has only just begun, dear TCK. Don’t give up now!

TCKs for Christ: Writer & Social Media Manager

Kristianne Hassman

is an MK from South Africa and has called Africa her home for the past 15 years. As a writer, she seeks to use her gifts to encourage other TCKs that they are not alone. Besides writing, she enjoys reading voraciously, playing piano and violin, and helping with her family’s ministry. You can connect with her at Whimsical Wanderings or on Instagram, @KristianneHassman_Author.

2 thoughts on “4 Tips for Staying Grounded When Your Heart Longs for Elsewhere”

  1. Hi Kristianne! Your article really ministered to me. It is such a good reminder to count our blessings. Thank you so much for sharing these words with us TCKs! God bless you!

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