“I hate change!” a friend said the other day as she gritted her teeth and pounded a fist lightly on a table.
Though her strong sentiments don’t resonate with me the way they might have in the past, I understand the feelings that fuel such a statement. Sometimes, they creep back into my life as well.
Like at Christmas time, when I realized we were stuck in Fargo, unable to be with extended family as we’d been planning to do for months. My surrender did not come easily. It wasn’t until I confronted the fact that I’d be putting my family at risk by traveling that I pulled away from the forward-moving energy that had been building for weeks. At that point, a light depression settled in as thwarted energy swirled in an attempt to change direction. About 48 hours into it, frustrated surrender turned into acceptance, and I came to embrace our cozy Christmas at home.
Though I responded with a backward step initially, over all I’ve gotten much better at accepting change more quickly with each passing year. I think that’s because of the vast amount of change I’ve experienced in recent years especially. People I thought would live for a long time died. Our family business closed. A few friends veered off onto a different path. My kids outgrew their clothes. A flood threw our city off kilter. A new president was elected. My first two babies turned into middle-schoolers.
But eventually, perspective came. Change has become familiar to me. Recognizing that change is going to happen makes it easier to adjust when it’s time. I’m not saying it’s always easy, but it’s infinitely easier once the certainty of change is grasped; freeing, even.
And here’s another thing. After all that change unfolded, I discovered that I was still here, and that, along with all of those things moving around me, I was still moving as well. I began to see that change is good and necessary and that we are on a constant journey toward a certain destination, and because of that, change is an absolute necessity for all those who live and breathe.
I also came to see the blessings of change; how the income shift prompted creative new solutions in our lives, how old friends re-emerged and new ones appeared to fill empty spaces, how the flood reminded us to stay humble and revived our faith in one another, how new leadership mixed things up in a way that helped us redefine what makes us tick. Indeed, most change can be edifying if we let it be.
This fall, our youngest will go to kindergarten. That will be a huge change for me. I’m already making plans on how I will fill the quiet that will result. I’m excited about new chances to expand my writing in several different directions – more freelance opportunities and partnerships and a chance to make progress on a children’s novel I’ve started. And recently, I’ve taken on a radio gig – helping host our local Catholic radio station. I’ll be hosting once a month, and also will be part of a monthly three-woman radio talk program discussing current issues relevant to the faith life.
These days, I can’t say that I hate change. I’ve become accustomed to that fact that change is a’coming, always. I might not always adjust immediately to it, but I know that in time I will surrender, even graciously, to the tougher changes in life.
Beyond all this even, a certain reality exists that makes my heart soar: No matter how much change goes on around us at any given phase in our lives, there is one absolutely rock-solid certainty: God will never change, will never leave our sides. If we’re feeling distant from our Creator, it’s not because God has gone away from us but that we have from Him. God will never abandon us — never.
It’s worth saying again. God. Never. Changes.
God is God, for all time, and His love is infinite and steadfast. And perhaps that’s why I am ultimately okay with change, because I know there’s at least one thing in my life that is absolutely-100 percent-for-sure, always.
Perhaps this helps account for the fact that people who are believers in God are, on average, happier than those who do not believe in God. We, the faith-filled, have the assurance of that rock-solid presence no matter what in our lives is stripped away or bends to the wind.
I want to leave you with something I gleaned from my current read (Fearless by Max Lucado); a thought that ought to comfort anyone experiencing particularly tumultuous changes and challenges at the moment:
“Real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and ultimate triumph. Yes, life stinks. But it won’t forever. As one of my friends likes to say, ‘Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.’”
I LOVE that. Do you realize what that’s saying? As believers, we get the last word. No matter how much unwanted change comes our way, no matter how many calamities, in the end, if we stay near our God we will be triumphant!
It’s a new year, a new decade, and even if there’s no other certainty in what’s ahead there is at least this: change will happen but God is still in control. And since God is love, we’re all in awesome hands.
What changes are you anticipating in the coming year? How do you feel about that?