For a long time, I used to fear change. (No not the dimes and pennies, I love those!)
No, I feared the way everything could suddenly be different than it was before. I love to be able to count on things happening when they were supposed to happen, people to be the way they have always been. (You could probably attribute this to my excessive need for control and my idea that my way was right all the time.)
This past year, I tried to fight it, I tried to hold on tightly to the things that were changing. I ended up being bitter, angry and sad for much of the year.
I ended up being worried that I had done something wrong with all the change. I was anxious and worried that I had somehow messed up my life plan.
While processing all that has changed, I thought about some of these simple truths about change.
1. It adds up.- The small things can suddenly be big.
In the 5 years that I have spent as a teacher in a public school, I have to had face change 5 times. Every year is something different. Every year we have new teachers, new policies and procedures. Every year, I have something totally new to do in my classroom.
Sometimes all these little changes can get extremely overwhelming and exhausting, because learning new things is not easy. It is hard, it requires work and dedication. It requires being uncomfortable for a short time or even a long period of time. Perhaps it means you have to step outside your comfort zone, embracing something you don’t initially like or understand.
However, sometimes…..sometimes those little things can add up to something good. Like for instance, when I made little changes to my eating habits and physical activity and lost 90 lbs.
Then suddenly you realize one day that you/life/relationships are different than they were before. And you are thankful!
2. It always seems to happen at once.(Am I right, or am I right?)
Last year, I had a lot of changes coming up in the new year. Not only in work but personally. I was moving, living with more people. I had to establish new routes to work, new running trails, new rhythms. And I did it about the same time as the beginning of school. Last year, was a hard year, for many reasons, but mostly because of all the change all at once.
Once the season of change passes, you are able to breath again, and look at things from a different perspective. Many times some of those changes are good ones, and when things slow down you can enjoy them. In the end, you come out the other side different, changed, usually for the better.
3. The big ones hurt the most.
Sort of like if you threw a handful of actual change (cents) at someone, the quarters would probably hurt the most.
Seriously though, the big changes (marriage, kids, moving, new jobs, loss of jobs) always seem to throw you like a giant wave crashing on you. You don’t know if you will survive. These are the ones that seem to shift your life course dramatically. In these times you might begin to question and wrestle and even doubt your life choices.
The moving part of me was my big thing. I got hung up on this change, suddenly it felt like moving into a house with 3 other single women was a giant step back from where I wanted to be. This sent me into a tail spin of questioning and doubting and rethinking what was next for me.
The blessing that I didn’t forsee is that I did begin to rethink and question what was next for me. I began to dream different dreams and uncover hopes I didn’t know I had.
4. It won’t destroy you.
Oh you think it will. You think that this change, will be your death. Many times, I dramatically would exclaim to my mother that my life was over, because this and this had changed.
For example, when I was overwhelmed with graduating college and moving on, I was sad to leave my community of friends.
“You will make new friends.” She would say.
“I…don’t…want….new friends!” I would sob into the phone.
But she was right. (I would never admit that.) I did make new friends, and dig into my old friendships in deeper ways.
Much like how God promises to refine us by fire, to prune us so that we may grow. (Ps 66:10-12; John 15:1-6) But it is all so that He can make room for something else, whether that be so we bear fruit or to live in a place of abundance.
5. You need an anchor.
Much like a ship, when times of trouble are rolling in, you need an anchor. You need something to keep you grounded, from drifting off course.
Change sometimes can tap into our deepest fears, can cause more anxiety. We want security and comfort, change threatens both of those things. So much like a ship in a storm, we need to rely on our anchor to remind of our true security and comfort.
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul,” – Hebrews 6:19
When change is whipping you around like the winds of a storm, remember the one who is your anchor of hope that doesn’t change. He is our constant, our comfort, our security.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
6. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.
I have a wonderful, beautiful friend, who I admire greatly because she takes many changes in stride. Something unexpected happens, she just rolls with it. She walks in grace for herself and the situation. “It’s life.”- she says.
(I imagine that is one of those qualities I skipped over in my frenemy Proverbs 31)
We have to be able to sometimes just jump on a surfboard and ride the waves of change. We have to see where it takes us and choose excitement instead of fighting it. (Now, I am sure that is in a surfers instruction manual somewhere!)
What about change is hardest for you? Do you roll with it or fight it? Or do you have anthem or motto that gets you through?