Change is hard

It is actually is hard. Really hard.  Whether it is your ways, your life, or even the people around you, it is a terribly hard thing.

I have found of all the things that I have to deal with as an adult, change is one of the hardest.  Sure it can be exciting and thrilling, but it is still hard.  

We get used to things.  We get used to our routes to work, the people we see on a daily basis. Then….things change. We move, things happen, people leave, and suddenly everything is different.  Maybe not bad or terrible, but different and we suddenly have to get used to everything again.

Were we disillusioned in thinking that after all that change from high school to college (where you move every year) that after all that, everything would just settle down and be normal and predictable? Maybe we thought that we wouldn’t have to encounter hard things like this? Probably.

In reality, life turns out so much different than we think or imagine, and can be so hard at times.

Me too

I had a conversation with a student about some of my co-workers that changed jobs. (Meaning they don’t work in my school anymore.) She came to school the first day and realized that they really weren’t there. Just new people.  This young lady was upset at them.  She was acting out and complaining about not having them to talk to anymore. Most likely in her immaturity, change doesn’t always make sense, and it feels like an attack against her and her life.

The funny thing is, I can remember feeling that way.  It was a couple of weeks ago.  Things were changing and people were leaving.  It felt like the life that I was very used to suddenly wasn’t the same anymore.  A dear friend moved away, I suddenly was living by myself, people were having ALL THE BABIES, and the school year was shaping up to be VERY different. I was so depressed about it.  Like the kind of depressed that I didn’t want to leave my house for a couple of days.

Fortunately, someone affirmed something in my soul..all of these changes were a loss.  And I needed to grieve over them.  If I just pretended everything was fine, I would stuff down all the sadness and hard emotions and not deal with them.  Un-dealt with things have a tendency to come back later to haunt you, right? So I had to face these losses and start the process of moving on.

In my conversation with this young lady, I told her this.  I told her I was sad too.  I missed my friends and it is hard when people leave.  I knew that she was thinking hard about this because she asked, “When does it get easier?” What do I say, when I myself am not yet quite out of it.

I told her that there isn’t a timeline, but every day it will feel just a little better.

In this situation it gets easier to live life without these people around, but does change ever really get easier.  Probably not. Change will always be a hard thing to deal with, but what I think is that we get better at dealing with it.  We learn to emotionally process the hard things we encounter.  We lean harder on the One who doesn’t ever change.

Promises

We were never promised an easy life.  We were promised an eternal one.  Our world screams at us, that if we work hard enough, we can create an easy life for ourselves.  We start to pursue it and find that it is just an empty promise, just like many of the other promises of this world.

Sometimes I think that God allows change and other hard things to happen in my life because I become complacent.  I become lazy in my pursuit of him.  He wants to remind me that I should be dependent on him more than anything in this world.  He does this to rip away my codependent tendencies I have with the ways of this world.

“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

(Isaiah 41:13)

What a sovereign God that I serve that continues to desire for me depend on him.  He continues to draw me near to him and doesn’t let me get lost in the promises of this world. Which are enticing and seemingly good at times. He doesn’t let me stay there, he shifts something, he stirs up my life to pull me back to him.

I could get mad and angry at him, (I have and probably will again) that he lets hard things happen in my life, but He sees the big picture, he knows what is coming and he knows that more than anything I need to be leaning into him and holding on to the anchor in the midst of the storm of change.

For the better

My trainer told me once that our bodies figure out the most efficient way to move, and sometimes that means we don’t use all our muscles, then the muscles we don’t use get weak and we are prone to injury.  We have to change up what we do when we work out to use all our muscles.

Maybe our hearts and brains are like that.  Change can be good because we figure out the most efficient way to live, we become dependent on people and routines, and don’t actually live to our full potential. We sort of half live, because that is the easiest thing to do.

God knows this, he allows change to happen because he knows our hearts, he knows our weaknesses and wants to challenge us to live our lives to the fullest.

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Friend, perhaps you are staring down a big change that is happening or just happened.  You are struggling to deal, you are wanting to run away and avoid this hard thing.  I know the feeling.  I can’t always claim that I did the best to run to God, but know that the moments I did, it was better.  He sustains and helps.

How do you deal with change?  What do you do when things get hard in life?  What is change that is hard to deal with lately?

 

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6 Truths about Change

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?
photo credit: Tom Gill. via photopin cc
photo credit: AGrinberg via photopin cc