Over the past few years since my husband lost his former job, and both of us took turns starting our own businesses (not an incredibly brilliant idea during a recession!), we’ve been riding the wave: new schedules, responsibilities, finances… and helping our kids navigate the shift too.
It’s unsettled us all. But then, that’s change, isn’t it? It’s like getting thrown into a blender.
What if that unsettling could be more like the shaking of a snow globe – letting loose beauty and wonder – and less like life in a MixMaster? What if it could actually become a friend instead of a foe? Here are a few ways it just might:
Respond instead of react. Whether it’s expected or unanticipated, something we see as positive or negative, change brings stress. Physiological stress in the not-yet-comfortable nature of the new. Emotional stress of managing the emotions that come with change. Mental stress due to the energy fueling heightened awareness in a new situation or relationship.
Knowing this doesn’t make it easier, but does make it less of a surprise, so we can respond intentionally instead of reacting defensively when change happens.
Look for the gifts. Every change brings a gift, an opportunity. It might take a while to locate the gift if it’s a change you didn’t choose. One friend of mine gets really intentional about this aspect and actually makes it like a treasure hunt, actively searching for the good in new situations, communities and relationships.* Ann Voskamp masterfully addressed this shift in perspective in her book One Thousand Gifts – a book I highly recommend if life seems low on good things right now.
Honor the past. It’s hard to celebrate what we’ve had when what we’ve got now seems like a dud. But celebrate we must. Here’s why: remembering the before reminds us of our whole story – the one where God, through time, even in the dips and setbacks, shows His love and glory. If we take the time to look back – through what we miss and what we’re glad to leave behind, we see life there. It shines from the good memories. It may be quietly hiding in the harder ones, but it’s there. Choosing to celebrate it all brings continuity and a sense of God’s presence that we can’t afford to miss in life’s shifting.
Believe God. Nine years ago, after 3 years of infertility treatments, we began the adoption process. While I waited to hear from the adoption agency, I lead a group through Beth Moore’s Believing God study. The whole idea is to not just believe IN God, but to BELIEVE HIM. Through the weeks of studying many passages of faith in practice through the Bible, I realized: believing God didn’t mean trusting life would work out. It meant trusting He would work through it. That He’d be there every step of the way. It became less about the situations and more about knowing God in them.
As these shifts began to happen in me, change just couldn’t be as scary. Because nothing would ever be able to change His love or His presence in my life, no matter how much anything else around me changed for better or worse.
Change is tough and ever present. Seasons are changing. We are changing. The very surface of our planet is shifting as you sit reading this now. Life is change.
And it doesn’t have to throw us into chaos.
In God’s hands, change – the unsettling – can indeed be beautiful, wondrous. Join me in choosing that today?
* Join my friend, Alycia Morales, our guest tomorrow on Moms Together! She’s spending the day with us to discuss packing and relocating with kids: how to make the changes joyful for everyone in the family. Come join us Tuesday April 3!