At the beginning of the year, I started going through a daily devotional called, “100 Days to Brave.” The plan was that if I started in January, I would finish by early April, just in time for my 50th birthday. All of the bravery I planned to acquire also was designed to help power me through a church merger, a job change and our son’s high school graduation.
But somewhere around Day 50, the need to actually BE brave overshadowed my commitment to learn about becoming brave. I set down the devotional and walked past it day after day for several months.
This past week, I picked it up again with a newly found determination to create a better morning routine. Without the pressure to get up and get ready for work this summer, my schedule has grown increasingly relaxed, unfocused and basically a perpetual rhythm of not doing anything productive.
I’ve absolutely loved the freedom and spontaneity of this summer. But the past few weeks, I’ve also been ramming into sadness, anger and resentment about how much of my life has changed the past few months.
I picked up that devotional and realized I had just made it to a section with the title: Brave Enough to Face Change — Change Always Comes.
I’ve always thought I was a person who liked change. I like the excitement and adventure of something new. I love new challenges, and I definitely love any opportunity to learn from change. However, I’m realizing that I like change that I choose.
The change I have walked through this year feels like it’s been thrust upon me. I’ve done my best to embrace it and keep a positive attitude. But recently, I’ve had some dark moments.
I know with 100 percent certainty that it was time for me to step out of my position working at a church. Still, I miss having a job that allowed me to use so many of my gifts in a meaningful and fulfilling way. I miss working with people who I enjoyed being around. I miss being part of a team and contributing to a vision bigger than my own. I even miss getting up and picking out a cute outfit to wear in the morning! 🙂
College send-off day hasn’t even arrived yet, but I already miss having all four of my kids living at home. In fact, I miss past summers of meeting friends at the park and spending long afternoons at the pool. I miss socializing with other moms during play dates. This stage of parenting can be incredibly isolating and lonely. I miss the way things used to be.
As I read through my devotional, I was encouraged by the reminder that change always happens. It’s not a surprise. It’s not like I should be so shocked that it happened. It’s expected!
The one thing that will never change is God. I love this verse from James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”…. The Message translation says this: “There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle.” Man, I think we’ve all had our share of people who are deceitful, two-faced and fickle. I love the promise that God is none of those!
When I’ve talked to people this summer about my struggle with all that has changed or is changing, they often ask me how I’m handling it. I try to explain that I’m just trying to allow myself to experience what I’m feeling. I’m not trying to pretend that everything is OK. I’m trying not to fill the void with something else. I’m just trying to be patient and trust God to walk beside me, even when I don’t love all that’s happening.
I’ve realized I’ve made it through a few stages of dealing with change. I’ve cried about it. I’ve been mad about it. I’ve allowed myself to feel the pain of it. What’s next?
One line from my devotional yesterday really stuck out.
“Brave people are willing to let go of everything as they hold tight to God, even when things start to change.”
This morning, I wrote down a list of all of the changes that I’m struggling through this year. It felt like I was somehow releasing them just to take my pen and write the words.
I’m working on the part about “holding tight to God.” My gut instinct is to search for a friend or a project to make me feel better. I know those things are only temporary.
I’m not going to pretend I’ve reached the point of “letting go of everything,” that’s for sure. I would say it’s been more of a slow, finger-by-finger release. But I have hope that I will eventually get there.
Maybe that will be Day 100?
Just in time for something else to change.