(Out in the open waters, near Valdez, AK)
EVERYONE LOVES TO SING THE SONG “OCEANS” UNTIL THEY ARE ACTUALLY OUT IN THE OPEN UNKNOWN.
THIS IS WHAT’S BEEN TRUE ABOUT THE PAST SEVERAL WEEKS, AS I’VE STEPPED INTO THE OPEN UNKNOWN OF CHANGE. (IF YOU MISSED THAT STORY, READ BACK HERE). THE TRUTH IS, AS IS TRUE OF ALL CHANGE I’VE FACED IN MY LIFE, I LOVE IT AND I HATE IT.
I love the openness and bigness of change. I love the flexibility and the sense of making things new. I love the raw honesty of assessing and re-assessing what matters most, what I most highly value, and what it looks like to return to the fundamentals. For me, the fundamentals look like family dinners where we actually sit down together, travels (trip to Alaska to see my brother and his crew was amazing!) keeping up with the laundry, addressing the never-ending backlog of household management items (it’s always time for someone to visit the doctor, it’s always time for a pet to go to get groomed, it’s always time to clean out the pantry). By God’s good timing, the fundamentals have also included the final touches on my next book, coming out in October, and opportunities to teach and preach, which keep me somehow lifted in spirit and grounded in body all at once.
But I also hate change. I hate the inevitable pain of loss and finality. I hate the torrent of emotion, that feeling of peace and potential one minute, panic and regret the next. I hate the turbulence of overthinking and the niggling sense that I’m forgetting to do something or be something or achieve something. A lot of that has to do with my Enneagram type (that’s a #3, in case you can’t tell), but some of it just has to do with being a plain-old human, one who has to hold on to the greatness of eternity and the fragility of this temporary life.
Maybe you can relate to this season. Maybe you are facing a future you weren’t expecting. Or maybe the future you were expecting keeps on not showing up. Maybe you are straining so hard to the next change to escape the pain you are in, or you are dragging your feet slowly in this season because you wish you could stop time. Some of us are saying goodbye to whole seasons of life, whether moving from single to married, or married to single, or saying goodbye to the freedom of not having children, or saying goodbye to those same children as they leave the nest. One thing is certain, Jesus is always calling us to where our “trust is without borders” It’s the eternity in our hearts that calls us to more. But it’s the humanity in our bones that makes change excruciating. Perhaps that’s also why Jesus reminds us–sometimes gently, sometimes fiercely–that the call to follow him is the call to sacrifice–the call to trust him no matter what. Trusting him comes one day, one hour, one moment at a time. There have been times in these past months where I’ve needed to look in the mirror and tell myself what is true, what my God has told me is true. I find that in his Word, like this:
The Lord is my light and salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
Wait on the Lord, be strong and take heart
and Wait on the Lord.
Today I’m making dinner to drop off to a friend who is battling cancer, a woman who held me up with her love and food when I was struggling with the changes of new motherhood. And tonight I’ll serve dinner to some young friends who are knee-deep in raising kids. I think that honors the full-circle nature of change. Allowing it to come, holding peace with the past, being present in the moment, and flinging ourselves with faith into the great unknown of tomorrow.
So we bravely face the unknown together. And when I feel that turbulence of change, know that I will be praying for you. And when you feel it, pray for me too.