Are you guys sick of me talking about my birthday, yet? I’m a little sick of me talking about my birthday. But, I’ve still been thinking quite a bit about this past year and how much has changed. I’ve already written about how 26 was a full year: Malawi, the Writer’s Barn, Michigan, Chicago, changing jobs, leaving a job entirely, writing, Evan graduating, Ian growing, reGroup…it was a lot. A lot of good. But a lot. I am beginning to imagine that 27 will be a lot like that as well–after all, if nothing else, we’re having another kid–but to be honest, I would like for 27 to involve a little less new and a little more settling in.
I’ve recognized recently that I keep expecting the rate of change to slow down or stop altogether, to give my mind and heart a break from the constant shifting an adjusting. But instead, over the past year I learned that change is not an event or something that happens to us at certain point on a timeline. Change is just the current of our lives; it’s the force that keeps us moving along.
Most of us look at change as a threat. And why not? It’s foreign and jacks up what we know and like. It makes the consistent inconsistent. It typically removes comfort.But change is not a threat. It’s a fact. If we act as if change just happens upon us — surprise! — in a sudden upheaval, we miss its continuing flow and its lessons and the opportunity to keep up with it. Change is a fact of life. Throughout history, we’ve seen shifts in our culture, our communities, the way we think, and the way we express our faith — whether it comes from a revolution, a movement, or a ripple. Change is a reality, and we’re living right in the middle of it.The good news is that God can be found right in the middle of it as well. God does not change, but He uses change to change us. He sends us on journeys that bring us to the end of ourselves. We often feel out of control, yet if we embrace His leading, we may find ourselves on the ride of our lives.
As I think about everything that’s gone on over the past few years, as tumultuous and wonderful and occasionally scary as it all seemed at times, I also know that the change catalyzed all the growth and personal, internal change I’m so grateful for: letting go of perfectionism and fear, embracing freedom, a willingness to be more honest, a readiness to fail. I guess it’s a bit cliche, but it felt like an “ah-ha!” moment: stop resisting and fearing change. Just roll with it, and trust that good will come of it and the settling in will happen somewhere on the other side.
Part of my problem is that I want all of my life to feel settled all at once. I have been waiting for a moment when everything feels still and nothing is shifting. But instead, I keep imagining my self, standing in the middle of a room in which the floor is completely blanketed in balloons. Do they ever, truly stop moving? No, they just keep shifting, slowly, but noticeably. Right now, my marriage feels nice and settled; I think we are in a good place and a good rhythm. But lots of other things–home, community, church, career, creativity–are all shifting (in ways I don’t even understand yet). And I can fight against that feeling–desperately trying to stand still long enough for all the balloons to settle down on the floor, or I can just embrace the movement.