Let me be honest; I’m not a fan of change. You see, I celebrate some changes–like new seasons and scenery–I just hate when change penetrates deep enough to affect my “constants.”
We all have things in our lives that we think of as constants; our childhood homes, families, friendships, even our annual vacation spots. We hold these portions of our lives close to our heart because they can often seem unchangeable in world that is constantly changing. However normal this tendency may seem, I am learning that this is no way to really live.
Almost daily I fall prey to the pursuit of preserving my constants, the biggest of those being the place I call home. My life over the past few years has been one of breathtaking adventure, but like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, I soon realized my love for home grew stronger the farther my feet traveled from it. I have grown accustomed to adapting in new cultures, new states, even new countries. More than that, I have grown to love the change. But the undercurrent sustaining the joy traveling brings me is the assurance that life in my hometown will be the same for me to come back to. When my entire life seems up in the air at times, my home and family in Washington have always been a constant.
This has never been so evident until a few weeks ago when my parents decided to re-paint and re-carpet my childhood home. I know this is trivial (and a little mundane), but hear me out. Rooms that had hardly changed since I was six years old were suddenly getting gutted and transformed into something unrecognizable. And of course, I didn’t respond to these changes like a relational human being. I moped, grumbled, and complained (I got the human part down, but the rational part… not so much). How could they rip apart and change our home like this?, I thought, Why are they taking away this constant?
Yet, Jesus didn’t die to guarantee that our constants would never change. He died to flip this world upside down so everything would change.
Sometimes that change means gutting out the gunk in our souls and preparing the rooms in our heart for a fresh coat of paint; for transformation. But just as a gardener must tear up level ground to plant a garden and architects must dig deep and messy pits to build a palace, Jesus too must sometimes take us through uncomfortable changes to bring restoration to our lives.
In retrospect, the emotional turmoil I experienced about my childhood home getting a “facelift” was just a cover for something deeper. I think that change struck such a deep cord in me because it reminded me, and even symbolized, what a huge season of transition comes with being a 20-something, graduated, single young woman. This is a season of life where change is essentially inescapable.
When life changes around me, my knee-jerk reaction is to hold the constants in my life in a death grip, trying to deter change. However, by holding on to these parts of my life so tightly I offer God no room to give or take on His terms. If I live my life with a closed hand, one day I’ll open up that hand and realize that all I’m holding is dust.
Even knowing this, some days I still grit my teeth and dig in my heels at the thought of changing my constants, while other days I actually feel confident and excited to walk towards change. And you know what? Both feelings are valid. To put it simply..
Transition is a scary-beautiful and necessary part of life.
Considering our natural hesitation to seasons of transition, I can see why God may have made Autumn the way He did. Change seems so daunting to us, and yet God built it as an integral part of life–it’s so ingrained in the world that even the trees show us how it’s done.
I sit today in a coffee shop, looking out on a street lined with gold, red, and green trees and I am yet again comforted by the beauty God brings through change.
My challenge to you, dear reader, is to EMBRACE CHANGE! Find a way to delight in your season of transition, whenever it comes, knowing that God is doing a good work.
Keep those hands open, palms lifted skyward. Write it on your palms if that is what it takes to remember God’s goodness. Remember to live life with your hands open to whatever God wishes to give or take because though the world around us may change, He never will.
Who knows, this simple act of submitting our lives in trust might radically transform the way God can use our lives—and I’m guessing it’s a radical change for the better.