Lately I have seen so many quotations and catch phrases about change. Like this partial list:
"Things do not change, we change." Heraclitus
"Nothing endures but change." Henry David Thoreau
"Change your thoughts, change your world." Norman Vincent Peale
"Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me." Carol Burnett
"The key to change is to let go of fear." Rosanne Cash
"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world." Joel Barker
"Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better." Sydney Harris
And my favorite:
"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged, to find the ways in which you yourself have altered." Nelson Mandella
Everyone knows about change, experiences change, sometimes hates it, and sometimes loves it. It's this slippery, invisible concept that seems to invade our everyday living.
We change bedding on the bed when we want a new look, we change our hair style or color when the old one gets boring, we change our clothes to match the season, i.e. the snow boots are a staple these days. We also change cars when we’ve had a crash, change doctors when we have physical symptoms that won’t go away, and we change medications or vitamins when they start to seem ineffective. Then there’s the change of resolutions after the New Year, change of diets when the scale reflects that extra 10 pounds and sometimes there’s a change of employment if a job isn’t fulfilling any longer. Harder still is a change in relationships, damaged emotions or the motivation to go one more day.
With each of these changes comes a level of stress and uncertainty of equal proportion. Both of these cause us to embrace, question, resent or reject change. But it's not really change for change sake, change is life itself. If everything stays exactly as it is, no new life would be produced, no days would ever pass, and no seasons would progress to the next season. "A body at rest tends to stay at rest, unless it is acted upon by an external unbalanced force." We have to move. Change happens when there is motion, created from within or when an external force provides the motivation and catalyst. Our response to this perceived change helps determine the outcome.
Over the past few years it seems like my life has been in a constant state of change and fluctuation. Most of it was my choice, but huge portions of it were not. When you decide that things don’t have to be the way they have always been, and be open to the possibility that there can be another reality, then the change you experience will have the greatest outcome, the greater chance of success and the most reward. It’s deciding to be ok with that thought and giving yourself permission to take the next step towards change that helps make a difference. For me, the permission granting can be the most difficult phase of the process. Attached to that is cumbersome thinking about whether or not I deserve it, am I good enough for it, do I really want it, or what will others think. But given the time and space to consider what my inner spirit truly wants and needs, as well as what the implications of the decision might be, the permission emerges and choices can be made. Looking back, it’s really not so difficult.
Somewhere in all the change, however, my soul longed for stability. It’s hard to find in the center of so much change. All of the changes mentioned above I have experienced over the past few years. Most were in 2010. In those stressful times, I’ve longed for stability, even tried to create a space that seemed comfortable and mimicked stability. It worked for a time, but even with that, something was missing. Some days it was a lack of distractions, some days it was a lack of direction, some days it was an absence of spiritual connection. Then there were days where there was too much noise or interference, too much pulling and tugging from outside circumstances, or simply too much of everything. In this longing for stability, the realization came that more change had to happen in order for stability to set in. Then the question has to be asked again, “Am I ready for this, again?”
Stability for me, and for us, is coming in the form of a home in the north woods of New Hampshire. Our apartment has seemed very temporary, even though we have made it a great home for us. God blessed us in May with employment and a place to live when it was starting to look pretty bleak. We’ve had many quests come through, met neighbors and really enjoyed the area, for the most part. But it didn’t feel stable enough. We are ready to plant roots and begin the growth process, again. The story of how this home came to be ours will be in my next writing. But suffice it to say, God was in each and every single detail, it was so unreal. Now that it’s a reality, and tomorrow we move, we just want to shout to the world how awesome God is and how wonderful life is when He guides our plans, directs our moves and orchestrates the change for us. We couldn’t have put together a more amazing set of details and we know that this is God’s gift to us. This change we gladly accept.
I would be crazy to think that this is the last change we need to make. Already, we’ve had discussions that are set in a time and place far past the move, just hoping and praying that God will be present in each of those dreams and aspirations, too. Because just knowing that He will be, makes the possibility for the future easier to explore, the permissions necessary easier to grant and the eventuality of change to not be so daunting. Change is life, life is change. And quoting, “Only I can change my life, no one can do that for me.”