On Change and Control
I don't always do so well with change. Okay, that might be just a little bit of an understatement. ;)
I have a reputation among my family and closest friends of handling change very poorly. They'd be quick to offer up little stories to back up that claim, but I'll spare you the anecdotes here.
I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who struggles with this. It's not our responsibility to smooth everything out and guard ourselves against every possible challenge in life. But that doesn't stop us from trying!
CHANGES WE CHOOSE
I can handle change when I initiate it. When I chose to cut my hair and donate it, I was cool as a cucumber. It was my decision. I had prepared for it. I made the plans months out and had more than enough time to wrap my head around it and let it sink in even before it became reality. I realize it's a small change, but it was a big deal for me to be completely comfortable with it.
Last year, my sister and I bought a townhouse. That was one of the craziest, busiest, most stressful things I've probably ever done, but the change didn't phase me because it was our decision. We knew we wanted to move out of our apartment, and that was our chance. I had time to pack. I had time to dream about life in a new place. I had time to process leaving the old place. I had a plan. I was ready.
But we don't always get the luxury of making all the changes in our lives on our own or get to control their timing.
CHANGES WE DON'T CHOOSE
"Change is a sign of life." says author Myquillyn Smith, and I think that's a beautiful way of reminding us that things are always changing around us, and that's a good thing because it means we're still alive, that we're not stagnant or still, but vibrant and thriving.
But when things change without my consent, that's hard.
I like to control things. I like things to be predictable. I like making plans and keeping them. I like it when things go smoothly, according to plan, and in a logical progression.
When things appear seemingly out of left field, it rubs me the wrong way, to say in the least.
Sometimes even when the initial change was something I orchestrated, unforeseen consequences throw me off guard just as much as if I hadn't asked for it in the first place.
I chose to graduate from college early because I came in with credits from high school and it seemed like the most pragmatic choice, especially from a financial point of view. But doing so required leaving all my friends and my rock-solid community to move home to a place that didn't feel like home anymore. Though the decision to leave was mine, the effects were still out of my control.
I have a hard time letting go of my planned-out route. I sometimes try to fit surprises that come up into my previous plans anyway, but it's usually like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
My stubbornness rarely pays off. Instead I find myself fighting to go right when God's pulling me to the left, and I end up slowing my forward movement, my contentment, and my sanity by striving to hold to my original plan instead of listening when God calls me to make a last-minute change.
After graduating, I fought so very hard to try to find a full-time job right out of school because I thought that was the only right way to do it. I worked so hard to find something, but nothing panned out. I just couldn't make it work on my own. And I wasted so much time being stubborn and frustrated about the whole thing that I didn't enjoy life very well in that season. I let the struggle and the fight take over my life, and it only made things harder in the end.
CHOOSING TO GIVE UP CONTROL
But God's in control. I'm not supposed to be. This isn't my world. He knows what's going on and why. He has a reason behind everything He allows.
I was talking to a friend this week about an unexpected family situation of his, and the need for trusting God through it. Sometimes you're confronted with the fact that things are just completely out of our hands.
And I was talking to another entrepreneur a couple weeks ago about needing to trust God through the ups and downs of starting a business, because if it was up to me, none of this would still be here. I would've quit. The only thing keeping me going some days is knowing that this is what God has called me to in this season, and even when I can't see the path ahead, I am called to obedience, and this is what being obedient looks like here and now.
I can either try to control everything in my life and be full of stress, frustration, and disappointment every time things go a different way, or I can choose to hold things with open hands and let God do with them what He will.
I don't know about you, but I think the second option sounds much better and far more joyful and peaceful! So that's what I'm intentionally choosing today-- trust, joy, and peace. What will you choose?
P.S. If you want to talk about finding joy in any season or pursuing purpose in your current circumstances, I'd love to talk to you about it!