I struggle with change.
I don’t know about you, but it’s always been something that’s bothered me. Sometimes it’s exciting. New people, new opportunities, new places…I do like exploring, and trying and learning new things. But at the end of the day, I want to be able to go back to what I’ve known. The things that I’m used to, things that are comfortable and easy.
But life doesn’t usually work that way. When change happens, particularly big changes, things don’t often go back to the way they were. And God’s still in control, but sometimes those changes aren’t very enjoyable. At a minimum, I find them difficult to get used to.
There are always changes going on around us. In the past couple of years, I think we’ve all dealt with more change than we’re used to. And life is different now than it was back then – for better or for worse. Not only are the things around me different now, but I’m different too. I’ve changed. That’s a surprising thing to realize sometimes.
We know that change is inevitable, whether we want it or not. We may even realize that we’re changing with the times, but often we don’t realize how much we’ve changed until we stop and look back a ways down the road. That’s when we see how different we are.
Hopefully we can look back and notice a positive difference in ourselves. Sometimes not, and we realize that we need to work on that. There’s almost always a mixture of both. But overall, it’s fascinating to be able to see how we’ve changed, developed, and grown as a result of what’s happened in our lives.
Change is always happening, too. There’s not a point that we reach where things suddenly freeze and then stay the same for the lest of our lives. No, I’ve found that I need to come to healthy terms with change, because it’s not going anywhere. Ironically, the fact that things change doesn’t change. At least not this side of Heaven.
There have been some interesting changes for me this past year, as I’m sure there have been for everyone. And August is a reminder of a few of them. For example, today I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a year. That’s been a pretty big change – and blessing! Not that it’s always an easy one, but God’s hand has been so obvious, and it’s an example of a change that I’m very thankful for. I never saw it coming.
This month, I also officially leave my teenage years behind, which I’m ready for. It’s only a number, I realize, but each birthday brings some changes with it – small or large. This year especially means I outgrow or move past some things that have been in my life for years now. Such as a writing community and contest I’ve participated in since I was sixteen. I’m not as sad as I thought I would be; it feels like the right time to move on. But considering that that community is what launched me into writing seriously, it’s still bittersweet.
I hope to keep up with many of the friends I’ve made in that community, and I’m also thankful for what felt like closure this June, when I traveled to their summer conference, and met many of these people in-person for the first time. It may be the only time I see them in real life, but I’m very grateful that I got to be part of those activities and have such good conversations. It was an unexpected blessing that formed many fond memories.
Almost a year ago at this point, I started another job, which I’m also very thankful for, and which has been a blessing in savings and experience. Watching three energetic, adorable kiddos and getting to be there as they grow has been so much fun, and also brought a lot of valuable lessons that will certainly help with my own family some day.
Last August, I began teaching a highschool writing class – my first teaching experience. I overcommitted, and am not teaching again this year for that reason, but I enjoyed that experience as well. It was a blessing in many ways, and though teaching is not my strong suit, the students made it fun. If I had more time to devote to it, I would consider doing it again, as talking about writing is one of my favorite pastimes anyway, haha.
There have also been – and will continue to be – big changes in my writing and publishing journey. Last year, I published my first ‘short’ story (here), and within the next year, plan to publish at least one full-length novel and another short story. Ideally, more than that, but I’m also trying to be overly realistic. I plan to continue blogging, as well as writing articles elsewhere (something I’ve already begun, and have seen growth in).
I have many ideas for novels, and as I’ve focused more on non-fiction for the past year, I want to get back to prioritizing fiction for a while. Dialing my blogging schedule back a little is allowing me to do that, and I believe I’m slowly finding the right balance to keep up with both types of writing. By this time next year, I hope to have reached some exciting milestones, and I’m looking forward to it and nervous. There will continue to be change.
This month, you’ll notice that I’m writing a lot about change, growth, and trusting God through this twisty journey called life. Change is always around us, nearly always affecting us, and never going to stop. So it’s not that change is unique to this month. I’m just thinking about it more due to some events and milestones in August, and wanted to take some time to share my reflections.
Without all the change that I’ve experienced in the past year, I would be missing so many things – so many lessons, relationships, experiences, and blessings. So I’m thankful for it.
In the midst of all the change – whether we’re glad for the changes or not – we do have one unchanging Rock to stand on. Now more than ever, I’m grateful that God is unchanging. He’s always wise, always loving, always compassionate. He always knows what’s best for us, and is always acting according to that knowledge. He’s always listening, always present, and always seeking after us, drawing us closer to Him.
When I’m struggling with change, and wanting to go back to the comfortable way things were, I find comfort in knowing that He’s constant, and still the same as He’s always been. My knowledge of Him, and my relationship with Him, are always changing and growing, but He Himself is the same. I can always count on Him to be the steady presence in the center of everything else.
Even when I’m excited for the change that’s happening, knowing that I have Him at my side no matter what happens enables me to be strong, confident, and brave going forward. We’re very blessed to have a God who will never stop loving, guiding, and caring for us.
As I’m noticing and anticipating all the changes in my own life, I’m also watching the changes in my family’s lives. My younger siblings are growing and moving on with different aspects of their schooling, relationships, jobs, and spiritual journey, and for one thing, it makes me feel old. But it’s also a blessing to get to watch them grow, and I’m thankful that they also have a constant, steady God to count on in their own lives.
There’s no shortage of change in this world. Our lives are never exactly the same from one moment to the next. But one of the biggest truths I’ve been reflecting on lately is the fact that it’s a good thing. Or at least, it can be. Change is how we grow. So as long as we’re growing in the right direction, and learning from our mistakes and the things that happen to us, we shouldn’t be afraid of change. We should be grateful for it.
The God who never changes is going to use that change to accomplish His perfect plans. And that knowledge alone is enough to help me feel peace in the midst of it all. I hope that reminder is an encouragement to you today as well. Don’t be afraid to change. It’s okay.
God’s got us – no matter what happens.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens…
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)