About the Author:
Whether you’re ready for it or not, Life just does what it does – change, evolve, keep moving…until it becomes it’s complete opposite.
In between those times, so many of us struggle with and against change. Myself included. It seems as if I struggled hardest when life wasn’t all that kind to me. But I was struggling to keep things the same. My philosophy then was “The devil that you DO know is better than the devil that you DON’T know”. Wisdom and living has taught me that, either way, it’s still the devil.
I think we struggle against change because we have no guarantee about what’s on the other side – is it going to be better, the same or worse?
I’ve learned over the years that, for myself, it’s probably best that I don’t always know what change is bringing. If I knew things were going to be worse, I wouldn’t choose the change. If I knew things were going to get better, I’d worry about how long “better” would last or if somebody made a mistake in assigning “better” to me and would come to reclaim it later. If I knew things were going to stay the same, I’d fret about that because I had no guarantee and because I knew I’d become bored. Having come to this realization, I decided to move in the direction of the change, to flow with it – not against it. To conserve my energy for adapting to the change while holding my core values intact rather than struggling against what was going to happen anyway. To exercise my faith each and every day knowing that if God brings me to it, He will most certainly bring me through it.
Expect change. It’s part of life. It happens. Nothing stays the same. Change can be a tremendous growth opportunity if you stop struggling against it. I had to accept the fact that I couldn’t control change – not the fact that it existed, not when it showed up, and certainly not how it showed up. I simply had to be cordial to it, make friends with it, find my peace while it swirled around me, and learn how to live the truth of who I am in the midst of it. Trust. Believe. Surrender. Move.
For years, I was the person who had to have day mapped out, every day of her vacation, etc. Not in terms of minute details but certainly at a high-level, I needed to know what was what. I wasn’t much on surprises. But, as much as we like to live with the illusion that we’re in control, we aren’t. I had to learn to relax into the mystery of change, into the mystery of life, into the mystery of His Will and trust that His Will would never take me where His grace couldn’t find me. Faith in action.
Relax. If you’re in a relaxed frame of mind, you’ll be able to see your blessings more easily and quickly as change comes. You’ll have your wits about you so that you can adapt, get the lay of the land. Be kind to yourself, be gentle, be patient…be at peace as much as you can.
Listen for what change is telling you. There is a message in the midst of all that movement. Whether it’s insight from the past, clarity about the present, or guidance about your future. There’s a blessing in the midst of change. Be still. Calm your spirit, your mind AND your mouth.
Most importantly, be alive, alert, awake. Don’t sleep through your life. Unless you’re a bear, hibernation is NOT the look. ENGAGE. You don’t have to be in the thick of things – sit quietly, sort it out but don’t hide. Watch for the clues. Make no judgments. Don’t declare things not to your liking. Move into the change with ease and see how it feels. Ask yourself powerful questions:
1. Can I stop this change? Even if I could, should I? How would remaining as is serve me?
2. Am I prepared for this change? CAN I prepare for it? How?
3. Is this change a sign that I need to do something? (Seek a new job, go back to school, start my own company, end a relationship, relocate, etc.)
4. How can I make this change work for me?
5. Have I missed any important clues or signs?
6. How can I maintain my peace of mind as I move through this?
I also had to learn to be mindful of what I question or how long I question it. I had to make peace with moving forward without knowing all the who’s, what’s, when’s, whys and how’s. Sometimes I’m not meant to know. So what do I do? Surrender to that. Go with it. Flow with it. Conserve my energy – mental, physical, spiritual – for what lies ahead.
Don’t struggle with change – not through it, not against it. Struggle is a choice – remember that it’s not your only option. Change might look and feel “bad” (newsflash: most of the time it’s not “bad” you’re feeling, just “different”) when it approaches but your response to it determines how it looks as it leaves. You have choices. Remember that.
As a friend once said to me, “Hide your pain, hold your peace, and heighten your praise”. That should be all the seat belt you need to move through ANY change in your life.
Copyright 2007 – Jackie Young