Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
(Isaiah 43: 18-19, NRSV)
Since the dawn of creation, beginning with Adam and Eve, people have hated change. Perhaps the opening of our eyes with the original sin has caused us to fear change, sometimes more than anything else. No change could ever be greater than going from living a life in perfect harmony with our heavenly father, to living a life of darkness and pain cast away from him.
I think that to many of us change means we are relinquishing our control over a situation or thing, possibly leaving our dreams and ambitions hanging in the balance, unable to help influence what will come next. Above all else we seek to be in control; in control of our finances, in control of our health, in control of our emotions, in control of our destinies. It takes a great deal of trust before we are willing to allow others to even get a glimpse into these areas of our lives, let alone give them the power to make decisions on those things for us.
Along with losing control, we fear the unknown that comes with change. We are happiest when the road before us is stretching out in a flat, straight line so that we can see ahead of us for miles into the distance and can clearly see what is coming at us. Of course the weather as we are traveling on that road with perfect visibility is pleasant and full of good light and sunshine. What lies around the sudden bend we come upon makes us hesitate, possibly even put the brakes on and come to a complete stop, unwilling to drive around that bend. We fear what is to come because we can’t see what is waiting on the other side of the bend and have no idea how we will need to react to it.
Sometimes we continue on in the same patterns, living our lives as we always have, because it is just more comfortable and familiar. It is the reason we hang onto favorite shirts or pairs of jeans that have long since faded and started to fray. We are willing to still wear these garments, despite the weaker material and holes that are coming through, because we are creatures of habit and we like the way they fit us. We hesitate to get rid of these items for fear that we will never have it this comfortable again. So we live with the holes, content to not wonder about what we are missing if we were to slip into something new.
For the past several months I have struggled, knowing that I need to make some changes in my schedule that will free me up to more fully pursue my writings. The only way this is going to happen is if I step away from something else but I have been unwilling to let anything go. It isn’t an option to stop going to my regular job, as Max likes having a roof over his head and food on the table, and for some reason he thinks that food should appear on the table several times a day every single day! So the areas in my life that I need to make changes in will have to come from my hours after work, a lot of which have been taken up with church commitments the past four years or so.
It finally hit me why I am so reluctant to let any of these things go. It is not because I don’t trust in God to show me the way to go on a new path, not because I am afraid of the unknown, not because it is more comfortable to stay put, but because I don’t won’t to let go of the tasks that have memories of people attached to them. I have worked with some gifted and talented people who have mentored me along my way. Through their mentoring I have learned a lot about myself, developed a deeper relationship with God, and learned the pure joy that it is to help lead God’s children into worship. In a way, I have been very reluctant to give up pieces of the ministries that I have helped with over the last few years because hanging onto them helped me hang onto the good memories of friendships made while I served.
So having realized what was tripping me up, I once more prayed for guidance on what to let go and what to take on. Knowing what my hang ups and reluctance were coming from it made it a whole lot easier to hear the answers coming from my ever-present cheerleader above. Decisions have finally been made and time to write is on my horizon! With each new step I take I am feeling his calming presence, and my soul is filled with peace. People will come and go in this life, but there is One who will be by my side every step of the way.
And he will hold my hand and continue to guide me, one change at a time.
The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17, NRSV)