Monday, July 4, 2011

{ Change }

I've realized, the past few weeks, that I have exactly two responses to proposed changes in my life. If I'm unsure of the transition {or afraid, or feel it will affect me negatively, etc.}, my responses are entirely negative. On the other hand, if it's a change that I want, that was my idea, or that looks like it will benefit me, I'll try to move heaven and earth to bring it about.

All this is based purely on my perspective. My perspective, which is so very limited. So self-serving, comfort-seeking, sinful.

Life is not static. It is fraught with transitions, turnover, the new and the different and the unknown. Until I was confronted with changes--significant, way out of my control ones--again and again and again over the past few months, I gave little thought to how pervasive change is. I'm a creature of habit, happiest and most comfortable when I'm cozy in my rut. In itself, I don't think this particular bent of personality is wrong; that's the way Jesus created me, and He calls me His beloved child. But it can be taken too far. I am realizing that when things are in flux, I cling to sameness, rather than Jesus, for security. So when the road veers unexpectedly and I have to face something I didn't want or anticipate, I gripe and whine and give full reign to selfish responses. And when the road veers unexpectedly but I like it, I again give full reign to selfish responses....but this time they look more palatable because they're clothed in happy garb.

This sucks.

I want my responses to come from Jesus, from Him living in my heart and changing and transforming me every day, so that I see the world through His eyes, not mine. I don't know what exactly has prompted this shift, but I see now, in a way that I never have before, that change is life. To stop moving is to die. To avoid it, run away from it, fight it; to grumble and moan and be miserable about it--that becomes my life, because life is change. Life is one new thing right after another: Growth, metamorphosis, progress, breaking, healing. This is at once the glory and the heartbreak of life on earth.

And I have fought it tooth and nail for 28 years. Lord, I am sorry.

The juxtaposition is ironic. At work, I've dreaded the move to a new hospital tower for months. It has brought all kinds of changes that have made work harder, mainly because of increased time to get places {that tower is HUGE}, increased patient volumes, and learning to navigate a new building. What has jarred me, over and over in the weeks since the move, are the good things that have come about: bigger rooms mean it's easier to get our machines in and out. There are more chairs and pillows and linen carts, and they're all vastly easier to find. Breathtaking vistas from huge windows on every floor. Some things are harder, true, but I've been shocked time and again by the unexpected good. And I wonder: How many other good things have I missed because I expected only bad?

On the other hand, I'm so impatient for the Lord to orchestrate change that I want. For us to be able to transition to a single-income household. For Mike to be able to work reasonable hours and have down time. I don't consider that they might bring with them difficult or uncomfortable corollaries. Mike pointed this out last week as we were discussing what needs to happen before I can "retire" from my job. "I'm afraid that you're going to stop working, realize that being a stay-at-home wife doesn't solve all your problems, and then feel as stuck here as you do right now at work," he said. Though we're both confident that this is the direction the Lord is leading us, Mike's observation is very sobering and convicting. I know he's right. I think that if XYZ will just happen, then I'll be happy.

What if happiness isn't dependent on circumstances, but on my relationship with Jesus?

What if I choose to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" {1 Thess. 5:18}?

What if I choose to "rejoice in the Lord always" {Phil. 4:4}, rather than rejoicing when I get my way?

If I make these choices, "change" no longer dictates my emotions and outlook, because my identity is in Christ and I choose to rejoice in the Lord always and give thanks in all circumstances, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Regardless of whether or not this bend in the road is giving me warm fuzzies. This is what I'm chewing on today. This is my prayer.


  1. Really + truly love to see the ways God is so deeply and beautifully growing you dear friend. It's convicting and encouraging to me, all at the same time.xo

  2. Wow Nikki - you have articulated these ideas and feelings so well. I can totally relate, especially with the selfish resopnses to change! Sometimes out of change (that we feel is negative) God has some neat surprises for us, and all the better for us when our hearts are open to it through thankfulness for wherever He has placed us, and for however long that may be. Blessings on you and praying for that deep-seated thankfulness and contentment in all circumstances on your journey with Him! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing the steps of your journey with us! I am excited to see what God has for you and Mike.