John Maxwell says, “Change is inevitable. Growth is Optional.”
So far, the past three years has brought about a lot of change in my life, and hopefully a lot of growth too. I wouldn’t say that I like or dislike change, it is what it is. However, sometimes too much can feel a tad overwhelming if you don’t have the right people standing by you.
I was at the hospital this afternoon to visit one of our church members who recently had surgery when I bumped into an acquaintance from long ago. We chatted for a few minutes asking all the “socially acceptable” questions. How are? What’s new? He went on to talk about all the change that has happened in his family’s life so far this year.
At the time I didn’t really think much about, until I started to think about change.
Change – to some, causes fear, to some it’s pure joy and excitement – to others, it just is what it is.
If our family had to have a word to describe the season we are in – CHANGE would be that word.
Our family has been through A LOT of major changes over the last 3-4 years, but for this list, I am only going back a little over a year. (You can thank me now)
I promise to not bore you with all the mundane details of our lives but here’s a short list:
- My husband and I took on second jobs – We became Senior Pastors of a church.
- All the while keeping our original jobs.
- My husband switched roles at his primary job.
- We MOVED!
- Which entailed getting our house of 17 years packed up, fixed up, all pretty, and sold.
- Then, we moved into our new house and began to unpack – which I am still dealing with almost a year later. Not to mention all the projects of things to do and change in the new place.
- Several of my best friends moved far, far away.
- Oldest child graduated college, got a job in his field, and moved away.
- Youngest child graduated with her AA.
- Mystery Health issues, prompting change in our physical activity and eating.
- I started to blog.
- Which meant new redesign website
- Writing Consistently
- Learning how to use new technology
- Learning to use a camera
- I finished the book I’ve been writing for 5 years.
I’ve heard people say some of the most stressful life situations, and even the hardest things on people’s marriage relationships are: A move, a new job, health issues, and loss of people close to you. Well, I guess we have those categories covered, and then some. I would like to say that I haven’t been stressed or overwhelmed in the midst of all this change, but the truth is, I have been, just ask my family. However, I feel like I am finally coming up to the surface and getting air. I don’t share all of this with you to get a pat on the back. I share this with you to hopefully encourage you and give you hope in the midst of whatever your “change” looks like. Change is inevitable, how we choose to deal with it is up to us.
Here are the top 5 things I have learned so far on this journey through change.
1. Spend Time with God – it’s a necessity!
Take the necessary time to be in the Word. Pray. Listen. Journal. In the midst of all the chaos, and all the change, the one constant is Jesus. There were many days when I would reason with myself that I didn’t have time to sit and read my Bible or Journal. I would justify it with having conversations with God and praying throughout the day, and telling myself I would do it later. I would “fit” it in later. However, later often didn’t come. In those times, I would often fall asleep, and wake up in the middle of the night, with this phrase in my mind: “Lead me to the Rock!”
“Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2)
There is nothing that can take the place of Jesus. He brings refreshing in the midst of everything. He gives perspective like no one else can. On days when I don’t seem to make the time for Him, I find it hard to get things accomplished. Yet, on the days I do take the time to spend with Him, somehow the hours in my day are longer and I am able to get way more accomplished.
- Spend time with those who are important to you.
My husband and I are so busy with all the new added responsibilities and that probably won’t change. However, what can change is how we prioritize and make time for each other in the midst of the busy. We often would only see each other in the morning before heading out the door and the evening just before bed. We made a choice to be purposeful about spending time with each other. I sacrifice my sleep in the morning and go workout with him. He sacrifices some of his sleep in the evening and spends time with me.
I schedule time to talk on the phone with my son to catch up on all that is going on in his life. I spend time with my daughter doing little things, like finding a common TV show to watch together, or going shopping with her.
I make time for my girlfriends and I am intentional about building and cultivating those relationships.
Spend time with your family and friends. Make memories, be there for the important milestones in each others lives. When times are tough, they will rally around you and be there to support you when you need it.
3. Take a little Time for yourself – it’s OK!
Even if it’s only 5 minutes. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom. Even if you have to turn your phone off. Take time for yourself. Do something for you. Take a walk, read a book, join a Bible study, go to the movies, call a friend. Whatever it is that will fill you up, refresh you, and will give you some joy. I promise, it’s not selfish to care for yourself. In fact if you don’t take care of you, how can you take care of others? I speak from experience on this one as a recovering people pleaser. I often sacrificed my time for the needs of others.
You may be in a season in life where the only moments for yourself are when your head hits the pillow at night, that’s ok – this season is only just that – a season. Take your 5 minutes before you end the day or before your feet hit the ground running.
There are things we all have to do, but we can prioritize in which and what order they get done. When I read Keep your Love On, by Danny Silk, it opened my eyes. Yes, I would have said I had boundaries, and priorities, but it wasn’t necessarily the truth. I am still learning that not everyone has the same access to me that my family has. I have learned I don’t always have to answer the phone at that moment, I can call the person back. I can schedule time to write, and not feel guilty about saying no to other things that come along at that time. Knowing what my priorities are has been incredibly freeing.
- Remember you can’t control everything!
Maybe this should have been #2 on the list, but it is important to remember, that we can’t control everything. Nope, trust me I have tried. I’ve tried to control my husband, my kids, my schedule, the dog, and the list goes on. The only thing I can control is me and my reaction and attitude to what comes my way. When the dog decides to go to the bathroom right under the chair of your guest and they step in it – (yep, really happened – but in all fairness to the dog we were outside). I can’t control the dog, but I can control how I handle it. When my kids are picked on at school, or work, I can’t always control their environment, I can only control my reaction to it and give them the tools to deal with it.
We must learn to Trust God with it all!
There are way more lessons I have learned along the way, and I know there are many that I still have to learn. Yet, through it all, I feel as if I have grown in many areas of my life for the better.
What lessons have you learned in the midst of the change in your life?
Feel free to comment and share something that has helped you in the midst of change.
You also might want to check out my latest Book Review Monday – Empire’s End plus you can enter the giveaway to win a free copy of Empires End by Jerry B Jenkins
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