Week 3 | JOY in Change

In living in Mobile, the transition to fall seems like it happens much later in the year than it does in other places, if it even happens at all (I’m pretty sure one Christmas all of the trees still had green leaves on them). But the time has finally come in the year that I am surrounded by vibrant colors. Deep reds, rich oranges, golden yellows. All of the colors that make my heart sing! There is a crisp air that chills my neck and a breeze that causes the leaves to fall off the trees, swirling and rustling around me.

This is my absolute favorite time of the year, like I’m sure is many others favorite time. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer and the adventures that it brings, but there is just something about fall. It could be that it holds the holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving, or that this is the time for pumpkin carving, bonfires, and s’mores, or that it is the time for good ole’ college football, or that it is filled with cozy sweaters, scarves, and red noses. And while I do love all of those things, I think the thing that I like most about fall is that the air feels clean. The summer humidity is slowly fading away, and with that comes a fresh, crisp air that fills my whole lungs.

So with the transition to fall, the changing of seasons, I thought why not talk about the joy in change?

Because unlike most of us who cheer for fall’s arrival, we panic when change happens in our lives. Especially when it is the unexpected kind.

We run away from change because we don’t want to be uncomfortable. I mean, of course we don’t want to be uncomfortable. We live in a society where you plan your entire future when you are 18, we have fast food restaurants everywhere we go, we now even have a hands-free Segway thing so that what, we don’t have to walk 200 yards to class? Face it. We may complain sometimes about a monotonous schedule, but deep down, we want the security of consistency and/or comfort.

This is why change hits us in the face like Miley Cyrus on her wrecking ball. It’s why we run away from change like Indiana Jones ran away from the rolling boulder. It’s why we try and avoid it like we do the kiosk salespeople in the mall (or maybe that’s just me, I don’t know).

But we don’t have to let change consume us because we will have the most constant entity with us always, and that is Jesus. We don’t and won’t know his entire plan for us. Sometimes we have to take a few steps into the dark. Sometimes we have to be uncertain about the future. But all we have to do is listen closely, and we will hear the soft whisper telling us, “Don’t worry. I’ve got you. Just trust me.”

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’
— Psalm 91:1 & 2

This thing change…it’s something that I have had to come quite acquainted with over the past month. I quit running track and cross country, and then in the same weekend, Gavin told me that he got a cooping job in Savannah and that next semester he would be eight hours away from me instead of three.

Change, like it often does, began to overwhelm me. All I could think about was this is changing, that is changing, what am I going to do, nothing is going to be the same. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I felt like everything was moving so fast. And while I was freaking out and forgetting to breathe because I overthink everything, I assume that was God was sitting there chuckling, and saying “My dear child, take a deep breath. It is all going to be okay. You just got to trust me.”

But I didn’t have time to listen for those comforting words because I barely had enough time to fit in all of my stressing out! One morning though, I finally sat down and as I was doing my devotional, I kept praying over and over, “God, please just grant me peace.” And after that, I just listened. It was silent, but that was okay because God doesn’t always have to actually say something for us to get his message. In this silence though, I felt calm. For the first time in a week, my head didn’t feel bombarded with thoughts.

God reminded me in this silence that change isn’t easy and it never will be. But just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean we should run away from it. It simply means that change is going to happen regardless, just like the changing of the seasons, so we may as well embrace it. 

God never said that he wouldn’t give us more than we can handle. Sometimes it is going to be more than we could possibly imagine, but God isn’t asking us to handle it on our own. He is asking us to turn to him, run to him, cling to him, and let him guide us through it. We have to take change day by day, taking small blind steps with God guiding us the whole way. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
— Isaiah 43:2

If we fall, He will pick us back up. If we stray, He will guide us back to the path. Change isn’t that bad when we realize that we don’t have to do it on our own. We can cling to the mighty fortress that is our Heavenly Father. We can begin to see the beauty and joy that change holds. It holds a chance for us to learn, a chance for us to grow, a chance for us to see, a chance for us to grow closer to Christ. 

I will be the first to admit that I am bad about overthinking, about worrying when I probably shouldn't, but change is scary, unknown is scary. God’s love and promise, though, is comforting. Just as fall comes and goes, so do the different seasons in our lives, but in the midst of inevitable change, it is important to remember to hold on tight to that comfort and peace.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
— Romans 15:13