What do you do when your world turns upside down?
I’ve always considered myself to be a person who can roll with the punches pretty well. I inherited much of my dad’s personality, the easy going, level headed kind of personality that makes it easier to accept difficulties and move past them. I’m thankful for that. But even then, change can still be hard for me.
I’ve also always considered myself to be the sort of person who doesn’t need a lot of comfort to be content. I’m perfectly fine with not having a lot of modern conveniences. I try to live a life that doesn’t keep me too comfortable in any sense of the word, although I’ll readily admit that my level of comfort has increased dramatically in the last four months since I know for sure that I have enough money to buy groceries. And that’s something I hope I never cease being thankful for.
But there’s been something that’s been on my mind for many months now. It’s something that concerns me. And I think getting this new job has a lot to do with it.
I also know that I’m the sort of person who feels God’s presence in my life the most clearly when I’m struggling through difficult times. It’s in the bountiful times that I struggle to keep close to Him. And I’m afraid that I’m getting too comfortable now.
Maybe it’s just me but there are times when I can almost tangibly perceive that events in my life are balanced on the edge of a cliff; maybe it’s just me worrying or maybe it’s just that I have an overactive imagination. But when things in my life go so well for so long I start wondering when the floor is going to disappear from under my feet.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m so very thankful when life is good. I wake up in the morning (it’s actually daylight when I leave my house now; talk about a blessing) and I drink my coffee on the way into work and I praise and thank God over and over for what He’s done for me. I go to church every week and I thank God over and over again for the amazing place that NewSpring is. I hang out with my friends and my family and I thank God over and over again for the awesome people God’s put in my life.
But beneath my thankfulness, I always try to be ready to give it all up. Does that make sense? Is it even possible to be thankful but willing to leave everything behind? Or is that the essence of learning to live and be content no matter what state or stage of life I’m in?
I said before that change is still hard for me.
In high school, it seemed like life changed daily. I never knew what was going to be different from one day to the next. (Bro. Poore, I think that’s your doing. =D) And I learned how to step outside my comfort zone. I learned that being comfortable isn’t really something that I should strive for. Be thankful for—yes—but not to make it a goal to achieve. And I don’t think I have. I don’t really want to be comfortable.
Being comfortable means you’re perfectly happy to stop trying. Being comfortable means that you’re perfectly content to stay on a plateau and never strive for something bigger. Being comfortable, to me, means that I could produce a manuscript and be happy that it’s not the best it could be. Who wants to live like that? Who wants to accept the implications of living a life that doesn’t strive for excellence? That’s the kind of life I want to present to God—a life that never stopped trying to be the best it could be for His glory—not a life that stopped short of what it could have accomplished through His power.
It’s one of those things that I believe but I don’t know what it looks like. And I’m not sure how to live it. Do I pick up everything I have and leave? Do I give everything away and chase after dreams? Or do I do what I always do—stay put? I always end up staying put while everyone else around me moves on. But is that wrong? I don’t think so. But I don’t really know.
I really don’t know where any of this came from. I just know that things are getting ready to change. I know a huge part of my life is getting ready to turn upside down, especially when my last bunch of kids leaves for college. I mean, there are a couple of teens still in ClayHouse who I worked with—but this batch that graduated this year are made up of the ones I worked the closest with—and when they leave for college, that’s it. Major turning point for me.
Is it possible to have empty nest syndrome when you have no children?
I don’t know if this is stemming from “my kids” all going to college or from friends getting married or from other friends getting ready to leave town, I just feel like life is going to change. I feel like I’ve gotten too comfortable in spite of my best efforts to avoid it. And I feel like God is going to have to shake me up. I’m excited about that, honestly. I mean, part of me is scared to death. But the rest of me is excited. Because God always knows what He’s doing and no matter what happens, He’ll always bring about a change and a result that’s better than anything I could have designed.
Change is hard for me. And I don’t know when I started getting comfortable, but, God help me to get uncomfortable—or to at least be ready to be uncomfortable. Give me strength to accept whatever change you bring my way, especially the giant change approaching in mid-August (Brookie, dear, I’m going to miss you so much). Help me to remember that change is good, that change is inevitable—a part of growing up—and that there are no surprises for God . . . and that He’s the only One who never changes at all.