Even if life turns upside-down

Ever been in one of those seasons in life where nothing feels stable? It’s like you’re trying to walk along the beach as the tide is rolling out, taking all the sand with it from under your feet. You aren’t sure where to stand because no ground is solid enough to support your weight. It’s an awkward dance, roaming the beach while the sand slides out from under you.

Welcome to my life

That’s sort of where life is for me right now. And it’s not just me. I know several people who are in similar predicaments. Life has thrown a curve ball they never expected. The job didn’t end up being a good fit. The job opportunity fell flat. People have passed away. New children have been born. New friendships are beginning, and some friendships are falling apart. New stories are starting, and others are ending.

Just about everyone I know is facing major transitions in their lives, and as I sit here this morning trying to knock out several thousand words on a novel, I’m tempted to despair. So much hurt and pain is happening right now. So many people are struggling with friendships and relationships and jobs and finances. People are scared and uncertain and feeling scattered. And I want to fix it. But I can’t. I can’t even fix my own problems. And some days it’s enough to make me want to give up.

I’m doing it wrong

That’s when I remember I’m doing this all wrong. In those moments I have to step back and remind myself who exactly is in charge here. It’s not me. And it’s not you either. None of us have the power to change much of anything in our lives, not without help. When we get to these points in life (and all of us do), we have to hold on to something. And the only anchor worth holding onto is God.

God doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). He’s the same today as He was 10,000 years ago. He’ll be the same 10,000 years from now. Not like us. We change all the time, finding new and improved ways to identify ourselves or uncover value in ourselves. And because God doesn’t change, we can trust that He’ll always keep His promises (Numbers 23:19).

It’s okay to feel hurt

instagram upside-downSo life hasn’t turned out the way you thought it would. Join the club. Peoples’ lives rarely work out the way we expect them to. That’s not a reason to give up or stop believing that God can do something miraculous. That’s when God does His best work.

Maybe something you thought was certain fell apart, and you’re hurting. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to not be okay. Nobody is okay, not really. As long as the world is broken and people are broken, “okay” is just a word we say to cover up what we’re actually feeling inside. But just because we’re not okay doesn’t mean God isn’t able. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

It doesn’t always help to remember that God’s got everything under control. Sometimes you’re just so hurt and so frightened and so unsure that you just need to feel sad, and I get that. And that’s okay too. But don’t make the mistake of thinking God doesn’t hear you, because He does. And don’t confuse His patience or His perfect timing for tardiness (2 Peter 3:9).

Nothing in life stays the same. Everything changes. Our dreams, our preferences, our stories, our families, our friendships. God is the only stable ground. He’s the only rock we can stand on that we can trust will stay put. (Psalm 18:2)

Our only hope

Life may be upside down for you right now. Or maybe you can see the chaos coming toward you like a tidal wave that threatens to sweep away the life you’ve built for yourself. Don’t assume God doesn’t know. He does, and He cares. And He’s your only hope.

Hebrews 6:18Knowing that God doesn’t change, that He always keeps His promises, that He offers hope to the hopeless, and that He is always good—maybe it won’t fix your troubles today. But maybe it’ll give you a different perspective on them. (Hebrews 6:13-19) Because it’s possible for life to be hard and good at the same time, just like you can be hurting and full of joy at the same time.

It all comes down to how you choose to see the trouble in your life. Yes, it can feel overwhelming, unfair, undeserved, and even malicious at times, but if that’s how you choose to see it, you’re missing the point. And you’re choosing to see God as an enemy who wants to hurt you, and nothing is further from the truth. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Breathe. Step back. Shut your eyes and listen to what God is telling you.

He’s got this. He’s got you, and all the little things (or big things) that you’re worrying about, He’s already figured out. And maybe He won’t give you a magic lamp and grant you three wishes. He won’t snap His fingers or wiggle His nose and solve all your problems. But you can be sure that however He chooses to act, it’ll be good, even if it doesn’t feel like it right away.

Sunflowers in bloom at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

God knows how our lives are going to change

Summer has finally arrived in Kansas. It took a while, but it made it at last. Usually we have summer in July and August, so it’s running late this year. Now the question is how long will it stay? One thing you can always count on in Kansas is that the weather won’t stay the same. That’s what we always say to folks who complain that it’s too hot or that it’s too cold: “Just wait a day or so. It will change.”

But it isn’t just the seasons that are changing. Everything is changing. My entire family is teetering on the edge of a really massive season of change in all our lives. And it’s all good. But it’s certainly going to change a lot of things.

The biggest example is my mom’s job. Due to her current health situation, she’s had to start working from home, and it’s not likely she’ll ever go back in the same capacity as she used to be. We all knew it was coming, but now that it’s here, it feels like it sneaked up on us. Last week I helped her clean out her office at church, and I was surprised how sad I was. It’s not like I didn’t expect it, but I was still sad to see the day arrive.

Everything changes. Nothing about us stays the same over the course of our lives. And the only way to make it through with your sanity somewhat intact is to hold on to something that doesn’t change, because then no matter what else turns upside-down you’ll still have a solid place to stand.

Sunflowers in bloom at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Sunflowers in bloom at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Malachi 3:6.

“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.”

God doesn’t change. Ever. He’s the same as He was when He created everything. He’s the same God who saved Noah and his family, the same God who brought Israel safely out of Egypt, the same God who helped Joseph interpret dreams and David write songs.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around that the God I have conversations with every day is the same God who formed the universe out of nothing. It’s hard to believe that a God that powerful would care, but the Bible says He does, so I believe it.

This post isn’t long today. It’s mainly just a remainder . I did a whole month’s worth of posts on change toward the beginning of the year as I was preparing for my best friend to leave for England, but I needed to remember today that God is the same now as He was then. When I’m facing all of these upheavals in life, good and bad, I need to remember that God stays constant.

The seasons don’t shake Him. Our actions don’t surprise Him. And even when it feels like everything is spinning out of control, He still knows what He’s doing. He hasn’t lost control. He hasn’t abandoned us. If He didn’t abandon Israel, He won’t abandon us either. He promised He wouldn’t, and He always keeps His promises.

So whatever change you’re facing today, just remember that everything about you and around you can turn over on its head and God will still be the same. That’s comforting to me. That helps me face the upcoming changes in my life with courage and confident hope that He already has it settled. I may not know what’s coming, but He does. He’s preparing me, and with His help there’s nothing I can’t conquer.