I know, you’re wondering how I made it through the second grade if I think the word “change” has four letters…
But in all seriousness, for a long time, “change” really was a four letter word for me. You know, one of those words that if you said it, your mom would wash your mouth out with soap, dad would go get the belt, or at the very least, you were well on your way to being grounded for a month. You see, this girl (up until recently) has had very little change in her life.
I’m an only child, so it started early. I didn’t have to encounter the change of adding a sibling to my steady and consistent little world. Until I got married a few years ago, I lived in the same house – the same pink bedroom – my entire life. No moving or having to make new friends or adjust to a new culture. Same neighborhood, same neighbors, same house for 20 plus years. I didn’t go away to college. I attended the same little church every Sunday since the age of two. Consistency was the name of the game. And I LIKED it that way! Um, in case you didn’t know, change is uncomfortable. Change is HARD. Change is challenging. Who wants that?!?! Certainly. Not. ME.
I distinctly remember, back in 2003, I was so unfamiliar with change that I was actually struggling with the idea of graduating from high school. Now, don’t get me wrong. High school was no cake walk for me. I was not “little miss popular” and I had my fair share of challenges, but when graduation rolls around, things tend to get a little more rosy when looking at your current situation. Things were going pretty well for me at the time. It was a small school, so I was more or less a big fish in a little pond. I had made a decent group of friends, I had a boyfriend, I was on the school worship team, and I was cast as the lead in the high school musical (I still like to brag about that last one). Not bad. Not bad at all!
But it was all ending. My friends were all moving on to other schools. I was leaving my safe and happy little Christian High School bubble where everyone knew my name and my teachers liked me. I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t know what the next step would be like. Things were changing. And it was scary.
I remember being in the kitchen one afternoon emptying the dishwasher and thinking about my current phase of life, the change that was coming, and the frightening future. It’s a little embarrassing to admit now, but I actually asked God to freeze my life. Right there. Freeze right where I was at. Keep my friends, life, everything the same. I knew he wouldn’t do it and (thankfully) he didn’t. But it’s what I wanted. It’s really truly what my scared little heart wanted in that moment. I didn’t want anything to change.
Anyways, big surprise, things didn’t stay the same. I graduated high school, life changed, and college (especially the first few weeks) was rough. But, I met new people and made new friends. In fact, I made some of the best friends I think I will ever be blessed with. College was a good experience. I had a good time.
And then, four years later, I found myself in the same spot (I can’t remember if I was in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher this time or not… but it was the same mental spot). I remember one afternoon whining to God about the change that was coming – yes, I’ll be honest, I was definitely whining. I was looking at the change ahead of me: my college friends going off and getting married, moving away, starting new careers, etc. And I started to ask God to please freeze my life right where it was – keep it all the same.
But I couldn’t even finish the thought. Mid request, God reminded me that I had asked the same thing of him only four short years earlier. And I realized… so many good things had happened in the last four years. The last four years were exponentially better than the years I had in high school: deeper friendships, more meaningful (and crazy fun) moments with family and friends, and a stronger relationship with The Lord. If God had granted my wish and kept me frozen in that moment of time back when I asked the first time, I would have missed out on so much good stuff! I thought that moment in high school was as good as it would get, but college was SO MUCH BETTER. God knew what he was doing when he denied my request for sameness back in 2003. Yet, here I was again, having so little faith in his plan and goodness for my life that I just wanted to stay stuck where I was at. Because I was afraid of change.
Just as I am grateful God did not keep me in my little 17 year old high school life forever, I am so thankful he did not freeze me in my college years either. In that moment, I learned a valuable lesson. Though change is hard, difficult, uncomfortable, and scary, it is also good. God brings good things through change.
Those long winded stories (sorry) were to share with you how I now try to approach change. My two foolish requests and my revelation after the second request serve to me as reminders whenever I start to fear change.
What would have happened if God had granted my first request and kept me stuck in my senior year of high school forever? I would have never met my three best college girlfriends, Christy, Allison, and Naomi. And what would have happened if God had granted my second request and kept us girls all frozen in college and single? I never would have met two more best friends, Seth and Verna who eventually introduced me to my ultimate best friend, Josh. What would have happened if God had granted my wish for Josh and me to stay frozen in our little apartment in San Diego forever? (okay, I’ll admit – I may have had a weak moment or two fairly recently and asked to stay frozen in time once more…) I don’t know the whole answer to that last question yet… but I am sure that, years from now, I will be able to look back on the blessings God gave us through this move; I’ll be able to see all the good things he brought to us through this really big change.
God has so much good to give us, and it comes about through change. Yes, sometimes the change is hard and leads us through trials as well. I know life isn’t always rosy. This most recent change is already providing me new challenges (did I mention it was negative nineteen degrees outside a few days ago?!). But when I start to get uncomfortable and nervous about change, and I start to ask God to just make things easy and keep things just the way they are, I am so glad I am able to look back at his faithfulness to me in the past. I am able to look back at the good things he brought me, which then encourages me to look forward to the new good things he is going to bring me.
And hey, look at that. “Change” actually has six letters, not four. So let’s take it off that naughty four letter word list, shall we?