I’m a person of routine. My close friends know that I eat the same things and adhere a similar schedule day after day after month after month. I find comfort in routine. In the ordinary everyday things that reinforce my real (or perceived) notions of safety and security.
Which makes it kind of funny to think that the reality of my life has been, and still is, riddled with change. Marked by change. Perhaps yours is too. After all, many have said some variation of the theme: the only thing that stays the same is change.
I don’t particularly like change. Well, perhaps I don’t so much mind change as the process of getting to it. They say you’re either a fighter or flighter, but I’m definitely both. Whichever will get me the fastest way to what’s next, I’m on it. It’s the in-between that’s so hard. The watching, waiting, and wondering that drives me so crazy. And yet, it remains.
In this season we find ourselves navigating change as we moved and wait on so many things — and we await more change, coming on the horizon. I don’t love it. I don’t love the middle; the in-between, the waiting-not knowing part that feels uncertain and messy and uncomfortable. And yet it’s where He keeps placing us.
I can’t help be reminded of the words of Pema Chodron: “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”
Clearly I still have a lot to learn. This year God told me I needed to endeavor to know PEACE, and He didn’t waste any time challenging me on it. Despite my patterns and preference for fixing, making, doing and changing by my own strength, He keeps making me wait. Placing me in situations that I cannot control or fix or figure out on my own. Asking me to trust.
So this weekend as I sit in the middle of the unmade but very easily foreseeable, waiting on God to reveal the next right step, I remind myself 5 simple things:
- It will be okay. Sometimes my biggest fears aren’t even remotely likely or accurate. Often I can be my own worst enemy over-thinking, over-analyzing and trying to fix things on my own. My grandma always said: This too shall pass. Sometimes we just need to hold on.
- My feelings are good. Sometimes I caught in the trap believing I’m a failure because my faith isn’t big enough or my attitude isn’t bright enough and I want to fade into the background until I get myself right again. No matter how good our life is, we’re still entitled to feel sad, disappointed and angry sometimes. Feelings may be fickle but they’re still valid.
- I’m not alone. Writing this blog has taught me many things, but perhaps the most powerful is that I’m not alone. Through comments and emails and Facebook messages I know that we stand with a whole host of brave, capable, God-fearing women who struggle and strive and seek to know, trust, hope and stand in the middle of their imperfect, messy, beautiful lives. What a gift we have in each other.
- I can ask for help. I’m bad at asking for help. This weakness, masquerading as strength, shows up in my everyday ways of perfecting, pleasing and performing. But sometimes I can’t do it on my own. God made us for community so that one can pull the other up. Iron sharpens iron and wounds from a friend can be trusted. Relationship isn’t easy and was never only meant for the good times. True friendship is forged and fashioned in the hard times. Find someone who has earned the right to hear your story and let them walk with you and speak truth over you when you forget.
- Sometimes I just need to be still. Unfortunately I’m not good at this either. You might say patience is not one of my strong suits. If I can do it by charm, determination, pressure, intellect or strength I will. But sometimes my illusion of control is shattered and I’m forced to face the reality that I’m not in charge. Sometimes I wonder if God gets tired of asking me to be still and forces me into it. To trust, believe and eventually find – somewhere beyond seeing – a supernatural peace in the unknowing.
Jarod Kintz said: The only thing that stays the same is change. Perhaps like me it’s not the change that gets you, but the waiting for it. The watching, wondering, wading-through-the-muck-of-it-not-knowing that drives you crazy. Maybe like me you’re terrible at it, and struggle through every moment and season wanting to speed it up or fix it while you pretend to wait. But sometimes there’s no pretending. Sometimes there’s no pleasing, perfecting or performing that will get you to His will. Sometimes you can only surrender. And wait. And see. And that’s okay too.
How do you remind yourself to wait when you’re in the middle?