Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Change, Uncomfortable Change....

I'm in transition again.

If you've had a baby, you know what I mean - it's that brief period of time before delivery where you shake, maybe vomit, and cry and scream at your companions: "I CAN'T DO IT!" 

That is the precise moment when one of the nurses knowingly nods her head and says: "She's in transition.  It won't be long, now."

Since I've had 5 natural births, I have to admit that when my last child was born (at home, unassisted) I recognized transition when it came.  No one had to tell me: "It's okay, sweety, you're almost there, you're just in transition." Likewise, I recognize that the transition I am experiencing now, though not about to result in natural birth, is just part of the process in the season of life that I'm currently experiencing.

The good thing is: the very nature of transition is change.
The bad thing is: the very nature of transition is change.
(Transition is hard, but can produce good results!)

If you are in a place of transition, you know that you can't stay there forever, but it involves a lot of shifting and stretching and pain as you adjust and grow into your next phase.  Change is good, but it means you have to deal with being in the uncomfortable and unfamiliar for a while before you come to the place of fulfillment. 

When it comes down to it, we usually fear and resist change because of the stress that it brings.

So let me be brutally honest.

I cried when I was painting the walls of my bedroom, feeling overwhelmed with the thought of needing to clean up our "new house" and sell it, and move again, for the second time in a year.
I got angry as I packed boxes and sifted through junk in my garage - thinking... didn't I just do this?
And I continually feel exhausted with the fiasco of house-selling: clean it, leave it, show it, repeat.

There are some days when I feel like I'm drowning in the stress of not being able to live a normal life.
However, even though I have my momentary lapses of insanity, and like a woman in labor I want to scream and swear and exclaim "I CAN'T DO IT!", I also have a sense that my perspective could be different.

I don't want to survive this season... I want to thrive.
I want to find joy in the journey.

The solution, as far as I know, is found in acceptance, hope, and the most sustaining of all: peace.

When you're in labor, a good trick is to tell yourself: "I just have to get through this contraction..." and you do your best to breathe deep and survive the tension of that moment, knowing that there will be a short rest period when the contraction is over.  But you MUST NOT think about the next 10 or 20 or 30 contractions - that is where panic sets in and you have no idea how you'll survive!  This outlines the "acceptance" part of my solution.  I just have to get through today, and I want to do today well.  I don't have to think about how long this process will be - in fact that would probably be detrimental to my state of mind!  So I do my best with today, and look forward to those moments of calm that come like a cool breeze on a blistering hot summer day.

Then there's the factor of hope.  What is coming, and what you will accomplish when you reach "the other side" of transition is more important than the "when" - especially when there are circumstances beyond your control.  There are a lot of aspects of my life which I am unable to control right now, and no matter how much I stress about it - it just won't change!  So I focus on the future.  I allow myself to visualize the future, knowing that "this too shall pass" and I have hope.  Just like an expectant, laboring mother knows that the baby can't "stay in there forever", I know that I won't be in this season forever.

Lastly, but most importantly, I have to give credit to the intangible, and often unexplainable sense of peace.  Philippians 4:6 & 7 describes peace as "a sense of God's wholeness... (that) will come and settle you down".  I don't know where I'd be without my random, on-the-spot 10 second bursts of prayer; those moments where I know I've come to the end of all reason and I need something-Someone bigger than myself to sweep in and assure me that I'm gonna make it.  God's peace can bring calm in the worst of situations.  His kind of peace brings resolve that "everything is going to be okay", even if you have no idea HOW it will work out.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (MSG)
I know that life will look radically different 6 months from now, and there's sure to be a new set of adventures for me to chronicle and blog about.  If anything, a life full of transitions signifies growth and an adventurous life.  I can't deny the fact that I'm an adventure seeker - and history speaks for itself.  Given the fact that my life will probably never be "normal", I'm on a quest to travel well - to grow in each challenge, and let this journey shape me, not break me.

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