I am currently looking out the window in my childhood home. The last time I truly lived here was almost thirteen years ago and I was just starting high school. At that point I had never lived overseas and this home was the only one I could remember. Countless moves and multiple countries later, I’m back where I started except everything is different. I have come back to a place that is simultaneously familiar and foreign. I have come back empty and tired and broken and at the same time full and strong and resilient.
I have changed. I am at a season of life where transitions are coming at me faster than I can process them. I have days where I wake up unsure of what country or continent I am on. I continue to be amazed at how much I understand of the conversations going on around me until I realize they are speaking English. After three years without a car, I’m remembering it is important to make a mental note of where I parked.
Sometimes I look at the change and get overwhelmed. I start to panic. My heart will race and I wonder how much more I will be able to handle. I look at the change and my reaction is fear. I am afraid who I am will get lost in the transition. I’m afraid who I am has already been lost. I’m afraid I will never be able to find myself again. I am afraid and the fear threatens to consume me.
Here I had to close my computer and walk away. I had to practice breathing, get some space, and ask God to show me the deeper truth. Here is the question rolling around in my mind. Am I allowing the change to draw me closer to Christ? Or am I using the external changes as a distraction from the real change He wants to bring about in my heart?
If my answer is the latter, the change will simultaneously be too much and not enough. It will be more change than I could bear and not enough change to keep down all the junk I need to deal with in my own heart. Change as a distraction can work for a time, but it is exhausting. It doesn’t last forever. Eventually things will come out in a messy, ugly explosion.
If I am allowing the change to draw me into deeper communion with Christ, it will be neither too much nor too little. The external changes will serve to bring about transformation in my heart. Change becomes a tool instead of a distraction. It becomes a necessary part of my development. There may will be times where it feels like I am picking up pieces after an explosion, but Christ will be next to me putting the pieces back together in a way that more closely resembles him. This path is sustainable as long as I remain connected to Him who sustains.
My response does not fall perfectly on one side of this question or the other. There are days where change becomes a distraction. I also have days where I am moving toward Christ. It is messy and imperfect. I need to be constantly adjusting. There will be many days where my focus is misplaced. This doesn’t mean I have failed. I only need to stop and turn my focus back where it belongs.
Change may never get easier. I’m not sure I want it to get easier. What I pray instead is for an increased capacity to allow the change to help me resemble our perfect and unchanging God.
Where are you facing changes in your life? How can you see those changes as a way to draw you closer to Christ? What helps you keep your focus on Him rather than on the changes?