What comes in all shapes and sizes, creates a big mess, requires constant attention, but eventually offers great fulfillment? Could it be . . .
- A new puppy?
- Seasons in marriage?
- A garden during harvest time?
- Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner?
- Moving into a new home?
- Starting a new job?
Oh, you’re so close! Stick with me; there’s a story to it all.
My husband was recovering from a broken rib and shoulder surgery. I was recovering from ear surgery which meant Jon needed help getting to school.
I had said goodbye to him 30 minutes before my phone started blowing up with text messages from Jon to my husband, my son Austin, and me:
“i dying, cannot breathe, help me please”
“someone come git me, i going to pass out”
It was 8:28 a.m. to be exact. I panicked, thinking he may have fallen or had a seizure and was hurt or confused and didn’t know how to get help.
As I was texting back, he called. I answered immediately. His words were nearly muted due to the blaring background noise and his labored breathing.
Clearly, he wasn’t at school. I asked to speak with Kelly, my daughter-in-law, who had been driving him to school.
She talking to [gasp] to the police [gasp]. Mom, I dying [gasp]. Smoke coming out of her car. I hurting all over [gasp]. Can’t walk. Hurry and get me! I hurting so bad [gasp]. Can’t walk. Can’t get up. Please hurry!
Let’s just say remaining calm when things take a nose dive is not in my DNA.
I totally forgot about staying on bed rest when I heard Jon say there was smoke coming out of the car, the police were present, he couldn’t walk, and he thought he was going to die.
In record time, I got to the accident. I found out they had been hit head-on in rush hour traffic one block from school. Jon was lying flat on his back, unable to walk.
After several hours at the hospital, we learned Jon had fractured his back, bruised his knee, and would be on bed rest for who knows how long.
That afternoon, we saw our spine surgeon and left his office with a brace so big and complicated, I had to watch a video to learn how to put it on Jon.
And there’s more. A few days before the accident, we purchased a new puppy, Axel. Since he was too young to come home at that time, we decided it would be perfect to get him while I was recovering from ear surgery.
That way, I could start house-training him while working from home and recovering.
Axel arrived two days after Jon broke his back. What timing! Between trying to work, house-training Axel (and mopping the floor), Jon’s trauma treatments, and ear surgery recovery, chaos bloomed in our home.
I Am My Own Problem
Now it’s confession time. If you have ever watched Winnie the Pooh, you may recall the character Rabbit. Rabbit is a get-it-done, in-charge kind of character.
He is thoroughly irritated with Tigger who bounces about and does not keep things orderly; any kind of disruption in the Hundred Acre Wood brings out the worst in Rabbit.
He becomes harsh, controlling, quickly annoyed, and somewhat unkind. Let’s just say I became Rabbit as healing came on slowly and our new family member had accidents repeatedly.
Curiously, with four adults and three dogs living in our home, why was I the only one with a woe-is-me attitude?
They were enjoying our new puppy and helping with the endless hours of house-training him. They pitched in with folding laundry and mopping floors.
When Jon needed comforting, their healing presence was calming and supportive. In other words . . . I AM MY OWN PROBLEM.
I had chosen to be miserable and mad. Choosing to stay miserable and mad makes us stuck; I’m living proof it’s never helpful or attractive.
It also leads to a complete paralysis of letting God refine us—an enormous gift which allows us to evaluate, problem solve, and move forward changed. Now, think back to that riddle I mentioned earlier:
What comes in all shapes and sizes, creates a big mess, requires constant attention, but eventually offers great fulfillment?
The answer: CHANGE.
Ch- Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes
Neuroscience tells us that our brains RESIST change. When neurological pathways are formed and repeatedly reinforced for years, creating new neural pathways is incredibly demanding.
New pathways—in the brain or in life—require a daily, deliberate, determined effort because we are writing new scripts in our brains and in life.
That’s why remaining sober or addiction-free is so difficult. The neural pathway connected to the pleasure center in the brain doesn’t know or care about the reason or cause of our addictions; the neural pathway just knows it’s feeding time, and it won’t give up satisfaction without a massive fight.
What you’re facing today may be big, small, or somewhere in between. If it’s demanding change, it will feel monstrous. Change causes us to think we are inadequate failures and innocent victims at the same time.
We turn inward, trying to self-protect. We often try to hide our feelings, which smothers vulnerability and the development of humility.
It’s time to get unstuck—to reframe our view of change—that is, if you want to learn, grow, and develop a soul more deeply connected to God. Here’s what I’m learning about adapting to changes:
- CHANGE has a greater purpose we aren’t entitled to know about when God is at work. Because only God knows the future, whatever He allows to occur is part of preparing you for that purpose. Surrender to the process.
- CHANGE doesn’t last forever. Today, my son’s back is healed, the dog is MOSTLY house-trained, and my husband’s rib and shoulder along with my ear have healed. What was messy and demanding has let up; we’re actually having a blast with our new dog.
- CHANGE reveals what is really important. Are your clean floors, clothes, car, job, social status, reputation, or bank account really that important? Maybe it’s time to ask why if they are consuming you.
- CHANGE is messy because forging a new path is messy. In our neighborhood, new roads are being put in, traffic is a mess, the work crews are coated in dirt . . . there isn’t a clean part in the process. However, when our roads are complete, the mess will be gone. Hang in there.
- CHANGE demands we remember God’s faithfulness in the past. We serve a perfect God who knows what is ahead. Recall how He has led you through the messes of life. Has the Lord kept His word and met your needs (not wants)? He will continue to, so TRUST Him even when there is no evidence of Him.
Let Me Hear from You
When we reframe life’s unexpected changes, we find in the end a sense of fulfillment we never had before. We learn to embrace the unexpected with hope.
Change will be messy. It will be confusing, but it will also be equipping, fulfilling, and LIFE GIVING. Are you resisting change? If so, how can I walk with you through the steps of acceptance, faith, and growth?
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