speechSo, I have a confession to make, I don’t usually do so well with change. I prefer things to be predictable and routine, because normally I would equate change with something negative, something painful, something I just don’t like.

So just like any good father would, God has been systematically challenging that exact thing in me. Whether it’s a result of his direct leading or whether it’s due to his allowance of challenges in my life, this year especially has turned my world inside out and upside down.

But I’ve come to learn that it’s not necessarily the change itself that rattles me. I’ve discovered that it’s the false perception of security that so often accompanies the predictable that I crave so much in my life.

His Never Changing Nature

If you don’t already know, I haven’t worked for the bank since July. And my last day there was one of the hardest and saddest and best days I’ve ever had.  There was all the internal conflict going on there following some changes with the recent merger that took place the beginning of the year, and through no fault or decision that was made locally, my employment there ended.  In the week leading up to that day, I knew that there some people in our new management positions that definitely wanted me gone, and I knew that there were people – good people, people who were used to having a lot more influence within the company than they now enjoy – fighting on my behalf.  And there wasn’t anything left for me to do. But more than that, I knew I had reached the end of my journey there. There was just this quiet peace inside of me that I knew had to be God, because, let’s face it, I’m waaaayyyyyy more emotional than that, and I knew that through enough situations there when people were outright gunning for me and I would get frightened and frantic and every time I would see God change an attitude or a heart or repair a relationship…something that seemed immovable in the midst of that moment, would just simply shift…and it was always obvious to me that it was God.  So, if after all those experiences and God was not running the rescue this time, well, then it was just as obvious to me that this was the end of the road.

I say it was one of the best days I’ve had because God used that day in my life to solidify something inside of me.  You see, up until then, I knew that God is unchangeable.  I knew my circumstances couldn’t change His love.  I believed that at the end of the day, no matter what, God is still God and He is still on the throne.

That is . . .  in my head.

But even after everything that I’ve seen, everything that I’ve experienced, everything He has taught me, everything He’s FREED me from….

I would still get scared that maybe, just maybe, I was wrong.  And the doubts would creep in.  The ones that would remind me how very far from a saint I am and how, maybe I’m just not worth it.  I’ve spent more than one trip back from seeing Alex in Torrington and having to leave him again, starting with the basics and repeating them over and over again, that I know Jesus loves me, that I know He died on the cross, that I know he died to save me….  Starting with whatever basic fact I knew I believed wholeheartedly to try to refocus on who He is, and to accept His leading regardless of how brokenhearted I may be at times.  Still, there always seemed to be a blockage between my head and my heart, and it would frustrate me because I couldn’t seem to “just believe” or “just trust” the way I thought everyone expected me to.  And I kept wondering why God hadn’t just sent down a lightening bolt and fixed whatever was in me that I knew was broken.

But that day, He changed it.  In a way, it was very surreal, because the way I felt in those moments came as quite a surprise and my silent prayers running in the back of my mind quickly changed from panicked pleas to “ok God, show me how to end this on the best possible note, where there is no question that you are who you are”.  And at the end of the day, that’s what happened.  I was the one comforting all these co-workers who are furious or just a mess of tears, and another realization occurred to me in a whole new way.  They were a mess and I was relatively ok and unscathed because I Knew with everything in me that God is still God.  No questions.  No more doubts creeping up.  The situation itself hurt, as endings always do, but there was no room for doubt.

And I got to learn that there really isn’t anything for me to be afraid of.

I think another reason I was so frightened, and the reason why this has been my chief battle all year, is because EVERYTHING that I would use to identify myself by, a banker…a loan officer… a mom…. ALEX’s mom …. Ect…  but all of the big “things” I would use to ascribe worth to my life, has been challenged in some form this year.  And that’s another reason I struggle with any type of change, because I would think, I would  fear, that that change could fundamentally change who I am.  We see it all around us.  People trying to get their identity from some other source than Christ, people losing it and resorting to sometimes horrible violence when that is quickly changed, challenged or taken from them.

  I actually looked up the definition of identity crisis.

“a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity

becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in

society.”

We’ve all been lied to.  Flat out bamboozled.  To think that society has anything to do with who I am.

But isn’t that one of Satan’s favorite tricks?

Society can’t change who I am, my job can’t define me, and I have no power to assign any type of worth to myself.  Nor can any of those take away from who I am.

So if, at the end of the day, any type of day, God is still God, and if, my identity is truly anchored in Him. Nothing of significance has changed.

Nothing.

God is still God

And I am still me because  I am still His child.

And so why would any of us ever be afraid of anything here changing?  Even when it’s unpleasant or hard.

He Meets me Where I am

The funny thing is that everything changes, all the time.  A few short years ago, someone asked me what the one thing was I really wanted.  My answer was “to not be afraid of everything, all the time”.   And while, today, those memories of how that felt are beginning to fade and it’s harder to recall being in that place, as I look back, it makes sense to me that since change is constant, I was always afraid.

It’s still hard.  It still can hurt, even to the point where I sometimes have to tell someone that I can’t make a decision until I can see beyond the emotions and the waves crashing around me. But Because I spent so many years looking for every escape from the fear that I could find that was bad for me, there was a lot of regret.  But even with that regret, it was easier at that point than staying put long enough to really surrender and allow God the space to work in my life.  That regret was compounded by the fact I knew who God was, even when I was young, even living with my family who flat out thought that God was a joke.  And God was always gracious enough to put people in my life to give me a real tangible connection to Him here on earth.  And because of that, it’s bewildered me in recent years when I hear someone say how their testimony isn’t exciting.  Because I would sit there and think that their definition of “boring” is really this beautiful, amazing story of God’s consistency and protection and leading in their lives.  And I would think to myself how much of a disappointment I must be to God, because if I would have been just a little stronger, a bit more faithful at those pivotal moments in my life where it really counted, I could have an amazing story like that.  Or, ok, even if I could have a story like a real shock and awe type story about God’s Power and Renewal where people get saved or they come back to God and they are instantly transformed.  Ha! When God’s really working on something in my life, I’m antsy and frustrated and it seems like I need go over and repent of every minuscule detail before something breaks inside and God’s healing and love washes back over me.  It is slow and it is painful. What kind of story is that compared to someone who is immediately healed of addictions and diseases or physical ailments.  When they can seem to say one tiny “umbrella” prayer, and they’re good to go.

But God’s been gracious enough to bring around to another perspective.

Every single step.  Every ending. Every new beginning.  Every transition. He’s met me exactly where I was.  He’s the one who built me, so who knows my heart any better?  Who else knows how exactly to communicate with me, the roots of my frustrations and wounds and can heal them in the perfect way at the perfect time than my own creator?  And, while I wish I could say that I’m all fixed up, I’m not.  But that’s okay, because I’m no longer afraid of the change.  I may not have a testimony like everyone else, but He’s given me a beautiful story all about His never-ending patience and grace.  One where I can look back and be so grateful to be exactly where I am, because I know exactly what He’s brought me out of.  I can say thank you for this journey and stop looking at everyone else’s and feeling somewhat envious, because I can learn how to reach out and help people that other people really can’t relate to, and the people who don’t have a story like mine, can reach out to a different group of people. Isn’t that the beauty?  God’s so merciful and still loves the people in this world enough, that He teaches us all in different ways so that all those lost people out there, no matter what their story is, no matter what they’re going through, God’s prepared in each of us a way to help, so collectively, we really can be His hands and feet.

And It doesn’t mean that I’m staying here, or even want to, because God calls me, calls us, to keep running the race, but I can finally truly love and truly be grateful for exactly where I am, right now.

Because even knowing that I’m not at the destination yet, I know He loves me.

Right now, even when it hurts, I can go in my room, lock the door and cry my eyes out just saying that it hurts, and I don’t know how to fix it, because I know He does, and that I don’t have to explain anything to Him.  He knows what’s going on even better than I do, and each and every time, He’s right there.

Right now, I know that He has a plan and a purpose, and I can look back and see bits and pieces of how God’s lead me to this moment.

I can also look ahead and know that God’s still weaving His perfect plan together.  I can see the building blocks He’s been putting in my life for the next steps. For the next leg of the journey.  And it’s beautiful.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve really felt like God’s been telling me to get out of my comfort zone – as a willing participate instead of acting like someone who’s being dragged off to the guillotine.  Sometimes I hit that mark, other times I fall drastically short and land on my face.  But I’d like to challenge you all to join me.  To stop worrying over what happens next and embrace the Journey God has so lovingly prepared.

We all know that Jesus never promised any of us an easy road.  One of comfort and sleeping in till noon and full of amazing vacations.  He never even promised any of us a tomorrow here.  But really, what does tomorrow matter when He’s already given us forever with Him?

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