Change is Hard
Change is often as welcomed as a fart in an elevator. Funny, but so true. Change—it is hard. It doesn’t matter what kind of change it is. I can remember as a young child my mom rearranging furniture in the family room and how horribly distraught my dad was over this. He came home from work and if you didn’t know it was only the furniture that had been moved, you may have thought he witnessed some form of cosmic cataclysm. It was as if he didn’t know how to relax. His chair could not have moved more than eight feet, but it wasn’t the same. Nothing felt the same. He is an obstinate man and it took a few weeks to embrace this new perspective. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you there was lots of complaining in the in-between. Change is hard, regardless of the measure; and seeing it through, harder yet.
Ironically, the same dad who fought the smallest changes is the same person who gave me some of the best advice on change. After I had my first child, I would begin the countdown of my 12-week leave. My child was beyond colicky. Strangers would randomly ask if she was okay. Family members felt a thorough physical exam was warranted to rule out any broken bones. But, no, she was perfectly healthy. She exercised her lungs more than any other baby I know; and despite how difficult she was to be with, I loved her so much that the thought of leaving her in the care of someone else’s arms was enough to break me. However, my maternity leave came to an end and I would drop off my little girl into the arms of another loving mother. The feeling of loss struck my body like a hurricane tearing through the sand. As I drove in my car, tears streaming down my face, my phone rang and my dad on the other end of the line sweetly spoke as he could hear me trying to fight back the tears. He told me letting go was something I was going to do for the rest of my life.
Letting go is hard because change is hard. And radical transformative change, the kind of change it takes to let God be in control, can leave you in a paradox of emotions and feelings, simultaneously being renewed and exposed.
I am one of the best at rationalizing anything so I don’t have to change. I have mastered the practice of cognitive dissonance. It is hard to let go of things: addictions, people, careers, attitudes, and plans. It is easy to be a creature of habit because it is comfortable and requires little maintenance, but when we get too programed into our routines, we miss the signs from God saying it is time to let go. God will never leave us and he will always lead us, but it is David who said it best when he asked God to, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). I know for me to become the person God intended me to be and to discover and use the gifts he blessed me with, I have to take a step forward and practice the art of letting go and submitting to him, for it is only God who can fully change my heart.
Beth L. Helm