“Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.” ― Amy Poehler, Yes Please
I love this quote.
But, have you ever tried surfing? It’s frustrating and difficult, because the waves never stay the same. And, without something solid to stand on, like a surfboard, it’s impossible. We need a steady. We need a focus. We need a thing that doesn’t change when other things do.
The ability to find our chill when things shift can change your mood, but how do you find it? Being able to tolerate people and personalities involved in change will change your level of happiness, but how do you do it?
I feel like I landed a pretty great life lab to experiment on how this process works. It was called 2015. A year where all of the changes I wanted to make and many of the changes I didn’t want to be made collided in a giant buffet of chaos. It became my lesson in holding on while letting go. This ability is the one discipline I needed to become healthy.
Stability is the ability to be rooted in Christ no matter what you’re stepping into or stepping out of.
Change and its “painful uncomfortableness” can become a catalyst for practicing the discipline of arms-open-wide-stability. It’s the chance we have to dig in deep and let go when we don’t know what we don’t know. Change is a constant, but not the only constant.
When Christ becomes the constant, change becomes an opportunity.
When Christ remains the constant, what is left to fear? When change knocks on the door of my life or ministry I can open it. I don’t have to turn off all of the lights and pretend as if I’m not home. I know this because my wholeness isn’t dependent on what happens to me. It’s dependent on what God has done for me.
It took a lot of mess-ups and work-throughs to get to a point where I could say with honesty that change can produce good things in me, like empathy and creativity, stamina and self-discipline. I believe that it’s the thing that makes us see more of who we were meant to be.
When you experience a change, whether it’s one you instigated or one that someone else created, you’re gaining a sweet spot to practice the discipline of community—with God and others. It’s a spot where you’ll be able to practice moving forward faithfully.
Here are some things that help us all to keep moving forward:
- HOVER – You may be tempted to run from change because emotions run through the blood and activate adrenaline. Find a place to be still and think about how God is going to show up for you. Hover over the truth, rest in it. “In the midst of our spiritual strivings, when we know enough to know that something is wrong but do not have the capacity within ourselves to make it right, God shows up.” – Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove
- HUMANIZE – Change involves people. You could find yourself upset and getting creative about why people respond the way they do. Before you write your own conspiracy theory (isn’t it so easy!?), humanize the people or person involved. Why would a reasonable, rational, human being decide to leave our organization? Why would a reasonable, rational, human being decide to choose a different ministry to serve another one? Doing an empathy search will give you an opportunity to form better questions instead of forming a creative and often inaccurate story.
- HISTORIZE – Put the change into the context of your story. Past. Present. Future. What do you know that could help you through? Who do you know who can help you through? Do certain reactions tend to lead toward additional stress? Have you found a pattern or a way to have crucial conversations that’s more helpful? Is there a place where you’re meeting with God to connect your story with the bigger one?
- HOLD ON – Ask God for the wisdom of stability in your change. Ask God to be your steady rock where the whole of you can live while you simultaneously let go of the things that tire you so quickly. Throw off any hindrance that would keep you from seeing Christ in the middle of the change, ready to be revealed in your circumstances and in your story.
What change are you going through?
Can you remain whole in the middle of it?
Can you humanize who is a part of it?
Can you historize and contextualize Christ’s love in it?
If you can, you’ll be able to let go and move forward.
Yes, you can. Your constant is a life rooted in the love of God.
Hold loosely to the things of this world so the things of heaven can carry you through them.