I have heard “change is the only constant” and often wondered why humans who know this to be true fight change tirelessly. I am not exempt from this fight against change. In fact, my whole life has been one long war against it. But even after a few small victories, I knew that the war had to end, and the outcome was not favorable for my troop. The tenacity I once basked in faded into the humblest form of exhaustion. Change is the visitor who never leaves and is simultaneously always coming soon. I could never keep up (specifically in this current stage of young motherhood). So I unlocked my fingers to release the grip I tightly held on my stability and surrendered to my former enemy, change.
Deciding to embrace change is a difficult posture to uphold, but for a reason that I had not been able to put into words until this “change,” I embraced it more quickly than usual. To be honest, I had always been quite confused by my negative connotations regarding change since I do crave great adventure. As I finally discovered, the enemy I once warred against was only the front line of the true opposing force: TRANSITION.
I now imagine change goes a little something like this: I make a decision to do something different (small or grand differences are almost equally weighty when it comes to change), and then I courageously tell everyone I know what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I incessantly prep for the fresh start that ensues. There’s a tangible excitement following every move toward this big day. The day comes, the change happens (I move to a different place, I start a new job, I embrace a new lifestyle of some sort, something drastic happens to me), and I’m okay for about 0.2 seconds. I’ve gotten on a boat, left the shore where I was comfortable (where my life was consistent and “normal”), and headed straight toward the Island of Doom. I can’t really tell on the first few days of the trip, but a few weeks into this “change,” I’m convinced I’m alone in the middle of an ocean with no compass. I can no longer hear the sweet familiar voices of the shore I just left, and I haven’t quite arrived in my new territory. The TRANSITION waves crash into my boat on all sides. My heart rages between grieving what’s behind, confusion about the present, and glimpses of hope for the future. All the while, the waves keep crashing, and crashing, and crashing. The boat, like my emotional being, bounces up and down across the water.
This has been my reality through every change. What I never realized until my latest adventure is that I actually did control the change sometimes. I had always thought the change just happens, but the truth is that I have been responsible for many of the decisions that led to a change in my life. What I cannot control is what the transition waves will be like each time. How will I fight the urge to give up when the support for the change dwindles and I’m left alone to truly walk it out? What will the “in-between” phase look like? How rocky will my emotions get? What pain might occur before the glory of the new life? How can I possibly navigate the devastation of unexpected change? Being in transition is what I’ve actually been afraid of. But it is on these waves that I find out more about myself and the One I strive to be like.
I know Someone who walked atop water as if waves are merely puddles and emotions are minuscule compared to faith. I know Someone who slept through the transition waves, proving rest is more vital than wasting time on fear—a true epiphany that I can finally understand and hold on to. Change will never cease, but my reaction to the transition waves determines how well I’ll manage getting to each new chapter of my life. The truth is I’ve probably (most likely…definitely) arrived to new chapters completely wounded and damaged from the waves of transition. Full of more fear than ever and emotionally drained from grief and confusion, although I have attempted to show up to the next phase like a boss. Except I’m a broken boss who needs fixing before I can even offer anything to this new space. I’ve lost sight of who I am and Who I know.
I am now suggesting to myself that I can control my desire to control. Practically, I can stop scrolling through social media posts that remind me of an old lifestyle I had and how good it might’ve been. I can also stop stalking social media posts that tease me with the lifestyle I desire to achieve next. I can stop myself from going down the dark path of tallying my losses and my wins during this chapter against the last one or the one coming. I can stop excusing my extensive “what ifs” by referring to them as “reflections.” I can definitely stop trying to guess what other people are thinking because it only leads to too much chocolate for one person to safely consume. I can stop using the transition time for things it wasn’t meant to entertain so that I can stop missing out on the beautiful rest that transition offers me. The rest that has come during my latest transition has been sweetly acknowledged. The busyness calms down in transition even though the waves attempt to disguise that calm. I’ve been aware enough to realign myself, take care of myself, and boldly declare to the waves, “Not this time.”
I am learning to sleep while rocking ferociously across transition waves. It’s not easy to do, but it’s a simple enough concept. I’ll stop opposing change, growth, and unexpected twists when I anticipate REST during the transition.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on whatlifewrites.com
Featured Image by Leo Roomets