Finding God in the Change
My family loves cars. Back in the day, my Mom had an F250 called Bonnie Blue, and if you were under 5’7”, you needed a step stool to get in the passenger’s seat. A shiny Mustang GT was my brother’s choice, with a muffler so loud, you could hear him from a few streets over, and I had an Acura 2.5TL, with two kicker twelves and an Alpine amp, so you could also hear me from a mile away, as well.
Don’t tell anyone, but in certain parts of the South, kids learn to drive in open fields, when they are but wee little tweens, and in my family specifically, learning on a stick shift first, was a requirement. Because, obviously, if you can’t rev an engine, and threaten to drag the person next to you at stoplights, what is the actual point in driving?
I discovered the hard way (after blowing up an engine, transmission and hydraulic center on my car), that if you don’t shift at the right time, you’ll either stall out, lose momentum, or send that sweet ride to an early grave. Still, no matter how tired we get of changing gears, a manual car will always require us to shift. Life is the same way, and as the wise old sage, Heraclitus said, “The only thing constant, is change.” Transition is a way of life, and if we don’t get great at shifting, we risk not gaining speed, getting paralyzed in our purpose, or killing ourselves with worry, anxiety, fear, and fatigue.
Here’s what I’ve discovered in nearly every transition: I am almost always surprised. It goes something like this: Life is moving along, and BAM, a gain, a loss, a betrayal, a necessary decision, and even though I’ve made thousands of transitions in my life, I am shocked, like, what the heck is happening here? Are you for real right now – another transition? (Are you like this as well?)
Even the good ones catch me off guard. You know, get married and find out how selfish you are. Try, or start to grow a family, and observe out how angry you are. Accomplish a dream, and discover how much responsibility you have. (Anyone else have to remind themselves that these are the (annoying) problems we prayed for?)
I think, in the digital, information age we are living in right now, our pace is often faster than our capacity, and in the process of change, it’s easy to let our lives become unsustainable and unmanageable. We need to slow down and reflect, in order to prepare for our next step, but it’s like shifting into third gear when we’re already traveling in fifth.
Our souls adopt the same cultural stress, as we find ourselves running at break neck speeds, when all of sudden (SURPRISE) a change comes that triggers anxiety, fear, panic and paralysis. We can feel confused and disoriented, and wondering, God, where are you?
Well, before we blow up an engine, let’s discover together how to transform our perspective, so that we can live well, as we transition. We can shift our minds to allow the process to be our focus in transition, instead of just the outcomes, because how we get from here to there matters as much, if not more, than getting there.
Friend, I live in perpetual transition, and it gets on my last good nerve, but perhaps there is blessing for us in the messy middle. Over the next seven days, I’d love to share what I’m learning, from the middle of transition, hoping that it will bless you, and help you find God wherever you are right now.
PRACTICE: Set an alarm for five minutes. Put your phone in airplane mode, and sit uninterrupted for the full time. Take deep breaths, and focus on the inhale and exhale. As you still your body and mind, and without any judgment or criticism, think about what you need during this transition. What do you need from God? What do you need from yourself? What do you need from others?