I’ve always said I like change. I feel a renewed sense of energy, a breath of fresh air, and generally uplifted when I see purposeful shifts around me. Lately I’ve been learning that this is actually a very conditional attitude: I like change when it’s my idea. And while I can put a positive spin on most things, some things just are not exciting to me. For example, I had a weird couple of days last week. My car broke down, and my phone decided to intermittently quit throughout the day. Obviously these things happen, and there’s simply nothing I can do to avoid them, but they cause me to feel deeply unsettled and resistant. I resist new things when they aren’t my plan because they are inconvenient, and I prefer the comfort of knowing how to use my phone and understanding which dial will turn up my radio and which will turn down my A/C. These events were certainly not life-shifting, but they were piled atop an accumulation of unwelcome transitions the last few months have thrown my way. Movement, whether internal or external, naturally causes friction, and this generally is uncomfortable.
Acknowledging this tension peeled back a fog that had been blinding me from seeing another area in which I resist change: my walk with God. I recognize my need for Him for life and grace each day, but sometimes I am unaware of the way He is moving or speaking simply because it may be different from the way He spoke yesterday (and even more so, what He asks of me may be different from what I am yearning for). Bits of change and discomfort this week, added to an already bubbling inner turmoil of angst, sadness, and anxiety that has been welling within me, pushed aside by busyness and pretending. I think there are ways that God uses external change in my life to upset my self-sufficiency ever so slightly so that He can ask me again to rely on Him daily. When I’m slightly shifted, the life I’ve built around me as a well-oiled machine is sent tumbling, and I am reminded that what I know is not all that exists here on earth.
Currently, this all feels like chaos – confusion and uncertainty tend to be my enemies – and I am unsure as to how I will find a positive spin in the way I normally do. Yet something deep in me knows that there are ways that the Spirit will meet me in times of chaos where I have never looked for Him in times of order. I feel uncertain and out of my element, but I remember that God is a good Father, and therefore I have hope.
All that to say, I still feel resistant, but I tend to remember the words of Romans 8 in times like this. In the midst of misunderstanding and an unsure future, I know that the character of God remains. And while I cannot compare my current trials to those the church faced in Romans, I think there is a common thread that resonates with me, which is simply the struggle to live and flourish as a human in a broken world. In times like these, I pause to let these words sink in:
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
Romans 8: 16-25