Only God could say what this new spirit forming in you will be… accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose Wisely.
—Karen Kaiser Clark
When the winds of change blow in it can be unsettling. Scary, even.
Especially when the change is dramatic. Like the unexpected loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job, or our health. That kind of change in life upends us. Leaving us with a sense of uncertainty. Insecurity. Upheaval.
No wonder we seem so averse to change.
Although change of any kind can be painful, it can also be a place of growth. A place where our faith stretches. A space that is transformative.
I think one of the reasons why we resist change so much, is that we like to feel safe. Cozy. Comfortable.
I know that is how it’s been lately in my life.
But, that’s not how it always was.
My hubby and I, in our younger days, were adventuresome. We embraced change.
When Rey had the opportunity to play basketball in France we welcomed it with open arms and made the move.
When a church in Colorado Springs needed a Youth Leader, we dove right in and loved every minute of it.
I remember the day we moved to White Bear Lake. I stood on our front stoop and asked God not to let me drive my tent stakes down too deep. I wanted to be willing to pull them up again if God had other plans.
But, then life happened. We rooted ourselves firmly. In the neighbourhood. In our kid’s activities. At church.
Oh, we still took little adventures now and again. I went to Ukraine to speak at a Women’s Conference. Rey went to Tijuana with the Youth that he’s been a part of for 20+ years.
I even went back to school to become a certified Spiritual Director and started my own publishing company.
But, that’s almost a decade ago now.
Then, a year and a half ago we lost our dearest friend to a three-week battle with cancer. It rocked our world. We had always assumed we would grow old together.
Amid our deep grief, I began to sense the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart. Telling me it was time to let go and play it safe no longer. It was time to be stretched. Because life is short.
And, as is the way of God, little thoughts kept coming up in whatever book I was reading. Like this quote by one of my favorite authors Frederick Buechner…
Faith is stepping out into the unknown with nothing to guide you but a hand just beyond your grasp.
Or, this quote by Roy T. Bennet,
It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.
Or, this thought by Chrystal Evans Hurst…
Even though her shift in season was unexpected, life-changing and unsettling, she embraced it.
Last summer a shift in winds came in the form of a phone call and a question. Would we be willing to meet with a precious young man to discuss something? To which we answered, “Yes, we would.”
Then the day came. And I nervously sat across from Aaron Freer as he asked us if we would leave the church we loved, to join him in a new church plant, a new beginning, Genesis East.
I must admit, we wrestled with the decision of joining he and Kate all summer long. At first, we couldn’t discern what God had in mind. Even well into the fall, we wondered, prayed, and fasted.
But, as God would have it, Rey just happened to be reading Intentional Living by John Maxwell, as well as Erwin McManus’ book The Last Arrow. And I had been reading Falling Upward by Richard Rohr.
We both knew God was preparing us for something new. Our own new beginning.
At our age, it’s easy to get comfortable. To get stuck. To grow rigid.
I’m turning 60 next month. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
So, we're off and running with Genesis East and loving every minute of it.
Will you embrace the winds of change in your life? Even if it is uncomfortable? Even if it hurts?
I leave you with these beautiful words to ponder as this new year unfolds…
Don't just learn, experience.
Don't just read, absorb.
Don't just change, transform.
Don't just relate, advocate.
Don't just promise, prove.
Don't just criticize, encourage.
Don't just think, ponder.
Don't just take, give.
Don't just see, feel.
Don’t just dream, do.
Don't just hear, listen.
Don't just talk, act.
Don't just tell, show.
Don't just exist, live.
―Roy T. Bennet