Friday, June 7, 2019

five life-giving steps for walking through change (and remembering who you are)

I’ve dubbed the first few months of 2019 the hardest I’ve ever lived. This moving out of the safe house in Hong Kong with those remarkable lively women, back to my homeland--for a few different unpredictable reasons that dug their ugh deep into my heart--it has been hard. 

But tonight I went to the movies with my sister and the kids and watched The Secret Life of Pets 2 and laughed hard and loud and then we came home and caught lighting bugs in the backyard and man, life's hard but not nearly as hard as it is glorious. 

And as the hardness of the change lingers but the awareness of God's delight in me grows, I've decided to read more books and grow more plants and wear more lipstick and talk to my delighted-in-me God more often. 

So let me make a public declaration:
I'm done whining and worrying about my life right now. 

It's true that I don't live in Asia anymore, I don't walk by the ocean every night, those beautiful women from Africa are no longer my roommates, and there are approximately 8,000 things I miss. And about 8,000 more I don't understand. 

 But it's also true that my sister's kids who I cried for during the two years I lived in Asia are now living across the hall from me and asking me to tell them stories every night before bed. 

And here's what else is true, change is a booger and boy we go through a lot of it in life. All of us. Extremely painful change, inevitable for everyone. 

I keep burying my head in God's chest and crying. He keeps wrapping big arms around me and saying kind and true words to my soul. 

Help us go through it well, God. 

If we'll join our hearts up with His during the changes, He will use them to shape us and help us and teach us important things we need to be taught. Like, He loved taking care of us back then, and He loves taking care of us right now. The care coming out of His unbelievably good heart is constant. Stable. Doesn't change. 
What a relief. 

An expert at comparison--my life to her's and my purpose to his and my happiness to their's and then I even compare my current self to my used-to-be-self and think that my used-to-be-self was better--let me tell you that being an expert at comparison is an awful and stupid thing to be an expert at. So I'm retiring.  

Comparing and changing and self-pitying helped me to kinda forget who I was. So me and God are still in the teaching-me-who-I-am process. And the amazings He's given me as friends and family, they're teaching me who I am, too. I taped a bunch of pictures across the wall beside my bed--smiling people who love me, secured next to my head. I named it my "identity wall." 

Five life-giving steps I've found helpful as I'm walking (not crawling...anymore) through change: 

1. Don't have pity parties. 
Look around for something to be thankful for, then be thankful for it. You'll probably find a few million things and spend the rest of your life listing off the thankfuls. 

2. Don't compare yourself to A.N.Y.B.O.D.Y.
 Including your old self. 
You're not your heroes, you're not your parents, you're not whoever else you may think you wish you were. You're you. Do you. Be proud of you. Explore you. Are you super weird and don't know anybody else like yourself? Awesome. Me, too. You were God's original idea and He only has good ideas.

3. Don't worry about what others are thinking about ya. 
Talk to Jesus, worship Jesus, read what He's saying in the Bible, listen to Jesus--then don't mind at all if others think you're not amazing. He thinks you're amazing and His opinion is the only one that counts.  

4. Find friends and lean on them. 
"Community" it's called and it's oh-so-important. Call up some friends, cry to them, bare your soul to them, listen to them.
(and maybe tape pictures of them on your bedroom wall) 

5. If you only listen to one of the suggestions, listen to this one:  pray pray pray. Talk to God about every single thing going on in your heart during the change and ask Him for all His help. He loves an open heart, even if it smells like manure and looks like poison. He's not intimated and can cradle those things back to healthy thriving life. That's what He's been doing with mine. 
(and get all the friends taped to your wall to pray for you, too)

I've been studying new ways to pray then taking my findings into drug rehabs and we're getting closer to Jesus together. He's the best conversation Partner and the best helper and the best everything. 

We're going to make it. And when He's the leader of your life, everything really is going to be ok. 

Chin up! He's got you. 

Those who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed. 
-Isaiah 49:23

p.s. The Secret Life of Pets 2 is my new favorite movie.