The Constancy of Change
It has taken me nearly 30 years, but I’ve finally come to understand that everything is in a constant state of change.
I understood a variation of that statement early on in my life. As a kid, I understood change happened every time I celebrated turning a year older or started a new grade in school. I got that things changed. But I missed that they changed constantly. Life felt stable and static by and large, change only taking place a couple days out of the year.
As I got older, though, I felt life speed up. Adults always talk about how fast time goes, and, once I became an adult, I started to understand what they meant. I graduated college and got married and got a mortgage and had two babies that turned into little girls all within 10 years of my graduating high school.
Time flew. Change happened a lot more often than twice a year. Change became a seasonal occurrence.
Having kids makes you start to measure everything in months. The baby rolled over at 3 months. She changed. She sat up at 6 months. More change. She spoke her first word at 9 months. She didn’t walk til 16 months. Her milestones flew by: first Christmas, first Easter, first birthday, first haircut. Change.
Frequent change. That’s what I understood life to be.
But as that baby approaches her 5-and-a-half year old birthday, I am fully internalizing that change isn’t just frequent – it’s constant.
Whether I like it or not, every moment of every day is evolving me and my loved ones into something different.
This news kind of wrecks my whole life plan.
We spend our time as kids oblivious to the fact that our years with our best friend are limited. As teenagers we lack the foresight to realize we won’t be competitive athletes for much longer. As college students we don’t understand the extent to which careers, marriages, and families will forever change our “normal.” As young adults, we don’t get that whatever we’re working to “achieve” and “perfect” – careers, marriages, and families – won’t remain “perfected” for long.
We work so hard to make cozy, routine lives for ourselves… lives that don’t involve change unless we want them to. And when that doesn’t work, we don’t just see the tip – we run smack into the proverbial iceberg that is constant change.
The light bulb comes on.
We experience that the very definition of life must include the phrase “constant change.”
I say all this because I’ve found myself hating change. More than once I’ve thought, “I had a good thing going. I didn’t want it to change. I wanted that good thing to stay that way forever. Literally. Forever. But life changed it. And not for the better. At least not that I can see.”
When I talk to Jesus about this kind of thing, He doesn’t undo the changes or promise there won’t be more changes to come. In fact, He just affirms to me more changes are coming. Life is change.
In other words, Jesus doesn’t tell me what I want to hear.
(Side note: you can tell you’re following a false god – a god of your own imagination – when he/she/it never upsets you.)
But Jesus does do something worth mentioning when I go to Him with my hurting heart.
He feels my emotion. He sits down next to me. And He empathizes. He tells me He hates the painful parts of life, too, and He reminds me that He never wanted it to be this way. In those moments, I can sense His longing for things to be made right again.
It pains Him, just as it pains me, that it’s not yet time for Him to redeem this broken place and us broken souls.
So Jesus and I sit in that mutual disappointment for a bit. We share silence. We reflect on the hurt. We soak in it. Together.
A lot of times I stop there. I feel defeated and give up. Or I get distracted. But that’s not a good place to end. It only leads to depression.
The better road to take is to give Jesus a few more minutes of my time. When I do, He eventually turns and looks me in the eye. And He speaks truth to me. “It’s not time yet, but the day is coming! I am going to fix all of this! Trust me, Kelly, trust me. Hang on! Hang on.”
No, Jesus doesn’t fix all my hurts when I want Him to. But He offers me the hope of the promise that He will one day.
That isn’t enough for a lot of people. And if I didn’t know Jesus personally, it wouldn’t be enough for me either. But I’ve seen His work. I am His work. He has kept so many other promises to me thus far. I have no reason to doubt Him now.
I have no reason to doubt Him now.