I have learned so much about myself since the last time I got on here to write about my left turn into Grad School. I just thought there was one wrinkle in my life. But no, I was wrong. In the last few months there have be changes in my life top to bottom. Seriously, I don’t think there is a single area of my life that has not been affected.
I can’t talk about all the way’s I have experienced change in the last few months because then this post would be 10,000 words. But I will talk about the ones that are most prominent.
The hardest one is that we are going through a leadership change at our church. I have not been in church world long, but from what I understand this is a normal thing that goes on in church world. Leaders move on to do other things. This has been going on since the Church was created 2000 years ago. And change is good for us, but it also makes us concerned. There is a reason that God calls us “sheep” in the bible. That is because we act like sheep. And when sheep lose their leader they panic. I have felt that for sure.
The change that I have had to endure the longest is building a church building and being a mobile church. This change, if I am honest, feels ridiculous to me at this point. I don’t understand the year long delay in completion, I get angry when I think about it. I am sick of packing and unpacking the trailers every weekend. Actually, to keep this honest, I am sick of watching the trailers being packed and unpacked because I have not really done much of the heavy lifting. This change has also required marital negotiations between Jesse and I because someone has to be up at the building making sure stuff is getting done and someone wants that person home because she has never had to do without him in the evenings. (spoiled, I know.) This particular change has also taught us how to navigate disappointment. You get your hopes up that it is finally going to finished only to learn that the lights on the outside of the building have to be changed because Rockwall is a “dark sky city,” and no outside lights can point upward. Ok, Jesse will get right on that.
Now, before you think I have stumbled into grumbling and complaining let me get to the point I want to make about what I have learned in this change. First, when change happens it looks like Jesse is going to be the poster child for what a Godly response looks like, and I am going to be your sinful example. Second, my only way to save face here is to be honest with you and tell you how I have dealt with all this change so that maybe I can save one of you from going down this road.
So, here is a list of what not to do in change:
1. Do not try to control the situation. My response is, “Well, I will just micro-manage all the people and situations back into order.” This does not go well because this sets you up to oppose God and people don’t like being bossed around.
2. Do not speculate on what the outcome will be. This will cause you to put your hope in the outcome you feel you can tolerate instead of the One who is literally in control of the outcome.
3. Do not be demanding. I think I fall into this tactic to try to get people to appease the fear I have. I make demands like, “You better figure this out or I am going to do it myself.” Or “If ______ happens I cannot deal with it so I am out of here.”
4. Do not talk about how bad the change is to everyone who will listen. There is something that happens when we just keep hashing up how bad change is. I think it’s like this: You know how when you are memorizing something and you have to say it over and over until you know it by heart? Well I think the same thing happens when you are talking about something negative, you talk about it so much that it’s the first thing your mind goes to. I am not saying we don’t deal with our stuff; I am saying deal with it and then think about something else.
5. Don’t dwell on how good things “use to be.” Remembering the good ol’ days does not help you move into the new days in a positive way. Not to get to tripped out on Saturday morning, but what if the good ol’ days suck compared to what is going to happen in the new good ol’ days.
I have done each of these things, had to repent and change my thinking. I have spent a lot of time praying. I have embarrassed myself by letting off steam on someone only to have to go back and say, “I am sorry I spoke that way.” It is the definition of “in process.”
But my husband, who is brilliant, chose a different tactic. He chose to just keep quietly showing up, and getting through that day. He has exercised faith where I exercised emotion. He focused on building relationships with the very people who I was angry with because they missed a deadline. He keeps getting up, reading his bible, going to the build site, going to staff meeting and loving people. He gets mad sure, but he talks to himself in a different way. Let me show you.
When I get upset about something Jesse says to me, “Sarah, we just have to do what God told us to do. We are supposed to gather with other believers on Sunday and remember Jesus, Love God above everything else and love His people. And we are doing that no matter if we are a mobile church or in a building, that doesn’t change.” He then goes on to say, “Babe, we just gotta keep showing up. If we keep showing up, other people will too.” And that is it right there people. That might be the most profound statement I have ever heard. That statement literally has changed the way I look at change.
“We gotta just keep showing up.”
Look at Romans 5: 3-5
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
When we just keep showing up God can develop a strength of character in us. If we avoid showing up by doing the things on the list I gave you from above, we miss out on developing endurance. Growth in your life will happen when you don’t run or avoid trials. Romans 5: 3 says we can rejoice when we run in to problems!
And maybe we should address the fact that most of us, if we hit a trial, assume that God has failed us. Pick up your bible folks, trials come to those He loves because He is in the business of making us more like Jesus. If we run from discomfort, He won’t smite you, but you are missing out on that confident hope of salvation referenced in the above verse. Abraham, Moses, Peter, Paul, Stephen, and John all lived from one discomfort to the next. The problems and trials they had to live through made them into our Heroes of the Faith. They did not cut and run and tell anyone who would listen that life was too hard. No, they stayed in it because they believed God was in charge of it all. Heck, Paul wrote a letter to the Philippians about Joy FROM HIS JAIL CELL!
I am sufficiently humbled, and I hope you have learned from my bad example. Jess is right! We just have to keep showing up. We have to gather on Sunday and remember Jesus. We have to love God above all else and we have to love His people. I want to learn how to rejoice in trials and change because I don’t want to spend my life running from change. I want to have endurance developed in me by the Lord because I want the confident hope. But most of all I want to keep showing up so you will too. Together we can keep moving forward toward that hope that will not lead to disappointment. So, see you Sunday?
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