I stood on the back porch leaning against the house, shoulders drooped, hair covering my face as tears fell drip by drip onto the cement. I’d taken the trash out, but wasn’t quite ready to go back into the house. I was hoping I could also dump the trash in my soul right there on the ground. It hadn’t been a “super” Sunday, and as twilight covered the sky, the heaviness of the week ahead covered my heart.
My husband stepped outside and stood next to me. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing and everything. It’s just all the feels of the week ahead. It’s like every emoji on the keyboard all at once.”
He reached an arm around my shoulders and squeezed. “I understand. And it’s ok. Normal even.”
“Even good change is hard to handle.”
“Yes,” he sighed, “it is.”
We trudged back into the house, and I took a deep breath. Change is never easy, even when it’s good change.
Confess the struggle to God and to someone you trust
I’ve admitted my emotions, my fears, my what-ifs to God and to close friends and family. Admitting the struggle and our need for help is a huge step forward in the midst of life change, whether it’s a change we desired or not. It also allows God to speak to us through His Spirit and the people around us. He’s given confirmation after confirmation that this is the right move for me. I’m amazed at the things my friends have reminded me of. “Remember that conversation a year ago? This fulfills that!”
Admitting your struggle and need for help in the midst of change opens the door to see how God provides through his Spirit and His people.
Honor God with your words and actions
Oh, I came close to blowing it. The overwhelming emotions nearly got the best of me. I had to talk a walk, get some alone space, and keep close watch over my words. My prayer on the porch Sunday night was “God, help me honor you in the coming weeks and months. In the struggle, in the transition, may all I say and do bring honor to your name.”
Acknowledge how the change affects others.
In the middle of a big (or even small) life change, it can be easy to keep our eyes on ourselves, particularly if we are the ones the change affects most (ie: you’re the one taking a new job!). Remember to check in with those around you – your family members, your kids, your co-workers, anyone who is also affected by this change. A simple “How are you doing with all this?” can go a long way. It’s also a way to honor God (see above!).
Notice God’s Provisions
Keep an eye out for all the little details. Write them down so you don’t forget! And when you start to doubt that you made the right decision, or that God is with you in the change you didn’t ask for, turn back to those notes you’ve written to yourself. We think we will remember all these details that happen during a big life change. But as time passes, all those cool “only-God” moments can start to fade from memory. So write them down, even if it’s nothing more than a string of words to remind you of His stories of provision.
Keep a record of how you see God in all the details in the midst of a major life change.
I’ve often say in the middle of “what if” give thanks for “what is.” All those things you list listed about the provisions you’ve seen from God? Give thanks for those over and over. Express thanks to the people who’ve walked with you through this season of life. Sit down and write notes of thanks to those who’ve poured into your life not just in this season, but in seasons past too.
In the middle of what if, give thanks for what is.
Expect to have lots of ups and downs.
We know our emotions are unpredictable and untrustworthy. One minute we’re sure this was the right decision. The next, we think we’ve made the worst decision ever. One minute, we’re certain it’s all going to work out for good and God’s glory, the next we’re certain this situation only leads to failure. But the other thing we can expect is that God is with us and that He never changes, even though our emotions are unstable.
So, remember, CHANGE – Confess, Honor, Acknowledge, Notice, Give thanks, and Expect. These 6 things are keeping me focused during a pretty big life change. I hope they’ll help you too.
How do you handle life changes? I’d love to hear your tips and stories too.
Jessie Clemence’s book is a must-read for those going through a stressful season. She addresses life change throughout the book. Get it here!
I am a historical fiction lover, and in the midst of life-change, I love immersing myself in an inspiring story, especially if it’s based on history. Jocelyn Green’s newest novel fits the bill and follows a woman feeling the French Revolution and her journey to freedom and a new life in America. It’s a fascinating and beautiful story of hope and new life. Get it here!
Change can often come with a lot of fear. Carol Kent’s classic book Tame Your Fears is perfect for a season of change. I’ve heard her share some of these stories in person. She has lived a faithful life through many challenging life changes and is a wise teacher. Get it here!