Anyone who’s lived long enough knows, in this life, change is inevitable. Yet, no one tells you how to interact with it once it penetrates your life. Frankly, the only way to face change is to embrace it.
Experience has shown those who’ve come before us that change will occur, as it’s one of the constants in life. It’s why our parents try to pass down this wisdom, as they’ve gone through it. Because no matter how much we prepare or plan for bumps in the road, there will inevitably be several potholes we hit along our drive of life. Perhaps the most critical factor to remember is that while we are partial creators of our lives, instances in and outside of it will happen regardless.
Life is full of obstacles, some you see coming, and others, you don’t. Let’s say you weren’t expecting a child, but your wife is pregnant. Well, becoming a parent is one of the most notable changes you’ll ever deal with in this lifetime. One in which you’re no longer responsible for just you, but for another human being altogether, whom you must protect, nurture, and care for, well, at least, if you’re a decent person.
There are sudden life changes, and then there are long, drawn-out ones. You know, the kinds that leave you feeling like they’ll never end, such as moving. You’ve bought a dream house in another state, but your worries don’t end there. You must find a way to move all of your belongings, obtain a new license, get your vehicle registered in the new state, get your child enrolled in school, possibly encounter new state taxes or cost of living variables, and more. On top of attempting to navigate a new area to find where you’ll shop for groceries and clothes while simultaneously spotting places for potential dates with your spouse, and fun venues, you can take the kids too.
Now hopefully, you’ve done some research before your big move by visiting the state and neighborhood you’ll be moving into a few times before you made the decision. That way, the transition will be as smooth as possible. However, as with any change in life, there are always unexpected turns and outcomes. You may be one of the most meticulous people on the planet and believe you’ve thought of every situation your family could encounter during this change—staying up until two in the morning, sifting through moving guides online, while researching the best route to travel to your new home. Yet, even the most particular of planners cannot meet the match of life and its unpredictability.
Fast forward a few months, and it’s now winter. Things have been going well for you and your family in the new state. That is, until this morning, when you were driving to work. You were driving down the same roads you always do for your daily commute, except this time, a deer ran right across the street as you approached 50 miles per hour. You slam on your brakes to avoid hitting the animal, your car spins out of control as you crash into a side railing, your head slamming into the wheel, as the vehicle dangles over a ledge 100 feet in the air.
Dizzy, confused, and dazed, you sit upright and muster up just enough energy to pull yourself out of the car. You call your spouse, and they rush you to the hospital. On the way, you realize something. You’re now living in a state where it snows, and you didn’t purchase snow tires. It’s likely the reason you spun out so aggressively and could’ve even lost your life.
You ask yourself, how could I have made such an oversight? Putting your safety, well-being, and family’s life as they know it all at risk. You did almost everything right, almost. The point here is not to embrace a horrific experience but rather embrace changes as they come into your life because they will come. Sometimes, the changes will be meaningful and productive, while others will leave you feeling a little empty.
It’s important to note, though, that embracing change, good or bad, will leave you feeling happier and more content. You cannot control every variable life has to offer. So ask yourself, what can you control? Moreover, how can you win when you’re set up to lose? How can you turn a negative into a positive? How can you turn something good into something great? The answers all lie within your ability to embrace change.
You may be saying, this is crazy. I am supposed to embrace the fact that I could’ve lost my life? Well, in a way, yes. Not so much in believing it was a productive instance that needed to happen to you to get to where you are now. But in that maybe it’s given you more gratitude for the things you do have. Perhaps your initial inspiration to move was a bit selfish, to get a bigger house, where you can store more stuff, and have a massive garage to buy more cars, and this was a wake-up call to get you to focus on the areas of life that truly matter, such as taking your whole family’s desires into account. Or maybe your intentions to move were pure, but this moment became a part of your story, prompting you to hold your loved ones just a little closer at night, knowing you could be gone in the blink of an eye.
All of this is to say no matter how much we think or believe we are in control of our lives, life, and God, stand back with a grin, knowing our journeys are much more involved with change and growth than we could ever imagine. Although the destination is what we seek and will ultimately show the fruits of our labor, the road and process we use to get there matter equally. Don’t keep the change at bay; embrace it.