A wise man once wrote:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace, (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
Life is rhythmic. Change is a constant. Seasons change. Babies grow up. Prized possessions tarnish and break down. Friendships cycle through changes. Viewpoints shift. Minds change. Hearts get pulled in different directions. Passions fade only to be replaced by others.
In my mind, there are two main postures I can choose to embrace toward change. I can be a tortoise. Or, I can be a caterpillar.
When a tortoise sees a threat, he simply withdraws into the safety of his shell. And, even when he’s not faced with impending doom, he’s not really moving that quickly to begin with. He’s moseying along. He isn’t preparing. He isn’t taking personal inventory. He isn’t surveying the horizon. He’s just thinking about his next meal and trying to stay out of trouble, valuing stability and security.
Change is intrinsic to the caterpillar. It’s part of her nature, her DNA. She spends her days munching away on green leaves. She’s preparing, gaining strength, looking for a great place to build her cocoon. Then, when the time is right, the process begins. Sometimes I wonder if the metamorphosis is painful for the caterpillar. Her entire body changes: old parts are discarded, new parts form. Then, the struggle. She twists and turns, strains and heaves. Then, eventually, the first ray of light pushes through the cocoon, she forces her way out and she is free. She’s an entirely different creature ready for an entirely new kind of life.
I want to be a caterpillar.
I’m in a season of change. I really want to embrace the fact that this is a part of life. It’s more of an opportunity than a threat. And, in the end, it may be more of a blessing than a curse. I believe there are four things that I must keep in mind—each a necessary part of the formula—while going through this season of change.
It is time to slow down. Not just tap on the brakes, but pull over to the side of the road, put it in park, turn off the engine and lean back in the seat. I’ve been given a gift and it doesn’t include 50-hour weeks, early mornings, late nights, worry, responsibility and deadlines. I have to seize the opportunity so I can …
2. Take stock.
It is a time for prayer, Bible study, quiet introspection, writing in a journal, blogging, long talks with Kelly and discussions with friends. It’s a prime opportunity to take stock of who I am, how God has wired me, what he has prepared my family for, what the world needs, and how I can make an impact. I have a chance to be prepared to …
3. Step into the unknown.
I’ll be the first to admit that stepping out into an uncertain future is scary to me. I like comfort and security. (I tend toward being a tortoise at times.) But, this is a chance that I wouldn’t have been afforded if not for the previous season coming to an end. What is next for me? I’m not sure; but I’m excited to find out. Until then, I must …
4. Remain faithful.
I’m sure there will be both good and bad days. There will be days when I long for the security I once had. I’m sure that Satan would like nothing more than to use this as a way of gaining a foothold in my life. But, I know that if I cling to God, we’re going to be absolutely fine. And, like the caterpillar, I might be stunned at what’s just on the other side of this season of change.
Sure, like Solomon advised, I’ll take time to weep, uproot, tear down, heal, mend, be silent and make peace. Then, I’m so excited to begin planting, building, laughing, dancing, embracing, searching, speaking and loving.
It’s all good.
God’s in control. Change is a part of life. And, I’m excited to see what it brings!