I dashed into Superstore to pick up a few things, and it hit me. As I saw the shelves, newly stocked with school supplies, I realized with a start that this was the first fall in 20 years that I would not be buying any! What a great thought! I should have done cartwheels right there in the aisle! But the thoughts that tumbled around that realization were mixed, and I pondered them over the next days.
My summer has been filled with change. Graduation excitement for one son and busy wedding preparations for another son have all melted away now. There is a sense that life is as it should be — we raise our children to give them wings — but it is an adjustment when the house is quiet and the groceries in the fridge last.
Life changes. In the past six months my job has changed, my husband’s job has taken him out of town more than ever, we have had the graduation and the wedding, a couple of funerals, and to top it off, I have periods of feeling very hot when I am used to being a “cold” person. Hmmm….
There have been a lot of adjustments — to new schedules, new routines, a much quieter house, changes in relationships, a birthday passing with the person no longer there to phone. They say change is the only constant in life. I pondered all of my changes. Some of them I like, others I don’t care for, but all of them are simply part of life. Change has not always been easy, but for the most part, we have thrived because of it and loved it.
I realized there were principles I had put into practice in the past that had served me well. It was time to dust them off and remind myself of them in this new period of change.
- Maximize the pros and minimize the cons. Change often has both positive and negative aspects to it. Sometimes the balance isn’t equal, yet in every situation of change, we get to choose where we will dwell. Maximize the positive and don’t linger on the negative. Choose to smile.
- Enjoy the moment. Change is inevitable and this particular space in time is a treasure, even if it is hard. Don’t wait to enjoy life. Engage in this moment in life. Choose to laugh.
- Appreciate people. Without people, life is empty. God created us as social creatures. We need each other. Dare to reach out.
- Cultivate a thankful heart. Do you know that God always has kindness of heart toward you? Sometimes in changes or transition, we can mistakenly begin to feel God is working against us. But He always works in love in our lives. Never doubt the goodness of God toward you. Find the little things to be thankful for. Gratitude puts a softness in your eyes and is tonic for the soul. Choose thankfulness.
- Invite God into every change. Some changes are hard and we struggle against them. God desires to walk beside you and give you the strength and wisdom you need to handle each changing situation in your life. He can be counted on when no one and nothing else can! Ask Him for help. He promises to answer all those who call on Him. Invite God in.
As I think back over the changes of my life and realize how these five conscious decisions have helped me, I am determined to look to the future with eager anticipation. Stopping to ponder has confirmed the track record of God in my life as I called on Him to be my source when these decisions were difficult.
You cannot always choose the changes that come your way. But you can always choose your response.