“Change – n. the act or instance of making or becoming different.”
I’ve never really been the type of girl who enjoys change. I distinctly remember drawing a very solemn Stitch on my whiteboard during the last few days as a freshman in college. Those who I considered to be my life-long brothers and sister were gathered in my dorm room for one last hurrah before summer break. In that moment, among various others, I could emotionally connect with Hermione when she asked the guys, “Everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?”
I didn’t want things to change. I was perfectly pleased being as we were, filled with anticipation for the coming years and still consumed by laughter with enough time for one another. No one felt neglected. There were no mixed emotions or awkward feelings between us. We were easily excitable; our future seemed so easily obtained that there were few worries between the five of us.
Everything changed, as things often do, and it took time for me to cope with it. There were rifts and emotional turmoil, as well as heaping doses of worry, stress, and reality thrown into the mix. Difficult lessons were learned, and through all of it somehow there was growth.
Now, three years later, I have a completely different outlook on change.
Despite the fear and worry that can come with it, we shouldn’t run away from change. Yes, it’s understandably intimidating! At the same time, it is fantastically interesting and absolutely necessary. To look back over one’s life and see the how behind the metamorphosis is riveting. The clarity we now have as we delve into our past gives us a better appreciation for what we have been through.
For example, when I began my freshman year of college, I had this… well, honestly this uncanny confidence in humanity. I genuinely believed that every person was good and had no ill intent towards me or anyone else. However, I was playing with fire concerning an older man who, I believe, had every intention to take advantage of me. He was kind and flirtatious when I complied to his tastes… yet the instant I showed signs of defiance or an inkling that I had my own voice or opinion? I suddenly became unfit of his attention or time. This lasted even after I withdrew from college! Granted, I gave him a few years of silence after receiving a threat from him. He made contact with me through Snapchat and I reluctantly agreed to see him. Needless to say, after attending a meeting with him one night and being humiliated and manipulated, it finally donned on me that I was merely a plaything to him. He did not respect me as a woman or as a human being, and thankfully I finally realized that I was worth more than how he made me feel.
Even though I would never wish that kind of experience on anyone, I am thankful for it. Oddly enough to some, I look back on my life and can’t think of any situation that I would erase or alter even the slightest detail in.
You see, I am no longer a naive young woman without a voice of her own. I used to have others handle my conflicts because I feared it so much. Even though I still dislike it, I am able to stand my ground and respectfully and lovingly handle conflicts. How is that possible? Growth. Change. What I’ve been through allowed me to learn, which lead to growth and maturity, ultimately changing a few aspects of who I am as an individual. This may seem obvious to some, but I know many who still hate the possibility of change in their lives, regardless of the positive effects.
I used to be one of them: “I like things just the way they are, thank you very much! Who needs change? Why would I want to lose what I have right here and now? The future couldn’t possibly offer me anything better than what today has given me! Tomorrow scares me. What if things change and can never go back to how they were? I can’t handle that.. I can’t risk that.”
I understand, trust me! I hope you understand that to stay in one place in time ultimately stunts your growth and the growth of those around you. “How can that be,” you ask? Well, think of it this way: A baby needs to be able to fall in order to learn how to stand back up and get going on her little wobbly way again. She also needs to learn how to go to sleep on her own, eat solid foods and go to the bathroom like a big-girl. Could you imagine a 22 year old woman who still needs to be picked up by someone else when she falls, tucked in and checked on every 10 minutes at bedtime, eats mashed peas and carrots and still wears diapers?
“Well that’s just ridiculous,” you say. Yes, it is. Don’t you realize that you’re stunting your own growth by trying to stifle necessary changes in your life? You could be potentially hurting those around you as well, like your children, family members, friends or even co-workers. I don’t know your exact situation but I can tell you from experience, change is essential for life to be lived.
I have certainly been through many changes, other than the obvious puberty and whatnot. I have lost quite a bit in life, and each loss taught me how to appreciate what and who is still with me. I have been hurt by many people, yet I still have hope in others and I have learned how to forgive as I have been forgiven by God. I have come close to death myself, and now I greatly value the life I have been given. I have lived selfishly and out of God’s will for my life, and now I can’t imagine going back to the misery and emptiness I once had. I have experienced what life is like while running away from God, and can rejoice in the beauty and JOY I have now that I spend each day running towards Him. I have lived silently, battling things on my own… now, I cannot imagine going through this life alone and without hope or help.
I am not who I once was. And I am perfectly pleased with who I have become and am anxious to see who I have yet to be.
Change doesn’t have to be gloomy or petrifying. Sieze the opportunity that change provides! It may open up a door for a better job, an adventure or two, romance, new life… the possibilities are endless.
Don’t let the fear of tomorrow keep you from living. You can do this. Just breathe, and take that next step. We’re all right there with you, trying out best to follow suit, one baby step at a time. We may fall down, but the best part is that we can get back up. Be thankful for what was, find joy in what is, and have hope for what may be.