When life gives you change, embrace it.
That’s easy, isn’t it? Goodness gracious, NO! It’s not easy and it can be downright painful, but it’s what we are all faced with at one point or another.
My husband, our three kids and I lived in a small, friend-filled village in Buckinghamshire, England. We were surrounded by forests and horses, woodpeckers and wild blackberries, and it was perfect. (Well, the truth is it wasn’t “perfect,” but hindsight is 20/20, right?!) Foxes made nests in our back garden (aka “yard”) and tiny fox cubs frolicked in the early morning sun. Every weekday I walked my kids to the village school with my neighbor buddies. Then we’d cozy up with hot mugs of tea and encourage each other not to give up on this difficult parent job.
And then “change” made an unwelcome appearance at my front door. Change was afoot at my husband’s place of work and, to make a long story short, his new job would be in the Dallas metroplex, Texas.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Buckinghamshire in England, or Dallas in Texas, but they are as different from each other as silky puppy fur and vicious cactus spines. Difference is everywhere. The language is shared but separated by a vast ocean of history and dialect, the food is similar but different enough to be foreign, and the people are kind but they’re not the people of my land. Different is not wrong, but it is different.
We arrived in this home 9 years ago this October. To be honest, at first it was just a “house” until my heart learned to call it “home”. I had to drive on the “wrong” side of the road. And whilst we are at it, can we just acknowledge you lot (my US friends) also walk on the wrong side of the corridors! I can’t tell you how many times I have crashed into innocent strangers as I rounded a corner in the church or school hallways. I’ve had to learn to walk up and down public staircases with the flow of “righties” because there are very few of us who are “lefties” in the world, when it comes to travel!
Change reared its head in every area of our life. Did change always have an “ugly head”? No, but it was often a challenge. I had to register the children with new doctors, dentists, schools, ballet classes, football clubs, pre-school activities, and a million other places. We had to find all new electronic appliances because our power is different in the UK. I had to learn how to operate hot/cold air in our home. And can you just share in my pain for a moment and imagine what it’s like to make any applications on the phone? Do you know people take a moment to “tune in” to my accent? It’s true. Much like when you watch a Shakespeare play, it takes a moment to recognize and place my words somewhere in your mind map. Never easy, often embarrassing. “Oh, you mean your name is, “Sharon”? Sorry, I didn’t understand you.” (Insert silent, snarky eye roll!)
A little while into our new adventure in Texas, an innocent job around the house woke me up to my inner thoughts. Our home was painted bright orange with “splats” of brown. (I kid you not!) Of course, that needed to change. But, I just could not decide on what color we needed it to be. I had an interior designer come and chat with us about the light in Texas and the need for brighter colors than we were perhaps used to. All of which sounded fine to me. But I just could not get started on the project.
The day I realized I was held back by the fear of change was the day my intentions shifted in me. I had spent so long forced to look change dead in the eye, and I hated her almost perpetual company. Now I was about to make a change out of choice, but it was just too much. My “go with the flow of change” tank was empty. And I mean, I had licked the bottom of the tank so dry the metal base had holes worn in it. The unlovable color of the walls was unpleasant (note the British understatement), but if they stayed the same, no one’s life would be threatened. However, I was so surprised by the way my heart slammed the brakes on the project, I was forced to sit up and take notice.
When life gives you change, you need to take notice of how you respond to it. “I hate change.” Have you ever said those words? I know there are some of you who just love the challenge of change and who long for new experiences every single hour of your day. Not me. Don’t get me wrong, I love adventure, but it has to be measured! I began to see the measure I used was my own comfort and perceived safety.
I’m a Christian and to be more like Jesus day by day is what I desire the most. I long to be a better reflection of who He is to everyone I come into contact with. Even if you’re someone of no faith at all, we all want to be “better.” And guess what? In order for me to be more like Jesus, I need to CHANGE. In order to grow as people, we have to change. I noticed my habit was to run from change, which was not healthy. I heard myself say, “I hate change” which caused great discomfort somewhere deep inside my psyche. Friend, if we hate change, our lives and experiences will never be better. If we avoid change we can never improve. If we turn our heads away from the process of transformation we will never grow. I had to learn not to hate change but to embrace it.
You’ll be pleased to know we now sit and sip our English tea in our Texas house, and gaze upon the beauty of the gentle green paint and window shaped mirrors to reflect the bright Texas light. Yes, I actually made a decision for the change of the wall color! But it came when I realized change is good and change is necessary. Not only do I now accept change, but I embrace it.
My aim is to be more like Jesus, which requires change. I don’t say, “I hate change” anymore. I pay attention to myself when I begin to feel the need for self-created comfort and safety. I am now much more aware that change has got to be part of my journey. Friend, the change God calls us to will produce good gifts for you. God’s plans for you are perfect. (Jeremiah 29:11) Are His plans easy? Not always. Are they worth both the joy and the pain? Without question, yes. Will God walk with you through the change? Yes, He will be there every step of the way. When life gives you change, embrace it.
Submitted by: Sharon Tedford at 61 Things
Sharon Tedford is a longtime, avid writer. Her work includes plays, poems, songs, spoken word narratives, and creative worship experiences. 2017 marks the year she finally published some of her work, with the release of her first book, Stand - The Stories and Scriptures. This book was birthed out of the songs on the companion CD, also entitled Stand.
An experienced worship leader of more than 20 years and more recently a Bible teacher, Sharon has traveled the world, including her favorite setting so far—in the beautiful mountains of Australia. She is a Brit, currently residing in Texas. Not surprisingly, Sharon occasionally has a different perspective from those in her adopted home state.
Sharon loves diving deeply into words and has an uncanny gift to expound on the truth of Scripture through story and song. Her conversational writing style puts people at ease and leaves the reader feeling as though they have enjoyed a chat and a warming cup of tea with a friend. If you’re not a Brit, you may find yourself reading her work with an internal English accent – you have been warned!
Sharon lives with her Irish husband—yes, more than one accent in her house—and three children. If you’re looking for Sharon, you’ll probably find her at her local shoe store.
Learn more about Sharon HERE