Many times when we talk about life, we talk about fearing change. It is said that many people fear the unknown and what life will be like after a major shift in circumstances. But I've discovered that for a lot of us, the really big fear isn't change. The fear is that things won't change. Chatting with my sista-girlfriend over text this morning reminded me of that. Part of what's draining about undesirable circumstances is that you have to continue to face them day in and day out. Movement towards the exit sign of a bad season always feels slow and incremental, if you are privileged enough to see any movement at all. Often things are at such a standstill that it becomes so easy to let go of hopes, dreams, and visions that once upon a time you would cling to ferociously. Holding patterns have that effect.
As we were chatting I was reminded that things do in fact change and pretty quickly despite all indications otherwise. This time two years ago I celebrated my 35th birthday and was very unhappy. My ministry activities were showing limited potential, husband had just started a new business so we were more than broke, and all of my seminary colleagues with whom I'd graduated had paid ministry positions while I was just trying to figure life out. Then I made the bold and risky move of parting with my church home and remaining homeless until God said otherwise. Over the year that followed, I preached and taught more than I had during any other year in ministry. During that time I was able to reinvent and reposition myself.
Fast forward to October 2011, the business is thriving (although finances are still on the mend) and I have a church home where I'm serving and I'm happy. Now this is not one of those "happy ending" stories because I still have major frustrations and worry that many other things won't change. For example, the blessing of a new church home seemed to come at an expense because the Lord dried up my preaching schedule and I've preached/taught less in 2011 than any other year in ministry (just look at my itinerary and you'll see). But what the last two years have taught me is that there is no need to fear things won't change because they will, even if it's not exactly in the ways you want.