Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It is Harder to Stay


Change.

I think when it comes to change you either love it or you hate it. What category do you fall in? I do not know many people who fall in the middle when it comes to change. There are some people out there who can become completely paralyzed at just the thought of experiencing a change in their lives.

Jon and I, we are familiar with changed. We expect change to come, anticipate it, and look forward to it. The circumstances in our lives have made us very accustomed to experiencing changes.

Before Jon graduated in May we began praying about what God wanted us to do after graduation. We felt a strong pull from the Lord that we needed to stay here in Texas. We heard the Lord telling us to stay at our current jobs and church. Let me tell you something, because we are so used to change, it has been incredibly challenging to stay where we are at. We have looked at many other options that we could pursue outside of Texas, but have not felt peace about it.

Last Sunday our Pastor began a new sermon series. He talked about Abram’s father who never made it all the way to Canaan, like God told him to, because he become content where he was. Our Pastor encouraged us to get up and walk wherever the Lord is calling us to go. For Jon and I that is an exciting thought! Before the Pastor was even finished with his sermon I was excited about what God was going to do and where He was going to take us! I was completely ready to move on from this place and onto the next thing that God has for us.

The music began and we all stood to sing a closing song, when God brought something completely different to my mind. He reminded me that we feel that we have been called to live here, until God calls us out. But the question that I could not get out of my head was, Have we really been here? Have we really begun to invest in people around us and make friendships? Or do we simply keep everyone at arm’s length, because we could move at anytime?

In that moment God convicted me about my unwillingness to be here in Texas. Ever since we moved here in January 2007, I have been trying to find a way out of this state. I realized that I am going through the motions, but my heart is so far behind. It will take time, but my prayer for Jon and I is that we will be able to serve God to the fullest no matter where we are and that we would have the courage to really develop relationships with people here.

I hope that you too have the courage to walk by faith and follow God where He is leading you.

In case you were wondering all of this was sparked from the Proverbs 31 devotional I read yesterday morning. Check it out if you have time.

. . . . . . . . . .
Greater Love
5 Oct 2010
Luann Prater

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 (NIV)

I'm a killer. Yes, you read that right. I'm laying it out there and admitting it. Although, it's probably not what you think ... I've been a friendship-killer for much of my life.

I've wondered if it is from my dysfunctional home life as a kid. We moved annually, which meant a different school every year until I was a teenager. For an extremely shy girl this was terrifying. Dread and cold sweats came the night before I had to face another new classroom, new stares, new whispers and new giggles.

The layers built up; I figured it didn't really matter if classmates liked me because I probably wouldn't be there long anyway. Occasionally I would open up just a bit. Then Mom would say, "Pack up," and along with the boxes, my heart would seal up too.

It just hurt too much to hope that friendships could ever last. I was certain they couldn't, so I killed them before they ever developed deep. End it now before I'm too invested, was my mindset.

Maybe you know exactly what I'm talking about. We can fool ourselves into thinking that we don't need to open up and risk the pain of rejection or the devastation of potential loss.

Girlfriend, let me tell you what I discovered. The apostle John paints a portrait of a warm, real Jesus. Through that portrait Jesus reached out to me. He came into my heart and at that moment the love of the Savior began changing my life. I now have a greater love. I have found the same living water that Jesus offered to the woman at the well in the gospel of John.

It's been a spring welling up to eternal life! And I've discovered that when you begin to live that effervescent life, it beco mes contagious! The joy that bubbles up from the inside cannot be hidden. Others are drawn to you and wonder how you can have joy in all circumstances.

And then it happens. Friendships develop. The old me would shut down, walk away or sabotage a relationship. I just didn't think I had what it takes to keep a friendship alive and healthy. And I don't, but God does. The new me embraces friends!

Maybe you've struggled with friendships. God crossed our paths today on purpose. He is asking us to take a risk. Let your guard down and love, as He loved us.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving me and teaching me how to welcome friends into my life with a greater love. Open my mind to see beyond myself today and take the risk of relationships built on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

22 comments:

Desiray said...

Change can be difficult at times because we tend to get in a pattern where we like the way things are..rather it is on our jobs our homes. But change is a good thing even if we don't think it is..I know I use to fight it all the time but after I begin to realize that things can't stay the same even if it is working We change as people everyday there is something new we do..that is how I view change..

Living a Changed Life said...

Desiray - Thanks for sharing your view on change. We all have patterns and schedules, but they should not keep us from how God wants to grow us.

Amy said...

Thank you for this. It's an important reminder for me. I've moved around my entire life and have been in my current city for longer than I've ever lived anywhere, which means I'm itching to move (especially since my whole family moved in the past year). But I know God hasn't called us away just yet (though I'm hoping He will soon). Thanks for reminding me to live in the now and not the tomorrow.

ranndomized said...

What a great post! For me, change is always welcome. I love it! Of course, it depends on how it comes to me (:-o That said, I would say that for most things in general, I am all about change. Diversity is my middle name :)

Visiting from SITS

Living a Changed Life said...

Amy - You're welcome. It is hard when you have that desire to move away. I wonder how much I have missed out on, because I wasn't paying any attention to the here and now.

ranndomized - Thanks! That is awesome that you have such a flexible personality, because not everyone is like that.

Losing Brownies said...

Change frightens me, but once I'm in the middle of it I usually embrace it and can't believe it took me so long to do so.

Losing Brownies said...

Change frightens me, but once I'm in the middle of it I usually embrace it and can't believe it took me so long to do so.

Living a Changed Life said...

Losing Brownies - Thanks for sharing! Being on the edge of change can be the worst part.

-J.Darling said...

To open up a bit on this one - I've found it very hard to open up. To start, I'm adopted. When the very first emotion you feel as an infant is the confusion of being passed from a mother to a hospital to a foster home to finally a forever-home, it leaves a deep mark of abandonment. I constantly wondered (as a child) why I was so "unlovable" that my bio-mother didn't want me.

But it's so easy to look at what we think we don't have. That there are other options of happiness out there. I've lived in my hometown for my entire life, only recently realizing that it's time to move on into the next phase of my life - which is leading me away from here.

When divorce hit in 2006, ending a 4 1/2 year marriage, 7 year relationship - I realized very quickly that I had 2 choices. 1) Curl up in a ball and cry myself to death over the end of my "forever and ever, amen". 2) Grieve the loss, learn what I can, and move forward.
I realized that sometimes, the rug gets pulled out from under us to remind us to hit our knees. ;) Feeling God's comfort more than ever, I learned to embrace the new, "unmarried" me. I learned to look in the mirror and realize that God created a Daughter in me, not a Doormat. I am still working on believing in that "forever and amen" kind of love. I may always struggle w/ it, but I trust God completely - and I can believe that He has the best in mind for me. So if I get married again, He's got it. ;)

I see how God has used even the negative circumstances in my life for good. Yes, I still have trouble opening up sometimes. I find I still "test" people to see how much they love me (for example, "Will you still love me if I'm needy?" "Will you still love me if I'm angry with you?" "Will you still love me if I'm distant?" My poor parents had to deal with my testing, but God told them just what to say- "There is NOTHING you can do that will make us stop loving you.") - but I'm aware of it and that helps me control it.

I'm looking forward to the adventure of getting away from home. I tried to move away in the past, but something didn't feel right about it - and I've learned to trust that little voice inside me. ;) God gave us instincts for a reason!


Keep sharing!

-J.Darling said...

Oh - and as for my adoption? Best thing that ever happened to me and I hope to spread the love someday myself! :)

My bio-mom was 15 and not ready for me. (In fact, she didn't tell anyone she was pregnant until 7 months along - and I have no doubt she did everything a scared teenager could to get rid of me. I had to be recussitated on birth.)

Jaime ~ The Etsy Shop Spotlight said...

I hate change unless it's good change lol and I guess "good" is different for everyone. I'm so glad God has shown you what He wants you to do. Praise the Lord!

Karen said...

I've been living in the same home & community for 17 years. Never liked the house and had lots of misgivings about our church. We thought when our first grandbaby came along we'd move to that state in order to be closer to him/her and our 3 kids and their spouses. Now that the baby is on the way-just learned this last week-I've been having misgivings: love my job, neighborhood, and the PEOPLE at our church. We haven't reached out very much til now and I want to before we move. I think God has kept us in our dry, scary financial season so we'd deepen those relationships.

news-gal said...

I like some change like a change for the better. Other changes like moving to a new community I'm not so glad about. I've recently moved twice in 2 years. The first move was from many friends and a great community that I lived in for a while. The next move wasn't so hard because there weren't as many connections made there. Changes that I make for WW are fine as long as they don't hurt too much and I can see positive results.Life is change. None of us can escape it.

emiko2 said...

I think that change is good and love it. Without change, we and the world around us remain stagnant. That may be a comfortable place to be or good for a lot of people, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best thing. What about the excitement of experiencing something new and different? I would definately miss that.

skk1969 said...

I for one, do not like change. But I have noticed I am more open to change now than I was a few years ago. Maybe because I'm finding out that more often than not, change ends up being a good things. :-)

Living a Changed Life said...

J. Darling - Thank you for opening up and sharing some of your story. I'm so glad that God is okay with us testing Him, because there is nothing we can go to make Him stop loving us. Your testimony is powerful and I am excited to see how God uses it to encourage others.

Living a Changed Life said...

Jaime - Yes, good change is always easier! :) I am glad that God hasn't given up on me.

Karen - God always has a plan and I hope that you are able to really reach out and deepen those relationships with others around you.

Intoo said...

Love this post. Praise the Lord!!!

Would love to add it as a 'guest post' on my blog page...

http://reflectionsintheword.org/

Living a Changed Life said...

Intoo - Thanks! That should be fine to add it as a guest post to your blog. Just email me at livingachangedlife@gmail.com and let me know when so that I can let my readers know. Thanks again!

Chelle said...

I totally understand. I was going to tell you this when we skyped, but I think I forgot. I had the same experience in Portland, as you know. I expected to leave at any time and didn't really settle down. And when I finally realized I needed to, I ended up leaving.

One of the saddest things for me in leaving Portland (other than friends and family) was the lost opportunity with my church. It was so sad to think about all the time I'd wasted in not getting more involved and not developing deeper relationships and that I wouldn't be around to change that. And it was so hard to think of all the kids and families that would grow up while I was away and how I would miss out on their lives and seeing them grow and being a part of that growth. I knew that in leaving I would miss so much and that made me very sad.

Unfortunately in my case, because of where I was at personally (stagnating) I would have missed it even if I stayed. Leaving helped me realize what I was missing. I wouldn't have felt that loss so keenly if I had stayed and so I probably would not have changed my uninvolvement. Praise God for knowing what we need and helping us to learn that.

Tina said...

Hi Jen,

Thank you so much for this post. You actually touched on so many things that I can relate to. Staying an arms length away from people. feeling like I can't keep friends. Actually I try to keep friendships but I'm not sure what happens. I have kind of shut down because I have been hurt so many times that I don't want to be hurt any more. I don't know if I just pick the wrong people or what. It seems like I always wind up with people who want me to be there for them but don't wanrt to be there for me. So I have said enough is enough.

But I want to have friends. I would like to get to know you better and hopefully become friends/Sisters in Christ. I am scared to death and I take things slowly.

As far as change is concerned, I don't like change but I have had so much change in my life I have learned to deal with it.

I just want to please the Lord with my Life and all that I do. I know I'm not perfect and never will be as long as I'm here on earth, but I want to live as closely to his ways as I can.

In Christ's Love and prayers
Sis in Christ
Tina

Living a Changed Life said...

Chelle - That is such good insight friend. Thanks for sharing. I really don't want to look back and see that we wasted our time here.

Tina - It is so hard to put yourself out there after you have been hurt. Taking things slowly is the best way to go. I hope that the Lord really blesses you with some great christian friends.

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