Monday, June 10, 2019

When Change is Forced Upon You

The fear of change seems to be a universal part of the human experience.  I think it's largely because of the lack of control that it represents.  Even in situations where we arguably choose the change that is coming, we still often face it with some level of fear.  Fear of making the wrong choice, fear of failure, fear of the future.  Fear of the unknown.

All these fears are exacerbated when the change is forced upon you.  When the agent of change is out of your control.  By the actions of other people.  By the government.  By nature.  By God.   These are often the biggest changes.  Illness, death, crisis.

Please note, in all the above, I've made no distinction between whether the change is negative or positive.  It often makes no difference.  A positive change can often be as scary as a negative one, simply because we cannot see the outcome at the outset.  Likewise, often the most necessary changes, the most beneficial changes to our lives can be often those feared the most, because they have the most on the line.  They require us to take a step of faith.  To take a step into the unknown, to roll the dice, and take a chance.  And that often requires leaving a place of comfort and stability, to move on to something greater.

I was fired Wednesday evening from a job that I have held for over ten years now.  In truth, it's probably a company and a position I should have left some time ago, but I kept at it because of comfort, stability, grit, and a sense of loyalty.  I believed in what the company could and should be, and I still do.  And there are people there that I would still fight to the end for and beside.

I don't really want to take up any space here with writing about the firing or the events/reasons given surrounding it.  There's nothing good that would come of it.  There's no change that would be affected.  I would rather focus on the point that I've come to.

After dealing with the initial shock, I've come to realize that this is a change that has been forced on me because I didn't leave earlier and probably when I should have.  It's a clearing of the deck and a preparation for a new adventure.  A new opportunity.  And hopefully, potentially, something big.

Jamie and I had already been preparing to move.  We were looking to move closer to the office in Richardson to cut down on the 110 miles that I put on the car every day and the 2-3 hour commute roundtrip that I made.  Jamie was looking for a transition after 11 years at Wills Point High School and we wanted to be closer together with the kids at such a great developmental time.

Jamie was also looking for a break.  Something different than teaching for a little bit for a refreshing. A sabbatical.  She initially thought of taking it a year or two after we moved, but about March, we had come to realize that it would make the most sense for her to take it now.  For us to have a transition year or so, where she took the sabbatical, we moved closer and then had a lot of time to find the right place in the DFW area for us to put down roots and then for her to look for her next theater position.   Accordingly, she had put in her resignation back in early April and has been prepping for her sabbatical year with the kids.

With my change now, we're both free and untethered.  We don't own property.  We've been renting a great loft apartment in town.  We're nearly completely out of debt.  We're open to new adventure.

In fact, if we could make it work financially, we'd love nothing more than just to start off now and start traveling.  Teaching the kids history and geography as we make our way across the country/world.  Writing and videoing our travels.  Investing in our family and exploring this great creation.

And we're still planning for that to happen, perhaps a little later when Jude's a little older, but we're going to figure out how to make it work for a season.

Right now, I'm applying and looking for new opportunities.  And in the process, while I started with DFW and Austin, I've come to realize that there's no reason not to cast a broader net.  With where we've been brought to, I have to believe we may be being prepared for a bigger change.  And I'm okay with that.

I think of David and his path to the throne.  He's told he will be king of Israel when he is a child, but there is someone else seated on that throne.  David would spend fifteen years between his anointing and finally being crowned king of Judah, and another seven to become king of all Israel.  He would spend that time being persecuted and hunted by Saul, often living in caves and on the run.

And yet, through that experience, he could still pen:

"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you annoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Not to tempt fate, but for a dose of perspective, if last week is the worst thing that happens to me, I'm truly blessed.  And should something worse occur, the Lord is still my Shepherd.

He is leading me into pastures that I know not.  New pastures, new paths, new opportunities.  There may even be new valleys.  But he is with me.  And he restores my soul.

I still have that pinch of fear about me.  Will anyone respond to the resume?  I haven't had to interview in over eleven years, will I present a good application?  Is there an opportunity out there for me that is full-time and stable?  Or am I going back to temporary contract/project based work?

Those kind of fears are always there if we give into them.  The questions just change.

Instead, I'm choosing to focus on the wide open possibility.

I'm ready for the new adventure.

When change is forced upon you, trust the Shepherd.

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