to replace with trust in him, even if what I need to give up are my own
expectations and continual need to be in the driver’s seat of my life.”
― Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You through Life’s Transitions
I’ve realized over the past few years that stronger than my dislike of change is my craving for control. So when I’m the one deciding to make a change, I’m cool with it. But when a change is out of my hands, that’s a completely different story.
Sometimes the uncontrollable part of change isn’t the change itself, but more how it is manifested, how it takes place, what kind of timeline it has. I tend to take a good, long while to make up my mind about things, but once I decide a change must be made, I want it to happen and I want it to happen NOW.
That’s part of why having our house on the market for nearly a year was so challenging. We had made the decision we wanted to move, we’d decided we would take a hit financially but it would be worth it, and we’d narrowed down the area we wanted to move into once this house sold. So we made all these decisions and did a bunch of work to [try to] make it happen, and then BAM! I was ready for the change! And I was ready for the change to happen NOW!
Spoiler alert: It didn’t. We had a handful of showings over the last several months I was pregnant and the first several months we had a newborn. But nobody wanted to buy our little house, so nothing — other than having room for all the baby gear because we’d decluttered the house before listing it — changed.
When we sat down with our real estate agent earlier this year and talked about trying again to sell our house, all three of us felt more confident about our chances. The market has picked up considerably and we’ve paid down our mortgage more. We were hopeful that we’d finally reached the tipping point where the world of real estate might finally work in our favor.
We were hopeful — but not TOO hopeful. After all, this would be the third time we tried to sell our house, and it’s not like we’d built a basement in place of our crawl space, added a second bathroom, or replaced our formica countertops since the last time. So while we thought our house might eventually sell this time, we were resigned to months of frantic cleaning and last-minute showings and buyers who point out our lack of square footage. We thought, Maybe if we put it on the market in March, we can sell it and move before school starts again in August. MAYBE.
You guys? Our house was officially listed for sale on a Wednesday, and we got an offer on Thursday. THE NEXT DAY. The very next day!
Now, we aren’t shooting off fireworks or popping open a bottle of champagne yet. We still need to pass inspection and get the house appraised for the amount our buyers offered. But YOU GUYS. To have an offer on our house?! IS SO HUGE. After years of trying to sell this place — and feeling trapped here when we couldn’t — this feels like a miracle. I am beyond grateful and happy and excited.
But I’ll confess I also felt a little uneasy at such a fast change in circumstance. In the span of only a few days, we went from saying, “Maybe we’ll finally sell the house sometime this year,” to saying, “We need to start packing…and figure out where we want to live next…and find a house to buy!”
After years of waiting and working and trying and praying, things are finally changing in our house — and they are changing FAST! And while these are all amazing changes that I am incredibly grateful for, the speed at which they are taking place is completely out of my control. And that part? That part is hard.
Just like I didn’t have any control over how long our house was for sale, I also have no control over how long the inspector takes to write his report of whether our house is safe and good to go (or, more likely, what we need to fix to make it good enough to go). When we put an offer on a new house, I didn’t have any control over whether our requests and terms were granted (they weren’t). And no matter how many lists I make, I cannot force all the tasks that go with moving to fit into one day or even one week.
This change is a good, good change — but it’s still change, and a lot of it is out of my control.
Not all changes are good ones. Not all changes are ones we’ve prayed for. And not all changes bring happy tears and happy dances. I know that. I’ve experienced so many of those other kinds of changes. Jobs lost. Relationships broken. Friends moving. Family dying. Even changes that we anticipate and plan for, the ones we initiate and control, can sting and startle for various reasons of our complicated hearts.
So if you’re facing a sudden change today? Even if it’s a change you wanted or a change you knew would come someday? And especially if it’s a change you never dreamed of and wouldn’t wish on anyone? Remember this:
Even when everything changes on a dime, God still saw it coming from a mile away — and He is still in control.
God is still in control, and He is still using every part of your life — the steady and the unsteady, the consistent and the changing — to transform you, to develop you, to breathe new life into you. And in the meantime? As your heart feels the whiplash of change and your head spins from the sudden change, He’s there to hold you and cover you and give you strength and peace and wisdom.
Sometimes change is exciting and fun, and sometimes our first reaction is an exhale of relief as we sigh, “Finally!” Changes come in all shapes and sizes, don’t they? The good news about our God is that He is the author of all our changes — the hard and the fun, the sudden and the long-time-coming — and He will work all of it together for our good.
Are you facing any kind of change today? What helps you adjust to change?
Kristen Strong has written a great book about change. Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You Through Life’s Transitions is full of hope and encouragement to find purpose and contentment in change. I highly recommend it and have been turning to it [again] the past couple of weeks myself.