My life rarely keeps to a calendar for following any of the seasons. On January 1, it still feels a lot like December 31st. And the day I turned forty played out much like many of those when I was thirty-nine (except for the surprise party Darrell had for me). Of course, there are those beginnings, like the school year or a new routine, that creep into a sort of normalcy on the calendar. But an individual’s personal season of growth—that indistinct period when you can look back in hindsight and say without a doubt that it was during that time when a slow, gradual change took hold of you—seems to come in no set timeframe. Often when I view those instances they seem like a time when God picked my car off the Life game board and re-set it into a new path.
The reason I believe it’s a new direction from God is because I realize (normally well after the fact) that the occasions when I’ve grown the most personally are times when I was not burdened with self-doubt. It’s when I decide to roll the dice to see what happens and just trust that things are going to be okay. It is always okay, you know. Sometimes it’s a “new normal” or there are rough patches, but somehow I always muddle through. Please note that I’m not advocating not thinking through the consequences of your choices and pulling out all your savings to buy lottery tickets! What I am advocating is that sometimes to move forward you have to take a step out of your comfort zone. And sometimes you have to rely on your gut feelings.
How I once got a job is a great example. I quit my previous job before I’d actually gotten a new one—a huge deal for me. After all, I’m a stability freak and what if no one hired me right away? But I knew it was what I had to do, because if I’d stayed where I was, I was going to be stuck there like the story about putting a frog in hot water. If someone puts a frog into a pot of very hot water, the frog will jump out of the pot. But, if one puts the frog into a pot of cool water, and then heats it up very, very slowly, the frog will not jump out – it will allow itself to be boiled. Because the temperature is increasing so slowly, there is no ‘trigger’ to signal the danger in the frog, so the frog takes no action to avoid it. I was gradually allowing my dissatisfaction to become an acceptable way of living. So I took a step out in faith, and finally turned in my resignation letter that I’d been carrying around in my purse for almost two months. Believe it or not, I received a phone call with a job offer as I was pulling out of the parking lot on my last day of work at my old job.
In my experience, it’s usually a convergence of events that trigger a period of growth, so I have a hard time pinpointing which domino fell first. And somehow I just know that a change is right around the corner. Life goes on in a similar way day after day, and all of a sudden it feels different somehow—I start expectantly waiting for something to happen. The other reason why I know it comes from God is because I’m not anxious about what’s in store, I’m excited and I draw closer to Him with a mindset of peace. The future looks a little brighter and it feels like I’m turning in the right direction. The Life car re-set.
And I do have a lot of exciting things going on in my life right now—finding a new church, taking a financial class with my husband, making more concrete writing plans, supporting Tyler in his college decisions, finishing training for the two fall half-marathons—all these things are in the forefront of my daily life at the moment. I’m choosing to savor this time; it’s not a time of unrestful upheaval, but one of contemplated contentedness. Yet, when it starts getting a little too warm for me, I’m ready to jump. Time to get out of the hot water and into my little Life car.
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