I hate that.
While I do occasionally like to be spontaneous, I mostly like to live in the steady rhythm of a (relatively) predictable routine. I like to make a plan, fine tune it until it's operating at a precision level, and ride it out until it has come to the end of its usefulness. When that happens, I repeat the process. Note that in this equation, I'm the one controlling most of the operation and changes in my life.
But this summer, I didn't initiate change. Change came as an unwelcome guest. No...it wasn't a guest. It was more like an intruder. Honestly, it resembled a thief, and it had many thief-like qualities - stealing time, strength, resources and energy from me so that I couldn't allocate those things to the people and projects that I had planned on.
Isn't that how we often view change? Someone or something comes into our lives - completely uninvited - and we grow to resent its presence and the change to our lives it brings.
And yet, we know that this is a basic rule of life: Life is always changing. And we are NOT in control of much (or most) of that change, contrary to what we like to think.
But what happens when unwanted or unwelcome change comes? Honestly, we often get stuck.
- We glorify the past: "Life was so much better before this happened."
- We blame someone else: "My life would be better if my boss wasn't a jerk."
- We skip today and simply dream about tomorrow: "When I retire" "When we move" "When I get that promotion" "When the last kid graduates" "When we pay off our debt"
Frankly, I think that's what happened to me. I'm not saying I should have ignored my recovery. There was a time that I needed to sleep for days. And when I was awake, the pain medicine incapacitated any ability to be productive - personally or professionally. Yet, when that time was past, I was still a little...stuck. I kept saying, "When my surgery is over... When I get this collar off...When I can drive... When I can work out... When I fully recover..."
I think what keeps us from getting stuck is a growing ability to adapt to change. Sometimes we like the change. Sometimes we don't. But for me to live to the highest potential that God intends, I have to learn to adapt to the constantly changing conditions around me - whether they were invited or not. And to do that, I have to rely on a skill that I've been refining my whole life: Listening to the voice of God.
Interestingly, this is what I talked about at PCC last Sunday. Followers of Jesus aren't supposed to focus our lives on everything that is happening around them. Not that we are oblivious or unaware, but the focus of our lives is on the ONE person who is entirely consistent. When I Focus on Jesus, I can adapt to any change happening around me and even thrive through it!
So, when I blame my entire upended summer on my injury and start groaning that three months of my life were wasted, I've taken my focus off of the One who redeems all of life - the parts we planned, and the parts we didn't.
I hope I remember that. I hope you do, too.