This is potentially one of the most terrifying words in my vocabulary. It’s usually associated with words like uncertain, overwhelming, new, different, and fear. Recently, change has meant moving somewhere new, leaving the people I love, and not knowing what’s next.
In the physical world I think of flowers, trees, height, etc. In a mental or spiritual sense I think of growth as gaining knowledge and intelligence, becoming confident in who you are and understanding who you were created to be.
You cannot have growth without change.
Here’s some frame work of where I’m coming from and what I hope to convey to you through this post… Four years ago I moved to Mississippi as a college freshman, as a homebody this 17 hour distance was quite an adjustment and a quick learning experience. Eight months later I found myself moving again, this time to Ames, Iowa (a mere 3 hours closer to home :)). This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made, and it turned out to be one of the BEST! But, I didn’t know that at the time, so it was scary. I’ve recently finished my undergraduate class work at Iowa State and am finishing up my degree with an internship in Minneapolis, MN.
What’s next? I dunno.
But, what I do know is that little Suz heading to Mississippi State in July 2013 is not the same Suz that will be taking on this post-grad 2017 ‘What’s next?’ question.
I’ve grown through the life change that college lends itself to. Reflecting on who I was and where I was emotionally as I started my journey at Iowa State to the the satisfaction, life, and growth I experienced over my time there, I know that whatever is in my future will produce as much learning, growth, and joy. How do I know this? Because God is so faithful. He’s Promises are true and we can never run away from His love and grace.
Regardless, change is uncomfortable. It feels like an elevator ride with an awkward stranger and no music. It’s uncertain, the avoidance of having that hard conversation because you don’t know the outcome. It’s also painful, new things are hard and you’ll slip up, say the wrong thing, get yourself in a sticky situation, someone will move or you will leave the comfort of great friends you’ve grown close to over the years (or sometimes just months or weeks). During this transition time in my life that has been the hardest thing. Man, I don’t even know where to start, but the people who I was so fortunate to meet while in Ames will always hold a special place in my heart. And, it’s okay to cry. The tears I shed the last few weeks of school are a reminder of all the great times I’ve had and memories made, lessons learned – good and bad, the laughs, the late nights and early mornings.
Growth, like change, is not easy. It takes determination, discipline, and dedication. Letting yourself grow is hard and it doesn’t happen overnight. In high school I sat next to the same kid in class two years in a row. Did we ever hold a conversation? Maybe, once… maybe! EEEKKKK!! That was just way too far outside of my comfort zone, it was incredibly intimidating for me. Now, I can’t pinpoint where this growth happened, but somewhere between my journey from Pennsylvania to Mississippi to Iowa to Minnesota I’ve found I’m more more confident in myself (which has come through relationship with God => more about that here) which has given me the opportunity to become vulnerable in this area (and a multitude of other areas). For example, a couple weeks ago I was filling up with gas and saw my Pastor filling up the next spot over, I’ve never talked to this guy in my life and I figured it was about time. Without second thought I went over, introduced myself, we chatted for a few minutes but I was already running late for something (surprise!) so I told him I had to dip and just like that I was on my way. Once I got in the car I mentally gave myself a high five and proceeded on my way. That was a moment in my life where I could practically see where growth had happened, I had overcome my fear of believing I would automatically be unaccepted and was willing to put myself in a position where I used to be so uncomfortable, yet I approached it with such confidence.
One of my favorite things about change and growth is it’s beauty! The person I’ve become is only because of trials, questioning, searching for answers, and being bold enough to let myself become a little vulnerable. If you tackle change with a mindset to be different in the end, growth is bound to happen. It doesn’t happen right away. It’s a process, which means time.
Thankfully we serve a God of grace, and love, and second chances. 🙂