I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of people who just up and change their lives. The successful surgeon who becomes a baker, the beggar who becomes a Wall Street tycoon, the soccer mom who becomes a backpacking mountaineer, the high-powered corporate couple who embrace minimalism and travel the world living out of a suitcase. I must like the comfort of believing that if it’s ever necessary, I too can change when I need to.
Recently, our family decided on a course of change, one we’d always said we would never do: moving from our home in the country to an urban neighborhood with lots of houses and tiny yards. We made the decision for several reasons—some more cerebral, others more emotional. But one of the biggest surprises has been the actual experience of change. The way that opening wide the window in a musty, dusty room ushers in light and fresh air and reveals the cobwebs, change brings new energy and shows up the spots in your life that were growing creaky for lack of movement.
I realized how fearful I was about losing control, and how small I force my life to be in order for me to be able to guarantee a specific outcome. I learned a lot about trusting God on this adventure we call life. When we lose the illusion of being in control of everything, we remember how much we need God.
Through this season of change, I made a pledge to myself to keep changing, to stir up my life somehow on a regular basis. I don’t want to move houses again for a very long time, but lots of other things are up for revision. I have a new love for this prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” 1
- Attributed to American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971).