Navigating Our Experiences of ChangeAug 28, 2019
When it comes to change, sometime back, Gem and I found ourselves in an extended season of years in which we felt like we were moving from transition to transition in our lives. Sometimes it involved outward transitions like new roles or new neighborhoods, but more often, it was a matter of transitions inside of us.
- Transitions of what was meaningful now compared to what had been meaningful to us before.
- Transitions in our experience of God with us or, sometimes, our wondering why God didn’t feel as close to us as before.
- Transitions in our emotional lives. Transitions between confidence and insecurity, between peace and worry, between joy and sadness.
- Transitions in the way we were relating to one another. We found that as each of us grew and changed, the nature of our marriage relationship changed. More transition.
I remember at one point, after talking about transition so much, we found ourselves feeling a little tired, even disillusioned, from so much change. Part of the tiredness was not feeling like we were landing somewhere solid in our lives with all that transition. It was disorienting.
Eventually, we looked at each other and found ourselves quoting a line from one of our long-time favorite movies.
Maybe you’ve seen it: “The Princess Bride.” If you have, you may remember a scene at night when Vizzini, Fezzik and Inigo Montoya have kidnapped the princess. Inigo begins making comments about being followed, which Vizzini says is “inconceivable.”
Inigo continues to persist about the possibility that they are being followed and Vizzini continues to insist that it is, in fact, “inconceivable.” Unlikely event after unlikely event unfolds, and that same word, “inconceivable” arises.
Finally, at the top of the cliffs of insanity, being followed up the rope they are climbing by the man in black, Vizzini, yet again, declares the whole thing “inconceivable”, when Inigo turns to him, and says, “You keep using that word. I do not think that word means what you think it means.”
I cannot tell you how many times Gem and I have quoted that line to one another when we found ourselves in a place of fresh understanding. It has been a great source of wisdom to us.
In our case, the word was “transition.” “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”
We had been using the word “transition” to describe a season in which we were experiencing change after change. We were using it in the assumption that we were on our way to landing somewhere final and maybe even predictable. “Transition” was going to be a limited little season that would end.
We decided that maybe the word “transition” wasn’t actually the best word to describe what we were experiencing.
Maybe, instead, rather than being in transition and looking for a final landing place, we were actually on a journey. Maybe instead of “transition,” “journey” was the word we were looking for.
And a journey is different than a transition.
People on a journey are pilgrims. They are nomads. They are on the move. It helped us to think that perhaps we weren’t looking to land somewhere soon where we would feel secure once again.
We came, little by little, to learn that being on a journey meant that our sense of home was not mostly going to be in some predictable somewhere, but in a completely faithful Someone. That Someone is with us wherever we find ourselves. God was inviting us to find ourselves at home in Him in the midst of our journey from change to change.
Questions for Reflection
- Where have you most recently been experiencing change or transition?
- Have you found yourself expecting to land in a place where change no longer comes your way?
- What if God is inviting you to a journey in which change just might be normal?
- How might that be an invitation to companionship with God in a process of transformation?