Change is inevitable.
Most people cringe when they hear these words, because we as humans crave stability and homeostasis. Whenever something happens that disrupts these things we desire, we are faced with how to react to the change... the disruption in our lives.
Most of us go through a short time of panic and anger because things were comfortable and nice and neat, but now things are not so and we must figure out how to get things back to the way they were... or more accurately, the way things should be.
I like to think of change or disruption as a hinge on a door: the door is closed and the door opens. Change/disruption is the catalyst for the door to open and close: the time which we go in and out of periods in our lives.
When I was in CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education), one of my fellow residents introduced me to a concept pertaining to the “rhythm of life” framed by theologian Walter Brueggemann. Brueggemann wrote a seminal work on the book of Psalms and he posited that human beings find themselves in one of three places in life:
1. Orientation - the time which everything in our lives make sense
2. Disorientation - the time which things seem to fall apart
3. Reorientation - the time which God pulls us out of the dark place and places us in a new realituy where we “re-self-actualize” (to borrow from Maslow) and find healing and wholeness gain.*
Ever since I learned about this framework this is how I naturally think of things in my life when they happen. I think this concept pertains to all apsects of life: relationships, work, grief, physical health, etc. There are going to be times when we feel like everything is going right. When things just feel in harmony with one another and we find peace and rest (shalom if you will). Then something happens like a trauma (loss of loved one, job, relationship) that disrupts the harmony that was once experienced. Lastly when we decide intentionally to work through the distruption (not ignore it, suppress it, or eliminate it), then we find new healing and wholeness again and harmony springs forth in our lives.
So my encouragement to you is that when you are faced with incredible challenges, remember that you have everything within you to face these challenges and find new meaning and purpose in your life. Remember that god is the source of peace and strength and that god comforts those who are weary and broken in their time of need. Remember to not go about this alone and to build up a strong support system of individuals who will be “quick to listen and slow to speak” (James 1:19). Lastly, know that you are loved, you matter, and you do make an impact in the world around you.