Faith

I Press On. (Adjusting to Change.)

After going through a big change as a family earlier this year, I see God’s plans and purposes in a new light. There’s joy, struggle, heartache, and beauty when we experience a season of “new.” Adjusting to change isn’t an easy road, but our willingness to face forward and press onward makes all the difference.

When my husband and I made the decision to move to a new school community a few months ago, I expected challenges along the way. Ever the planner in the family, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. However, I wasn’t fully prepared for the battle ahead . . . or the way it would unfold. I didn’t foresee just how hard it would be to leave our previous community, even though we knew God was calling us forward.

The minute we took the first steps of faith, things got rough.

The enemy struck hard during those first few weeks. And I—the mom, the prayer warrior, the planner, the one who cultivates peace, the one who cares for everyone else’s emotional well-being—got hit the hardest.

As things heated up, fiery darts of doubt, fear, and trouble hit me from every side. As a number of things went wrong practically, I struggled to maintain my foothold emotionally. It was hard not to look back and wonder if we’d made the right decision.

Even when we’re right in the middle of God’s will, it doesn’t mean everything works out brilliantly. Sometimes, all-out war breaks loose.

Normally, I find change exciting, especially when I know God’s called me forward, but I’ve learned that change also equals loss. No matter how good the new might be, it’s hard to say goodbye to the old. As the landscape shifts and your heart aches, it’s increasingly difficult to move forward with confidence.

I value familiarity, comfort, and routine. Can you relate? With changes afoot, I found myself far outside my comfort zone—like a fish out of water. The things I’d taken for granted, the routines we’d set in place years ago and I’d come to rely on, all slipped out from under me.

A few weeks in, God brought Lot’s wife to mind. She looked back at her old city and reaped deadly consequences. For the first time, I found I could really identify with her. Though I reminded myself daily to face forward, not backward, it was incredibly difficult. I learned there’s a good reason God warned Lot’s family not to look back:

The temptation to LOOK BACK is a deadly trap.

Unlike me, Lot’s wife lived in a horrible city, full of sin and ugliness. A whole city full of people committing atrocities, daily. Before destroying it, God sent his messengers to bring Lot and his family out of the city to safety. They gave Lot this instruction: Don’t look back. However, once they were out and the city was destroyed, we read this:

“But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26)

Why did Lot’s wife look back? Maybe she was curious. If the city I lived in was burned by sulfur from Heaven, it would be hard not to look back, just to see what happened! Or perhaps she was sad. Despite the evil there, her reluctance to leave shows she felt some connection to the home she’d built and the people she knew.

When we look back, we get stuck. We turn to stone. Sadness, fear, regret, and doubt suck the life from us and we come to a standstill.

Furthermore, Lot’s wife’s choice to disobey God’s command wasn’t just deadly for her. You see, when she looked back, it also affected the people around her. When she stopped and turned around, she effectively took her love, help, and influence out of the lives of her family members. After her death, her daughters fell into gross immorality (see Genesis 19:30-38). They tricked their father into it as well. Maybe Lot’s wife could have stepped in and helped. Maybe she could have led her daughters onto a better path. It’s possible.

When we focus on what we’ve lost, we can’t set our faces bravely toward what we can gain. AND, we cease to go with those around us into the new realms God has for us.

However, if we face forward (aha!), we’re better fit for the challenges ahead and able to receive the blessings in store. We’re more effective as wives, mothers, friends, and daughters. We can come alongside the people who need us most.

If Lot’s wife was tempted to look back at a horrible place, how much more are we tempted to look back at a good place? Change does bring loss. In fact, if we don’t struggle to leave a place and a group of people, perhaps our hearts have grown cold.

Going forward, my prayer is for new relationships at our new school and continued relationships at our previous school. God never asks us to forget the important people in our lives, and it’s important to keep loving people, even when we don’t see them regularly. But he also doesn’t want us to get stuck looking in the rearview mirror at “what was” or “what could have been.”

In the midst of change, God broadens and expands our territories and our hearts so that we can embrace what’s ahead and open our arms to the “more” he has planned.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

Change comes in many forms. Sometimes, it brings relief. Other times, it brings pain. What’s your biggest struggle when adjusting to change?

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Stephanie Bacon
    April 12, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    “In the midst of change, God broadens and expands our territories and our hearts so that we can embrace what’s ahead and open our arms to the “more” he has planned.”
    I have also experienced a year of change as my oldest went off to Azusa Pacific University. That daily home connection – conversation – hugs – knowledge of where he is and what he is doing is gone.
    I had to grieve the loss and also trust that God has him.
    The question entered my mind and heart, Who am I separate from being my boys mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a teacher?
    God reminded me – I am a daughter of the one true King.
    Change is inevitable in this life and God love is eternal. The older I get the more time I spend at the feet of Jesus.
    Just Keep Praying 🙏 and moving forward.
    (I just told a friend today that the older I get the more time I spend in prayer.)

    • Reply
      Rachel Dodge
      April 13, 2019 at 11:41 am

      Thank you for sharing this and for your encouragement! It’s so good to be reminded of who I am in Christ. And more time at the feet of Jesus has been HUGE for me in this season. Praise God!

  • Reply
    Brenda Cox
    April 13, 2019 at 3:04 am

    Thanks for sharing this, Rachel. I’m about to enter a major time of transition and am stressed out already. We do need to say goodbyes well, but then look forward. The uncertainty, and the possibilities of failure, are part of my struggles.
    May the Lord give you joy in your new community!

    • Reply
      Rachel Dodge
      April 13, 2019 at 11:39 am

      Thank you, dear sister. It really is difficult. Some of the change we’re going through has been good and some has been hard and discouraging. I have to remind myself to set my eyes on Christ hourly some days, but he always comes through and always gives me new perspective. My time in the Word and in prayer has been so rich because I’m so desperate for him!

      • Reply
        Brenda Cox
        April 13, 2019 at 12:02 pm

        Amen. He loves us to be totally dependent on Him. It’s through the pain that we grow, but that doesn’t make it easier, I think!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    April 13, 2019 at 6:32 am

    Such beautiful truth! I love that Jesus leaves us examples in the Old Testament to speak to our journey today. Set your eyes on Jesus and do not be shaken, and know that you’re not alone on this adventure.

    • Reply
      Rachel Dodge
      April 13, 2019 at 11:37 am

      So true! Thank you for this encouragement. I think feeling alone in it is the hardest part at times!

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