People are processing change. Some are being forced into it after the ground collapsed beneath their feet. These people are courageously stepping into new frontiers because they must. There will be grace for these people to discover a new world. The sun will rise again. These people are responding from strength.
There is another company of people, however, whose souls are thirsting for transition. The ground is still technically beneath them, but they are unsettled and itching to escape their current life. These people are aimlessly cutting ties and jumping off ledges into frontiers that promise them nothing, while their previous loyalties lay behind them in premature death. These people are reacting from weakness.
We are all facing change. How do we know whether we are responding or reacting? How do we know if we are being courageous or aimless? Finding focus or losing it?
Here is my attempt to provide a filter, a conversation, a knock on this moment in time …
What is motivating you to pursue change? Is it God’s voice or is it your restless heart? Who initiated the conversation? Who is continuing it? Does change give you an escape from a challenge, or does it call you into a challenge? Is this a new idea or an old idea for you?
You and I do not understand the impact that the societal unrest is having on us. We may feel it, but we don’t understand how it is informing our mental health and relationships. Months of isolation have left people in a pit of negativity about other people that is largely detached from reality. Relationships, organizations, churches and businesses are disintegrating as a result.
But, do they have to?
No. They do not have to.
Our commitments, loyalties, and friendships can find glorious days.
If, we don’t quit on them.
Presently they take more work.
Are you willing? Am I?
Ever admire someone who maintained a friendship for twenty years? Ever marvel at someone who attended the same prayer meeting for a decade? Ever meet someone who was part of a church plant team, and is still there years later? Granted, there are times to jump – depart - put up the sail – and GO! If that’s you, this piece is not for you. My hope is that you are already far out into the sea. But for many, this is not the time to set sail. On the contrary, this is the time to exert the hard work of remaining anchored.
There is a temptation right now to absorb the restlessness of the season and use it as an excuse to cut off commitments and loyalties that God has called us to maintain. People are choosing to pull up their anchors without realizing that they are voluntarily abandoning the very thing that God gave them to remain steady during this storm. Anchors will not be as easily found in the coming days as they once were. The sea of society will gleefully host this floating movement of renegades as they abandon their anchors now. However, these ships will likely still be floating aimlessly - looking for their “new shiny anchor” - years from now while their previous landing place hosts a hole that belongs to them.
I think there is a danger right now for people to abandon loyalties and call it courage, to take flight in the name of feeling "restless." The cultural unrest is providing free excuses to abandon people and things, no longer see them, and only engage with them through plexiglass and face masks, somehow massaging selfish ambition that laughs at the work of a long-loyalty in the same direction.
There are pressures of unrest all around us. This does not mean we have to become people of unrest. The bull is raging. This does not mean that we have to mount it. Some of us are mounting a raging bull, being flung around with uncertainty, even though the bull never asked us to ride it. “The raging bull was too much of a distraction,” we say, “so I gave into it and mounted!” The moment we react to the chaos, we are now being led by the chaos instead of by God.
The call in this time is to remain steady, rooted in God. We are called to be people of strength and maturity who are found with their anchors intact, who are still committed to the same people when the storm ends, who refuse to blame others for their own heart’s needs, and who understand that if you keep your land now then you will have something to plant on later.
Friends, do not forfeit your call.
Do not give up a good job.
Do not distance your heart from your friends, fight for your friendships!
Do not abandon your church.
Do not walk out on your community.
Most importantly, do not give up your life of submission to God’s voice.
If He is moving you, He can make that clear.
If it is not clear, you are likely being moved by something that you would say is not your God.
Simple faith, simple obedience, and passionate love work exactly the same in a storm as they do in the sun. Hang on. Don’t react. Respond.
Resist the renegade movement.
Crawl with me into an imaginary old cave. It is dark, a soft dark. It invites us to hide away from the threat of an undefined day, and within it explore the comforts of time passed. The cave is lined with chests, archaic gold chests that leak bright light. Each holds a pile of words, poetry, language sewn together in a previous time. These chests protect the lyrics of ageless songs. These timeless words married tunes of music under heaven’s eye, and there found a covenant of art that would feed people for a very long time.
Come with me further into the cave. I want to share with you a string of lyrics that I re-discovered this week. Open this chest with me. Watch these dancing words emerge! These lyrics breathe. They breathe as if they waited a hundred years to breathe again for me, for you. Pull out the string, finger through them, let them feed you, as they have me this week. A poem credited to Joseph M. Scritten, written in 1855, a hundred and sixty five years ago.
What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer
What is the "it" in your life right now? Take it to the Lord in prayer. These age-old lyrics invite us into soul liberty. That liberty is the release of "it" into prayer. The answer lies in prayer.
Reflection: What old song feeds your soul? Can you pull it out this week and let it feed you? Read it's lyrics out loud over your heart. Don't scroll through them and move on, sit with them. Let them sit with you.
Having a new baby is like losing all your limbs to gain a fuller heart. Many of you know my story, others may not. My life history holds waves of unexpected losses, one after another. My daughter, Ruby Joy, went Home before she turned three years old. My life turned itself over into something that I never saw coming. My husband, Mitch, and I became empty-nesters way too soon, and for many years fought to solve the scream of internal emptiness, without success.
God in the midst of it has been, is, will always be - my friend, my saving grace.
Aimee Star Luse makes her explosive entrance to planet earth in the middle of May. I now find myself in a dramatic re-construction of my life, internal and external. Baby on my shoulder, hands tied up and down, bottle parts scattered, time swallowed wholly every day by something undefined - is a bold streak of splattering color on the orderly canvas of my "normal." In a sense it is familiar, a simple filling of a spot long empty in my heart. I have mothered a child before, this is not my first baby and its not something one ever forgets how to do. On the other hand, it is complex. I find myself flailing as a novice at a whole lot that I have not touched or engaged with for years. I am pressed to re-define what a successful day looks like, and in that to let go of a whole lot that has defined my identity for some time.
As I navigate this massive reconstruction in my life, I consider Nehemiah re-building the wall, Solomon re-building the temple, Jesus re-building His church. There is great divine purpose in a season of reconstruction. It re-positions us to become more fully surrendered to God. It knocks hard on the idols that we have housed unaware. It remind us that we possess nothing but Christ. It calls us into a future that our hearts sing about, but our minds have not perceived. Seasons of re-construction demand the focus of our internal life, to hang on for dear life as everything changes. These times require a willingness to work hard - by choice - to accept the change that is presenting and move courageously into it.
Friends, a new normal is upon us.
Whether you love it, or hate it.
And, you are not a victim of it -
but a King or Queen who inherits it.
What are you going to do with it?
I am finding that I am not the only one who is in a season of reconstruction. There are many people right now who are in this place of watching their lives deconstruct in front of their eyes. As is often the case, my isolated season, and yours, find wings of understanding in the context of a broader movement. I am not alone. You are not alone. We are being deconstructed and reconstructed. It is what God is doing, now.
Friends, we must embrace this time.
It's pulsing undefined purpose.
Don't fight it.
Let it happen.
Let things change.
Redemption is on the other side of our willingness to embrace change.
Father, reconstruct my life.
You are the potter.
I am the clay.
To you, I say "yes!"
Reflection Question: What would it look like for you to stop resisting change in your life? How can you embrace it? Where is your sense of purpose in the new thing?
Katie Luse is a speaker and writer who is passionate about navigating life with eyes on a hunt for beauty.