Present in body, but not in spirit. Going through the motions, but not committed. Outwardly making the change, but still fighting it in your heart. Have you ever been there?
When change is taking us down a road we’d rather not travel, our default response sometimes is to ‘check out’. We want to run away from this change. Since we can’t physically run from this change, we run away in our minds. We set our heart and attitude against the change and internally check out.
Emotionally “checking out” is one way we run away from change.
As my mother’s cancer progressed, I began to feel a tug to move closer to her. I was living several states away at the time and only got to see her a few times a year. The reality began to set in that my time with her was limited, so I knew I needed to be closer and see her more often.
I desperately didn’t want to move back to my home state. In some way, moving back represented failure in my mind. I loved the independence and adventure of living far away, yet now I needed to move back.
Trying not to look in the rear view mirror, I drove out of Atlanta as the tears rolled down my cheeks. Drove all the way back to Texas and into this new reality. This new reality where I had a sick mother whose time here on earth was limited. A new reality of living in a city I never imagined I’d be.
I physically accepted this change and moved to Texas, but mentally I was checked out. I set my mind against this place, looking for every opportunity to escape.
Change requires both physical and emotional presence to move us forward.
It wasn’t until I changed my attitude that I began to accept this change. I knew I was still running in my mind, so I threw out an anchor to plant myself in this change. I bought a house. Yes, a big step and commitment, but it moved me into accepting this change. Knowing I was now committed to the area for several years, I finally decided to become part of the community and make friends. (Friends who later introduced me to my husband.)
We can choose to be defined by our circumstances or we can allow God to refine us through them.
Sometimes the changes we face will take us on a road we’d rather not travel. We have a choice – to allow that road and those circumstances to define us or to accept the change and make the best of it. I spent that first year being bitter about the move. Feeling more like the victim, as if my life had been uprooted because I had a mother with cancer. I made the move about the cancer, not the opportunity; about the change to my dreams, not the opportunity for new experiences.
In the end, the move turned out for the best. I got to to spend a lot of time with my mother before she passed away; time I’ll cherish forever. I met my husband and started a life and family with him. Fifteen years later, this is now my home and I love it.
Do you ever follow this response pattern? Outwardly, you’re moving into the change, may even appear to be accepting it, but on the inside you’re fighting it with all your power. You fight the change with your attitude and with your heart. Setting your mind to allow your circumstances to define you, to control you, to hold you back.
For these next two weeks, we’ll be exploring the default response to change of ‘running away’. We’ll look at three different ways we ‘run away’ from change, so we better understand how we respond to changes and trials in our lives. Once we understand ourselves and our patterns of response, we’ll be better able to practice better ways to approach change.
[reminder preface=”Question: “]Do you sometimes respond to change by emotionally checking out? How do you get yourself ‘checked in’ to the change?[/reminder]
[callout]This post is part of the “A Better Change” series. For more information on this series and to find related posts, click here: A Better Change Series – Overview[/callout]
Sharing with: Motivation Monday, UNITE, Testimony Tuesday
[email protected] says
Kathryn … this piece is laden with truths that just beg to be savored. Thank you so much for the depth that I find here.
These transitions can be so very hard. But God is more powerful than the circumstances that swirl around us deep.
Thanks, Linda! Changes are hard, but I hope I keep learning from my experiences and improve each time, learning to trust that God is in control and will lead me through.
Even at this point in my life I have a difficult time handling change.
I think change is always hard – we’re creatures of habit. But I keep thinking, how much time and energy do we waste fighting the inevitable changes, when we could instead focus on making it better?
Checking out or kicking and screaming for some of us change is hard stuff. I completely agree though . . . changing our attitude and keeping our eyes on the One can use each change for His plans and purposes give us the strength, courage, peace and contentment we need. It helps to keep my temper tantrums down to a minimum! Blessings to you and thank you for sharing your story to encourage us.
The more I keep focused on God in these storms, the less time I spend fighting the change. Of course, I think I may always do some kicking and screaming (some changes are not ones I want), but at least we have Him there to guide us through them.
Amen! I have been known to mentally check out as a way to protect my heart from what the change was all about. I feel it is easier to plow through the physical piece if I have the emotional/mental piece under control. However, I also have learned that stuffing the emotional piece will most certainly come back to haunt you and the most productive way of handling change is with God who provides all whether it is physical, mental or emotional. Happy Tuesday!
This one is probably my standard response to change – to stuff the emotions and plow through the motions. You’re right, though, those emotions eventually have to be dealt with. When we boldly face it all up front and ask God to help us through it, we can move through the change in a better state.
Karrilee Aggett says
This is such a great post! I think we have all ‘checked out’ from time to time! I used to resist Change… thinking it evil and disruptive. It’s only been the last several years that He has taught me to lean in to it and embrace it as the great adventure that it is! (Not always easy… but my perspective is changing!) We are neighbors over at Holly’s today! So glad I stopped by!
I do this one a lot, especially for some of the bigger changes. Now that I’m in the midst of some God-driven changes – and ones I at times even ask for – it’s getting easier to embrace and trust, even if the change itself is still hard. Thanks for stopping by, neighbor! 🙂
Can’t tell you how this post spoke to the very core of me. In fact, I am not sure I even realized I was doing this…going through the motions, but detaching from the fullness of what God has been trying to teach me. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart…THANK YOU!
I’m so deeply touched that these words spoke to you in such a way. Been praying for you today and whatever God is working on through you. This is definitely one of my standard responses – but writing and studying this material has really opened my eyes, too, about leaning into God and embracing the changes He’s taking me through.