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]