Preparing for Change Helps Us Be More Present

Countdowns. Due dates. Decisions. Having a basic awareness of these things in life causes the need for preparation to stir. Even then, having the choice of how to prepare for them poses its own questions: procrastination, to-do lists, or delegation?

When change strikes our lives, it evokes a response. People take sides on hating change or loving it, proverbial stakes in the ground that set the stage for adaptation because the truth is that we all need to become better suited to our environments.

In the face of change, one can detach from life and let unfiltered worry steer the ship, causing a build-up of stress and anxiety, or the focus can be placed on the controllable, seeking out what truly matters, and gleaning nuggets of gold along the way.

In my life, I have found that when change is foreshadowed, fight or flight kicks in. When I catch wind of disruption, it takes a conscious effort to stay present. I have also found that when I embrace change like a wave embraces the pulling back and pressing up of the tide, clarity fills the spaces that fear of the unknown tries to steal.

When I was told that my position at work would be eliminated due to the school closing, I realized that meant along with a great deal of change, all 80 relationships I’d spent the last year and a half investing in would be ultimately removed from my day-to-day life. The day I returned to work after hearing the news, everything was different, but only because I had made the decision to allow myself to be fully affected by the presence of change. I had decided that pouring into these relationships with a loving and thankful heart was the best route to take, even though I knew I would be saying goodbye in 30 days.

I stopped asking the students the same questions every day and treated every moment with them as an adventure. The walk to their classrooms became a hunt for bugs and snails and flowers. Every family received a hand-written thank-you card for allowing me the opportunity to participate in their lives. I spent time intentionally writing down exactly how I felt about it all so that I wouldn’t run away from the hard, uncomfortable emotions like I normally would.

Growing up, my dad would always end his dinner table prayers with, “Lord, help us not to take anything for granted because it’s easy for us to do.”

We’ve all heard it before that change is inevitable. We should be so lucky to be presented with the opportunity for change, to learn what we have been taking for granted, and to shake ourselves awake.

To dig our heels in and open up our souls to the emotion of letting go of the way things were to embrace the new.

To prepare our internal landscape to stay malleable to the flux happening externally.

To be moved and to make the most of it.

Ultimately, we may never be fully prepared for the changes that take place in our lives - 2020 is the perfect example of that. But when the change is revealed and all that’s left is our choice to respond, we can vow not to take anything more for granted and make the most of what the present holds, staying awake and alive to each moment regardless of what lies ahead.