I don’t handle change very well.
While normally an outgoing, laid-back person, I enjoy the comfort of what’s known. It seems the older I’ve gotten, I’ve become less excited about any form of change—a scary reality since our family is entering a very big season of change.
Last September, our oldest child started kindergarten. Since Jason and I choose not to send our children to preschool, it was the first time my daughter was without me. Knowing we didn’t want a traditional, five-days-a-week school option, we chose a small private school whose kindergarten program only meets two days a week. After five glorious years of her being home all day, every day, I struggled (the entire length of the school year) to adjust to the sudden demand of early mornings and structured evenings. And she only was in school on Tuesdays and Thursdays! Today she begins another school year, this time as a first grader who will attend school three days a week.
To add to the scholastic changes occurring in my house, my five-year-old son is starting kindergarten today. We wavered on if we should wait until he was six or begin him at five, but after months of seeking the Lord, my husband and I agreed that kindergarten was the best choice for him. However, that doesn’t make his first day of school any less anxiety-provoking for this mama.
And, as if that isn’t change enough for one person, today is also my husband’s first day at a new job.
It is this change that has had my stomach tied in knots the most. For the past six years, my husband has loved his job and his coworkers, but his long commute (over an hour each way) began to wear him down and have a negative effect on our family. He recently signed a contract with a hospital not too far from our home. While I am excited about him being much closer to our family, the transition comes with many unknowns. His work hours will be very different from the template schedule our family has grown accustomed to. He used to know his days off a year in advance, but now we will only know two months in advance. He is leaving a family-first setting with like-minded colleagues and entering an undetermined work environment. As you can see, the unknowns stack up taller than the knowns.
The start of a new school year for two of my children and the start of a new job for my husband is testing my ability to keep it together. My nerves are tingling all over my body, and the sick feeling in my stomach is increasing by the minute. I wish I could tell you I spent our summer months savoring every moment with my children home and my husband still at his old job. But honestly, I’ve spent the majority of my time anxious about today because I don’t handle change very well.
Now is where I am supposed to write about God’s stability. After all, Scripture says he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And while that is true and comforting, I’m distracted from that point because I’m noticing that this blog post has been all about me and how I’m struggling. Did you pick up on that too?
Yet I’m not the one in the midst of a career change; my husband is. I don’t know why it has taken me this long to figure that out. I have been so self-focused that I have neglected to realize how this transition is affecting my husband! While I am the one stressing out over how his career change will affect me, he’s the one who is actually changing jobs! He’s the one entering into a new work environment with new colleagues. Throughout my reeling and churning, I have not once asked him how he is feeling.
My husband has always been the kind of man who prefers to keep his emotions to himself, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need an opportunity to vent or express himself. How could he, though, when all of my conversations have been “Me, me, me, me” and “I, I, I, I”? Thinking back, I vaguely recall him describing the job transition as “anxiety provoking,” but I never gave him the chance to expound on that comment, nor did I offer him an encouraging word.
I could blame my selfishness on all the changes, but honestly it is an everyday occurrence that I focus on me and forget about my husband. It seems everything centers on what I am feeling, how I am processing, and what I need from my husband. It is such a part of my life that it doesn’t stand out to me or seem selfish! My heart aches at the thought of how far I am from the woman and wife that the Lord wants me to be. Scripture is not silent about selfishness, and the more I read, the more I want him to transform me.
So on this day of change, I am the one making a change.
I don’t want to continue to live with a me-first attitude. No longer will I assume that I alone have emotions that need to be processed. With conviction from the Holy Spirit and help from the Lord, I will be a wife who will realize she is not the center of the universe. I’m not the only one affected by change, and it is high time I start acting like it.
How do you handle change?