“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Often as we start our journey, we never think about how transitory many aspects of life really are. We assume that the people, places, and things in our lives today are permanent fixtures in the backdrop of our life. Most don’t live with a day to day awareness, particularly in youth, that many of the things we enjoy in life today have an expiration date and will one day be gone. Friends move, jobs change, and new opportunities take us to different places from where we started.
In fact, the inconstancy of life is one of its most constant features. Change happens all around us, all the time. The sooner we embrace this as normal and necessary to life, the sooner we are able to transition from one season of life to the next with grace and anticipation for the new adventure that awaits. The fear of change is common, almost universal, and usually has something to do with our desire to hang on to what we have, our reluctance to adapt to or learn new things, and a general uncertainty of the future.
However, change is necessary in the process of life. We don’t want change merely for change’s sake, but we do need to understand that moving forward in the plan of God will often mean saying farewell to one season of our lives and embracing another. While we instinctively want to hold on to those who played a major role in a prior season, the impracticality of maintaining the same closeness often means they move into more of a background role in our lives, as new relationships and involvements relative to the new season we’re in come into the foreground.
Such a life, moving with the purposes of God, becomes a rich tapestry of layered experience and relationships that deepen our wisdom and understanding of life. Our myopic views open to a broader understanding of the larger world, enabling us to become more versatile and relate more widely. In my own experience, I have found that each new season I have entered has benefitted from the collective experience and wisdom of the previous seasons, making my contribution greater as I continue to move forward in my life’s journey. Our value to the world around us, and those whom we serve, deepens as our own interior borders are extended through our growth, breaking us loose from our prior confines and maturing us in ways we could never have anticipated. As we look into the reservoir of our experience, there is so much more to draw from and pass on to the generation that must take the baton from us.
Learning to cooperate with the changing seasons, rather than resisting them, is essential to our success and enjoyment of the journey. Life is not static but fluid, and change will come regardless of our reluctance or acceptance, so we must learn to stay adaptable. Sometimes change will come naturally, as a normal consequence of life, while at other times we will have to be more intentional about making changes, as we learn to cooperate with the transition from one season to the next. Sometimes change is initiated by God as He moves us into position to serve His ongoing purpose for our lives. The truth is that change keeps something alive and young in us that can otherwise be lulled to sleep by the all too familiar rhythms of a comfortable season that fails to present new challenges. God’s not done with you yet, which likely means more new seasons are still ahead of you, along with a still richer life from which you will have even more wisdom and experience to share with others.