By Amanda Cleary Eastep
It’s a year of transition for my family. High school and college graduations, a wedding, and a potential job change.
And, for me, a sense of an impending–I hesitate to use the word–molting. (Ew, I know.)
I’m shedding the skin of the first half of my life…kids grown, resume a solid two pages, and the door to opportunity thrown wide open.
That’s what’s causing this itch. My familiar is loosening around me, and uncertainty can cause a lot of discomfort.
I figure at this stage of life, a person has two choices.
1. Keep trying to live and function in what you know, even if it doesn’t fit anymore.
2. Move into your discomfort.
I have been trying to move into impending change gradually…starting a side business that would eventually allow me to work remotely, talking with family members about a future move out of state, and helping my kids build a solid jumping off place for their futures.
Yet at some point, you have to make hard and fast decisions.
And for someone with a practical mind (the left side, anyway) and a restless spirit, this is both terrifying and exciting.
Myselves are constantly in debates that go kind of like this…
Topic: “What’s next” isn’t on Google maps. Go!
Practical Left-brained Girl: “I would really prefer to enter the directions: from Current Location to Home Office with a Mountain View. I’m all for an occasional detour while on vacation. But we could get lost or run out of gas (especially since you don’t fill the tank until it’s almost on empty) as we try to anticipate the twists and turns ahead and arrive safely in our futures.”
Restless Gypsy Spirit Girl: “Sure, but remember that awesome trip to Wisconsin when we were trying to follow our cousin’s directions to the family reunion? ‘Turn left where the road splits at the curve’ and ‘Turn right after the spotted cow sign.’ When we finally found the place, we tried to pinpoint our location on the GPS, and there was just a big red question mark on the map. It was hilarious. Even a satellite couldn’t locate us. But we knew exactly where we were. We were in our joy.”
Topic: “What’s next” can scare the crap out of you. Go!
Practical Left-brained Girl: “If Change, even for the better, is unsettling, then Uncertainty is the monster under our childhood bed who grew up and is still an ass. Remember how he used to tease me in high school by saying he wasn’t sure whether or not my breasts were ever going to grow? I still hate him. That’s why we do whatever we can to ward him off by maxing out our 401(k) and staying in jobs that suck our souls out through our nostrils.”
Restless Gypsy Spirit Girl: “Maybe think of Uncertainty as being more like our 7th grade Halloween party. All of us kids were blindfolded before entering the ‘haunted house,’ i.e. janitor’s closet. Then room moms stuck our hands in pails of eyeballs (peeled grapes), brains (cold spaghetti noodles), and livers (livers). It really wasn’t that scary, but sometimes we just feel as if we’re walking into small spaces blindfolded and at the mercy of well-meaning but misguided middle-aged women.
Topic: “What’s next” sometimes can’t be attained until we step into the river. Go!
Practical Left-brained Girl: “In that recent blog post by the insightful blogger Emily P. Freeman, What Happened After My Husband Quit His Job, she explains how she and her husband didn’t have clarity at the time he quit his job. HE QUIT HIS JOB before *gasp, choke, ack* he had another one lined up. I understand that later she could look back and identify the ‘arrows’ that actually pointed them in the direction of their current life situation, and I was inspired, but I still broke out in a cold sweat reading about it.”
Restless Gypsy Spirit Girl: “Funny, it reminded me of the story of Joshua as he led the people of Israel across the Jordan River. Not until the priests carrying the ark of the covenant walked into the water did the water stop flowing from upstream and heap up so that the whole nation crossed on dry ground. That’s because God told him in this really cool Charlton Heston voice:
See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you!!!
Practical Left-brained Girl: “I understand that. Heck, I would like to hear a booming voice and–”
Restless Gypsy Spirit Girl: “Oh! and did you know that the Israelites were coming out of a place called Shittim? Now that’s hilarious. And pretty symbolic when you think about it.”
So, that’s where I’m at right now…
…standing at the edge of potential life changes with my swim goggles and water wings on. I touch my toe to the uncertainty, then pull back when it laps at my feet, daring me to step into the deeper stuff.
The only certainty, really ever, is that if God is among us, we never step into the river alone.
He is in there already, wading around in our discomfort as we move into it, trust him, and watch him part the waters.