I Want Change, But Not *That* Kind of Change
We all want *something* or *someone* to change in our lives, but we struggle to accept the change that comes with getting what we want.
In this blog post, I reflect on answered prayers, *getting what we want*, and accepting the change that comes with it. These reflections are based upon my own personal life experiences.
Getting What We Want In The Most Unexpected Ways
It was Ana's 36th birthday this month. We have been friends since 1998. For anyone doing the math, that's since we were thirteen years old.
I rely on my intuition to pick birthday and holiday gifts for her, even though she is like a sister to me. This birthday was one of those occasions to rely upon my intuition.
Well ahead of her birthday, I came across a Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker. I heard Spirit say, "Give it to Ana for her birthday."
Logical me questioned this directive. I thought, "That's not a fun or exciting gift..."
But every time I asked Spirit, I got the same response, "Give this coffee maker to Ana."
In obedience, I put the giant box in an even bigger birthday themed bag and covered it with tissue. Inside, I placed a birthday card with a special birthday meditation for the theme of her new personal year to inspire hope and fulfillment of her private dreams.
I arrived at the Barn where we arranged a social distanced friend to friend lunch and outdoor horse experience.
Immediately, I said to her as if to save face, "I got you a really weird gift. It's not one I would pick, but Spirit told me to give it to you, so I hope you like it."
I didn't want to wait any longer so I commanded, "Open your gift!"
She pulled the box from the bag and exclaimed in laughter, "This is exactly what I wanted!"
My jaw dropped in confoundment, "Why!?"
"Well," she said, "I have a Keurig, but since I've been working from home I wanted a giant pot of coffee to get me through the day. I had a credit on Amazon and cruised the store for weeks trying to decide what model of coffee make to get for myself..."
I listened to her story in complete awe.
"And, I got frustrated and said to myself, 'This is not something I want to buy for myself," she explained, "So I just let it go. This is exactly what I wanted!"
I've witnessed many miracles of faith before, but this was a miracle of obedience. On paper, it doesn't make sense to give a friend a home appliance that one doesn't know they want or already have. I haven't been to her apartment since the pandemic hit. There was no way that I could have known that she wanted the coffee maker.
I was in awe of how simple obedience to the intuitive direction could make her birthday so special.
Accepting What We Want - And The Change That Comes With It
Ana opened the birthday card. I included this meditation for her new personal year which I will share with you because it opened up an important conversation we shared about getting what we want in life.
This is what I was inspired to write, which is based off Joseph Murphy's saying, but I added one crucial part.
"Everything good, everything wonderful, everything beautiful, everything loving, that I want God wants me to have and accept, right now... and all the change that comes with it."
When I wrote it down one day, I heard as clear as day, "Put the part about accepting the changes that comes with everything we want."
I came to learn through experience...
Because, we all want some kind of change. We want something to come to fruition, to happen, to get better, and so forth.
We say we want change, but then when situations or people come along to incite or accelerate that change, we become resistant and say, "I want change, but not that kind of change."
The disruption to our status quo is shocking, alarming, stressful, and worrisome.
We doubt, worry, and question, "What the heck is going on?!"
We ask, "Why are things happening this way?"
2021: The Year of Accepting The Change That Comes With Answered Prayers
It's like a friend of mine who asked me to provide a job reference for him.
I had been thinking of him for two weeks, thinking, "It's time we talk." But I ignored it and kept forgetting to follow through with the directive.
Well, Spirit was right on time when he texted me two weeks later saying, "You were right about that job I accepted, it didn't work out and I'm looking for something else. Can you provide a job reference for me?"
I told him, the job worked out for the time it was supposed to because it was what he needed to get to the next step in his life. It wasn't the end all be all, but a stepping stone of his growth and professional success. And, now, whatever prayer he made in the past is now being answered. The only thing to do now is to accept the change that comes with it.
As we ate her birthday lunch, I told Ana that 2020 was the year of "Answered Prayers" and that 2021 is the year of "Accepting The Change" that comes with those fulfilled prayers.
She said I was right, because in 2020, she needed time to take care of a health issue and felt her commute was prohibiting her from doing it. The quarantine gave her the time to leverage her health insurance and flex time to get her health on track. It was exactly what she wanted.
Is quarantine fun? No. But we must start seeing the "inconveniences", the "disruptions" of life and remember what purpose they serve in the answering of our prayers.
When Life Forces Us To Accept Change - Even When It Seems Unwanted
Getting personal, my husband was laid off during the pandemic. He had a severance package and the clock was ticking. He had many, many interviews, and applied for almost 700 jobs. While, thank God, money was not a core issue for us, for him, he had to think about why he needed to get laid off in the first place.
He confessed that he had hung his soul on a hook at the start of every work day. He felt that he had no future there. The commute was over 2 hours a day. He was simply over trying to make it work. He wanted something closer, a salary that kept up with inflation, and work with people who valued and appreciated him.
Then, it hit him. He remembered what his prayer was. It was a prayer we said together on a drive through he winding roads of Ramona on the way to our wine club grape picking ceremony. We said together, "Franck makes a lavish, steady, dependable income consistent with integrity and mutual benefit." We said it together, out loud, over and over until it felt strong.
Shortly after, he was laid off. Like clock work.
While it started off nicely, the job evolved into a kind in which there existed no mutual benefit. He was harassed at work. They didn't pay promised bonuses.
In order for him to get the change he wanted, he had to let go of what he didn't want - even if it feels safe, dependable, and consistent. But, he wasn't just going to quit without a new job in hand. Life had to force him to accept the change. Hence, the lay off.
And, so in the most ironic fashion - he didn't take a job within a company that he applied for. None. Zip. Zero.
A competitor called him out of the blue, asked him if he'd consider a job opportunity they created just for him. They met him years ago, remembered him, and knew he would be perfect for the project.
It was what he asked for.
After two meetings, he was hired. He works from home, gets paid a fantastic salary, and works with people who express how much they appreciate him.
Remembering what we ask for
Now, I wish I could say how simple, easy, and chill this three month process was.
It's not fun watching the love of your life, the father of your children, your personal champion to struggle with what, for him, felt like an existential crisis. He was doing his best to figure out what to do, while maintaining normalcy for our children, and keeping this secret from our entire family and friends. We didn't tell anyone that he was laid off until after he was hired.
The whole time, he tried to figure out what was the catalyst for this major life change. When he figured it out, he felt more comfortable with living in the ambiguity that each day without a job creates.
He spent that time facing down his fears and insecurities related to his career. It was a "Come to God moment". However, I must say that such moments are merely coming face to face with oneself.
It's easy to panic, to fight, to blame. It takes a lot of personal strength and courage to say, "Something is happening for me, not to me," and continue walking in full faith in what seems to be the wilderness.
When my friend who was looking for a new job reached out, I offered some words of encouragement, "I believe God answers all of our prayers. We just need to remember, when God is answering them, what we asked for in the first place."
I said to Ana that the change, the disruption, the ambiguity and uncertainty is like the Hindu god Shiva destroying everything so we can build anew.
[In the video below, you'll see me singing with the chorus of my church's gospel music portion. AND, you'll also see our assistant Pastor Kevin talk about "walking in the wilderness". It really touched Franck during the time he was laid off, and he thinks it'll inspire you, too."]
What Resistance To The Change We Asked For Looks Like
Oh, God, we are so afraid of all of these things. We resist change. Resistance manifests through sickness, anxiety, worry, and accidents. We are forced to accept change through what we call "misfortune". Car accidents, sudden illness, conflict, fall out, bankruptcy, lay offs, etc.
We must embrace unexpected change if we are to embrace the change we actually want.
During this process, we have to face down emotions that we didn't even dream we were capable of feeling. One such emotion, for me, was disillusionment. I also had to come to terms during this process of letting go of the compromises in my health, happiness, and relationships to get crumbs of the illusions that I thought I was going to receive in return. That's some real talk, but it just goes to show that all of us have so much more growing to do.
The thing that saved me the most during this time was doing two things: praying (putting my mind on and affirming the good that is available to me now) and acting in faith (confiding in trusted friends - Dr. Michelle Dexter being one - acting on those spirit nudges like I did with Ana's birthday gift, and treating others right even it seems like they don't deserve it).
Make 2021 Your Year of Accepting Change
As I wrote in my book The Money Formula: change is the only constant.
Everything is constantly changing whether or not we recognize it or care to admit it. We are changing. The world is changing. Life is changing. People are changing.
They say that change is hard.
Maybe it is.
But, I posit, what if maybe change doesn't have to be that hard?
Where does change come from?
Because, if it comes from you, it can't be bad.