It was a frequent thought of mine not too long ago.
Clothes, places I’ve long held dear, songs I’ve always loved, communities I’ve been involved with, personal relationships, even my own skin.
It all felt scratchy, somehow.
I’d look in the mirror and not recognize myself. I’d look in my closet and want to donate every last article of outdated clothing to Goodwill. I’d look at the home phone and remember that my mom who used to call me every day isn’t able to call me at all anymore.
I’d sit in church and wish I was somewhere else. I’d drive past the grocery store I’ve shopped at for 11 years and wish it hadn’t moved to a new location across town. I’d watch my girls playing on their phones and wish for the days when they used to chase each other around the backyard for hours at a time.
Scratchy, I tell you.
My sister attributed it to midlife, which is a tad bit frustrating because I went through menopause six years ago (at the ripe old age of 41) and thought I was done with all that.
A friend told me I was feeling this way because of all the change—not only what I’ve mentioned here, but more than a year’s worth, one on top of another. Some big, some small; some merely inconvenient, some totally life-altering.
Whatever the cause, I had to find a way through it. So I did whatever any other sane, reasonable person would do after a stressful, exhausting season—eliminate half the food I eat for 30 days.
That’s right. No added sugar, grains, dairy products, preservatives and legumes for a whole month. Fun stuff, this Whole30 eating plan.
Randy and I started our little food adventure on Oct. 1 and ended it yesterday. Over the last four weeks, I’ve learned all sorts of things about myself, my tastes and my relationship with food. (For one thing, I missed coffee creamer terribly and never want to drink black coffee again.)
I’ll write more about this journey next week. Until then, here are some thoughts about change that might encourage you if everything is feeling scratchy in your world these days.
• Change is hard. Facing many changes at once is exponentially hard.
It would be nice if we could somehow schedule just one change at a time, but life rarely offers that convenience. In the midst of it all, however, it sometimes helps to acknowledge one simple truth: That even if what we are experiencing isn’t life-threatening or heart-breaking, it is a lot. And that alone makes it tough.
• There’s no going back.
Despite my good intentions, I’m never going to wear those clothes I haven’t touched for a decade. My mom is not going to call me to talk about recipes again. That Aldi store I shopped at for so many years is closed for good.
Those chapters are over. They may not seem complete to me, but they are done. Whether I like it or not, I have to move forward.
• You’re not alone in this.
As I haltingly tried to describe how I was feeling, my friend simply nodded in understanding. Yes, I might feel like nothing fits, but I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way. Somehow, that’s comforting to me.
• There is still joy to be found.
It’s easy to let the overwhelming stuff overshadow everything else, but life is still full of beauty and grace. It really is.
I’m discovering this even as I visit my mom at her long-term care home and interact with the caregivers and other residents. It never fails: I go to spend time with her, and I leave feeling blessed by the encounters I’ve had while I’m there.
• You will come out on the other side.
This is something else my friend told me, and you know what? I believe her.
I don’t know what “the other side” is going to look like exactly. But as Philippians 1:6 says, I’m confident that the One who began a good work in me (and you) will complete it—in His way, in His timing and according to His perfect plans.
In the meantime, everything is sure to be a bit more bearable now that I can have cream and sugar in my coffee again.
♥ LoisChange is hard. Facing many changes at once is exponentially hard. Click To Tweet