Carter rounded the corner crying uncontrollably. “Mama, I can’t feed my chickens. I can’t get ready for school. Nothing is going right. It’s just an awful day.”
We still had plenty of time for him to get ready for school and feed his chickens, so I was a little confused as to why his day was ruined since it was only 6:50 a.m. “Carter, what’s the deal, buddy?”
More tears, “My pants aren’t dry, and they are never going to get done, and we are going to be late, and it’s just the worst day ever.”
Now I was tracking. “Okay, so, first of all, your pants are still wet, but that doesn’t mean your legs are broken. I know it’s not your usual routine but put your boots on with your pajamas and feed your chickens BEFORE you get dressed. Then come in and brush your teeth, change your shirt, and get your backpack together. By then your pants will be done, and you can quickly put them on as we are leaving.”
A look of sheer panic shot across his face. “But, what if they aren’t dry? What if I get chicken poop on my pajamas? What if I make everybody late?”
“Carter, you are just going to have to trust me on this. Everything will work out fine.”
And everything worked out just fine. His pants were ready as we were leaving. He got his chores done. We made it to school on time. But he learned a valuable lesson that day: We have to be willing to change.
As I think about my son’s resistance to change, I’m immediately taken back to when I was teaching elementary school over a decade ago. I knew God was moving me in a new direction, but I was scared. Teaching was all I knew. I knew the patterns. I knew the routines. I knew the lingo. Giving up something so familiar was difficult. Many times over the summer, just like my son, I walked through the house sobbing, in desperate need of my familiar routine and schedule. I just needed my pants!
Aren’t we all like that sometimes? We get comfortable in our safe routines and familiar processes. Our circle of friends is safe. Our comings and goings are predictable. Our meals are scheduled. Naptime. Ball games. Church. Work. Bedtime. TV shows. Laundry. Homework. Everything flows.
Until it doesn’t. Then a spouse loses their job. Or a child gets caught up in the wrong crowd. Aging parents end up in the hospital. A natural disaster impacts your home. A friend gets cancer. More responsibilities get thrown your direction at work. Divorce hits. Addiction comes. Anxiety controls. Depression debilitates.
And with one big change, we find ourselves standing in the middle of life, sobbing our eyes out, “What if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t fix it? What if they die? What if we never get past this? This is just the worst day ever!”
And just like I reminded Carter that everything would be fine, God swoops in with His gentle reminder to us: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-27, 33-34 NIV).
Even when we feel like our world is off-kilter. Even when we can’t see what He is doing. Even when our routines are shattered and our normal is challenged. God. Is. Still. In. Control.
This morning, my pants were in the dryer, and I had to get ready while still wearing my pajamas. I called Carter into the kitchen. “Am I freaking out this morning because my pants are still in the dryer? Or am I going with the flow trying to make the best of my morning?”
He smiled, “You aren’t freaking out, Mama.”
“That’s right,” I smiled back. “Change is for the moment, but attitude is for the whole day.”
As we face the many changes this past year has brought and prepare for the ones to come, let’s remember WHO is in charge. Instead of pitching a fit, wanting our pants, let’s recognize change is only for a moment, but our attitude affects our whole life. When change comes, because it always will, we must choose to trust God’s heart that He always knows best.
© Christy Bass Adams, 2021
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