a blog post from author Susan Isaacs where she considered a question she'd heard at a conference: Where will you be in one year, three years, five years if you don't change anything?"
She shared her answer re: art, and how, if she changed nothing, she'd be exactly where she was that day, not having produced anything new, all of the ideas percolating in her heart and mind still unrealized. She shared how this pushed her to move forward and accomplish a HUGE artistic feat - inspiring stuff :)
The question stuck with me. At a certain point I realized that I was considering it not just as a writer, but across the larger span of my life. What I found surprised me.
Let me preface by saying, I've seen a lot of change. Steve and I are well-paired in that we're both pretty comfortable with risk, and so whether we put much intention into it or not, our life looks remarkably different year-to-year, even as the infrastructure (faith in Jesus, marriage to each other, cleaning up after THAT DOG's various misadventures) stays the same.
In this, I've learned:
1. There are some changes I control. For example, whether I write, clean up the house, work out, reach out to friends, or take THAT DOG for a real walk rather than just another tour of the backyard. And some I do not. Such as when I met my husband, if we have children, how well my books sell, or what my hair looks like on any given day (you'd think I'd have some control there, but no.) So when I think about initiating change, I'm limited to group one. I've tried a bunch of times to force change in the second group and failed. (But found material for 2/going-on-3 memoirs, so not a total loss!)
2. Change finds me. I don't have to hunt for it. As I think about where my life will be in one/three/five years if I don't change a thing, here's what I see: I may not have finished any of the book projects on my laptop, which is sad. But still, my life will look nothing like it does today, because I'm not the only player in this drama (or comedy) of life. There are intervening factors, choices by other people, phone calls that come out of nowhere and reroute everything. There's God. He has a plan, and while I think I know the details, I don't.
What does this mean in terms of Advent? Nothing, really. Or maybe this: We think we know what we're waiting for...but we don't, not entirely. We see pieces of the salvation we need: artistic motivation, romantic turnaround, family fulfillment, professional breakthrough (a trash can that will keep a dog out of the garbage once and for all...) And yet God has more in store. I'm excited about that possibility. And it feels so vast and untamed that I can pray into it with boldness, having no clue at all what I'm asking for.
This thought, just now: What if bolder prayers are a bigger change-maker than I've considered?