If you can’t go over it, go around it.

A couple days ago, I got a snapchat from a friend of mine saying “Emily, there is too much change in your life.” At first, I laughed. I mean, this message was in response to my new bedroom furniture. She couldn’t be right…right? The truth is, there is a lot of change in my life. A dresser and a bedspread are just icing on the cake of the life of a rising college senior.

It’s been a constant uphill battle recently as I try to understand and navigate the change in my life. While some are smaller, like a new summer job, or a new apartment for my senior year, some changes are a lot more prominent. While I’m learning the ropes to take over a Virginia-wide mission program from a mentor of mine, I’m also learning how to step back from a huge role in an organization that I love so much, but knowing that I’m leaving it in capable hands. I always expected that when I was 21 years old, I would know exactly where my life was going. But here I am, on what feels like no path. Being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and realizing that teaching may not be the path of life I end up getting on post-graduation is confusing, overwhelming, and just…different.

So, how do I navigate this change? How do I figure out exactly what step I’m supposed to take next, or even how do I figure out how to lift my foot and take a step? And how, how, how the heck am I supposed to do this without crying?

Just a few days ago, my pastor spoke on handling change and transition in tough parts of your life. This was the second to last of his sermons at my church, as he is headed to Chesapeake, Virginia come July, to begin the next path in his life. As happy as I am for him and his family, he has had a huge role in the shaping of my faith, and this is yet another difficult change I’m not ready for. In this sermon of his, he said something about transition that really stuck with me.

“If change is the mountain in life’s path, transition is how we get around, over, or through the mountain.”

The truth is, change is what happens outside of you, outside of your control. That mountain is going to be there, no matter what. You can backtrack, bring different gear to try to get through it, cry, anything. It doesn’t matter what your “approach” is, the mountain is still going to be there. But you see, the transition is how you are going to get to the other side of this mountain. This part is what is in your control. The hardest part about changes in our lives is we feel like we surrender the reins, and in many ways, that’s true. You do surrender in a way, as you cannot control what happens. BUT you can control how you react to it, you can control how you handle the situation itself. See, these periods of transition in our lives are the most blurry, chaotic points in our life, but they are the points in our life that supply us with the most growth in ways we were not even expecting. In order to move past the change, you must tackle the transition. Accept what is happening, be open to see where your life goes next, and commit fully to trusting Him one hundred percent.

“Wilderness has always been the place where He shapes us and makes us new.”

When I went to Yellowstone National Park a month ago, I knew as I explored the landscape in this breathtaking place, I felt a feeling that the truth He made is holding out. By just allowing myself to be surrounded by His creation, I realized that I need to leave this, leave my struggles, leave my change, in His hands, because He has a plan for this all. His plans were not created for us to know or to understand, but rather to believe in and have faith in. And so I will, and so I do. And so when I worry about things beyond my control, I must remind myself that He makes all things new and allowing myself be open to what He has in store for me will shape me in countless ways. Now, don’t get me wrong. Accepting that I need to leave my struggle in His hands doesn’t mean I care any less about the situations. Honestly, it means that I care so deeply, and He knows that, and I need to trust that He will show me how to grow.

Last week, I was in Virginia Beach for a Voices of Youth meeting. Late Friday night, after our day of meetings was over, me and my closest friend on the trip got in my car and ended up on the beach. We sat in the sand, and stood in the water, and just talked about life, about our summer ahead, and allowed His beautiful creation show us there is so much beauty around us if we would just open our eyes and look around. Yes, we got eaten alive by bugs, and yes, I did find a dead bug in my hair the next morning (don’t worry, it was just one), but it was so worth it. Have you ever been on a beach in the dark, when all there is to hear is the voice of a friend and the waves hitting the shore? It was a beautiful sight, a beautiful sound, and a beautiful sign that He is there at all times of the day, at all points in our lives.

“Change and transition may never be easy, but you will never be alone.”

Look around you. You’re not in this alone. Sometimes it may feel like you are, but no matter how you are handling a situation, there will be the right person there for you. You see, when God put each and every one of us on this earth, he gave us countless angels that surround us every day, and hold our hand as we figure out how to cross this mountain, how to find a new path. Change is hard. Transition is harder. But He would never ask us to do it alone. Because even if there isn’t a person sitting beside you in the grass, or walking beside you on a beach, He is always going to be there. He is always going to be there, ready to help us tackle that mountain of change in front of us.

Because I know, right now, in this change, it’s one of the scariest places to be. But I promise you, “this isn’t the way it’s always going to be.” So, trust in Him wholeheartedly, and you will make it to the other side of your mountain, where a breathtaking view is waiting for you.

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