Has life ever thrown you a curveball? Have you ever found it hard to let go of the past and move on into a healthy future?
Adaptability. A word I never thought of much until I was doing research for an editorial I was writing for the Telfair Enterprise newspaper many years ago.
Adaptability: the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions; the capacity to be modified for a new use or purpose.
I had driven up to Atlanta to do research about a famed author, Margaret Mitchell, on a freezing cold, icy weekend in November. Throughout my research there was a reaccuring theme about not only her life, but the lives of the chahracters she wrote in Gone With The Wind ... and that was the theme of adaptability.
I thought I had my life all perfectly figured out as I toured Mitchell's Atlanta apartment and learned about how she wrote Gone With The Wind at a tiny table over a ten year period of time while she propped her bad ankle on a chair in front of her. As I contemplated the fortitude it must've taken to persevere through the isolation and boredom of such a life, to produce such a work of art, I couldn't have predicted the cold storm coming my own way ... a windy, wintery blizzard that would change the landscape of my life to be unrecognizable to most, and completely foreign to me.
In the span of about eight years, I lost my husband, son, house, cars, physical health, career, ability to bring in a steady income, friends, church family, and my sense of home. Worse than all of that, I believe, was the loss of my sense of direction and purpose. I was never a "lost" person. I always had a solid sense of identity and direction for my life, every since I was a little girl. But just four years into that eight year blizzard had left me bone try, bitterly frozen, and unable to get myself unstuck from the vast, icy pond surrounding me. For the first time in my life I truly felt lost, and a little bit hopeless.
My temporary, years-long winter was not one filled with warmth, fuzzy feelings, hot cocoa around a fire, or being surrounded by people I loved. It was hard, lonely, and filled with a sorrow I couldn't seem to escape.
Now, I can see God was trying to teach me something through Mitchell. He was teaching me that if I was to survive the icy plain that would soon be taking over my life, I absolutely had to learn to adapt.
Adapting to change has never been easy for me. I'm an all-or-nothing person and I have been known to get a "Plan A" in my head, and to be a bulldog when it comes to latching onto that plan and seeing it through. Plan B's were never an option for me. There was only Plan A and I just had to make Plan A work or my world would fall apart.
Fall apart it did. Life was telling me I had to adapt to not only Plan B, but C and then D and then E and then F ... and so on and so on ...
Relentless, unpredictable transition was all around me, and it was either adapt to the changes being thrown at me, or die.
After many years of struggle, in 2016, I finally relented from the fight to have things my way, and chose to adapt so that I might live not only physically (for the sake of my children and future grandchildren), but emotionally and spiritually, as well. I wouldn't myself have chosen to walk through some of the doors God opened before me following that choice, but now having walked through them, I'm so thankful God had back-up plans in place when all my plans had miserably failed.
My plans were frozen in time, but God brought me into a warm, wide place filled with beautiful people and a warm cozy blanket wrapped around my once broken heart.
I recently went on a tubing trip down the Ichetucknee Springs River at a State Park in Florida. I had been struggling emotionally with adapting in another area of my life, and a cool day on an icy cold river seemed the perfect remedy to ease my mind.
I discovered, as I floated in peace, I had a constant companion on my knee ... a blue dragonfly. He never left me the entirety of the trip, and I felt as though, once again, God was trying to show me something profound.
When I got home I looked up the meaning of dragonflies and stumbled across a story that touched my heart in the deepest way. It told of the transition we all eventually face as we pass from this earth to the next life, sharing ...
"No bird or insect has the flight maneuverability of the dragonfly, which can quickly change its direction when necessary; they are experts at going where they need to be and doing what they need to do."
So, my dear dragonflies, let us adapt, adapt, adapt and continue to move forward, regardless of what life throws our way! Changes doesn't catch God by surprise, and He always has a plan, even when we've lost the ability to see the plan for ourselves. Listen to His voice. Walk through the doors He opens. Be open to change and a different way of doing and seeing things. It just might save your life, giving you more time on this earth to make a difference and help others in your own community.
Aren't we tired of hanging on to the old, dead dreams? Let's embrace the new God has for us today!
On the days when embracing change feels impossible, simply pray, "God, help my unbelief. Open my eyes to see my situation as You see it. Grant me the ability to change the things I can for the better, and the accept those things I cannot change, knowing You work all things together for my good, as you promised in Romans 8:28 of Your Word. Amen."
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.