It started with Veronica Roth’s trilogy, Divergent. The addiction was subtle and quick. I can’t stop reading these dystopian trilogies. I’ve always loved young adult fiction and I can’t keep my hands off the “new” crop of titles. (Some are not so new but when you have little kids, well, you lose about ten years of reading time.) My house is not getting any cleaner.
However the fiction is rich with themes and ideas. Reading with “older” eyes and more experience in life, makes it that much more meaningful. Recently I finished the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. Good. The story was enthralling and tense (I had to look ahead. I’m no purist when it comes to reading the ending at the end.) The writing was…let’s just say that Condie is really good at her craft. This trilogy had something that some of the others have missed. It had hope. It had the promise of change. I started writing down quotes that kept jumping out at me.
In one chapter, Cassia, one of the main characters, has a choice. She can either stay where she is or she can take a risk and go someplace else. As she debates with herself, she thinks, “You cannot change your journey if you are unwilling to move at all.” (Reached, Ally Condie, p. 232.) It stopped me mid-paragraph. I had to go read it again. Truth. Our journeys remain the same if we continue in the same direction. To change our journey, we have to put ourselves on a new, different course. You may not want to change your journey. Not all of us need to. But some of us, do.
I’ve needed to change my journey a few times. The paths were either not where I wanted to go or were leading in a direction that the end result was going to be destructive, not just for myself but those I loved. I had to be willing to move out of my comfort zone, the desire to blame others and circumstances as well as my fear. Change can only happen if we let it. Sometimes we are the biggest obstacle to our ourselves. I’ll admit, I’ve stayed frozen in place, walking the same path more often than I’d care to admit.
Willingness, as Condie writes, is key. In being willing, we are being brave. Being willing to change, opens the door to let in the light. Lies are revealed. Tapes we’ve been listening to for far too long suddenly sound warped. We’re incapable of change. This is just who we are. You are living in a fairy tale if you think it’s gonna change. These falsehoods are the enemy’s snares to keep us trapped in mediocre lives. In defeated lives. In our comfort zones. But the moment we are willing to change, the light reveals the holes in the lies and the dust bunnies in our zones. It might be time for an airing out.
Willingness also makes us take ownership of what we are responsible for in our lives. It guides us to place where we let go of blame. Yeah, the world can throw us some really hard curves but it can’t dictate how we respond. Blaming keeps us under a rock. It pulls us down when we could be soaring. Being willing to change helps us kick off the chains, whatever they might be, that drag us back to the pit.
Finally being willing to change means we are willing to stand up to the worst bully ever, our fear. That icy hand that holds us pinned and paralyzed, afraid to turn left or right. Scared to move. Being willing to start the process of change in ourselves means we’re ready to move forward despite our fear. We’ll fight it because it’s losing it’s grip on us.
It’s so hard to change. That one little sentence seems so innocuous. Being willing to change so your journey can take on a whole new shape or message, will be a ton of work. It might require some help from others. It might require trusting God. Which can be scary. The question we need to ask ourselves is; where do I want to end up? The destination I’m headed now or somewhere totally new? Maybe someplace great? Better than we’d ever imagined?
In my own experience, the hard work is definitely worth the pain, sweat and tears. There’s gonna be a lot of that! A journey requires work, effort, preparation. To change a course takes even more intentionality. Letting life happen to you doesn’t work. Taking responsibility for our actions, our choices, our words, and attitudes, does.
Changing our journey doesn’t mean it’s suddenly all a rose-coloured picnic. It does mean that we are in charge of us. I am in control of me and how I respond, instead of letting circumstances and people be the masters that enslave me. I can be willing to move so I end up in a place I want to be. A place where I can discover who I was created to be.