Notes from Jan

Change is No Small Matter

September 7, 2023

A few maple leaves fluttered past. Signs of the season. School’s in session and yellow busses rule the roads. Still no brisk feel in the air. HOT and HUMID remains the forecast. And while Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer, Good Harbor beach looks busy.

But it’s September and ready or not, school’s open. Which prompted me to broach a serious topic with my family around the dinner table Monday. No, it wasn’t about my will or funeral arrangements. But it was, in a way, about life and death matters.

The idea arose from a series of sermons I watched on-line from Grace Chapel by Pastor Bryan Wilkerson. He posed three questions to guide a Church or individuals when handling change.

1.What do I need to let go of?

2.What do I need to reach forward towards?

3.What do I need to take hold of?

After I posed the first question, we sat in silence. Not intentionally, like Quakers. Nor awkward. More like a thing of beauty and exceedingly rare in our family. Finally, I spoke, which was not as rare as some preferred. Then shared something safe, but true, “I need to let go of thinking I can or should do everything I used to do.” Safe confession, but true.

Well, it broke the silence. But lets just say, this did not go as I’d hoped. Poco wanted to let go of classes and take hold of her school and put it in a choke hold. She’s in 7th grade. True, I accept some blame for suggesting something serious on Labor Day. Whatever the reasons, the rest responded with fear I was ill, dying or worse, might subject them to something like this again. At one point, I removed my hearing aids. No need for subtlety.

So now what? Well, life goes on. Change comes in and around us, whether we like it or not. And sometimes questions return, nudged by God or circumstances. When they come, I try to pay attention. Because dealing with change, inside or around, is no small matter. And change, hopefully includes, letting go, reaching towards and taking hold of the One who never changes. Then, with the help of God and others to live expectantly towards what’s possible today.

Like Bryan said, “With Christ every change is an opportunity to be changed.”

Sounds like some Holy Hope.

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  • Reply Evelyn Morgan September 7, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    Dear Jan – This message hit the nail on the head. These changes are a hard lump to swallow. My brain has so many ideas about doing everything I always did, and my body says, “You’ll be sorry.”

    You are a real encouragement for me to continue on. By the way, I need your address to send the wonderful wood carving from Scandinavia you gave me many years ago. It is a treasure one of the grandkids might enjoy. I want someone to have it who will appreciate and not be tossed away when I close my eyes for the last time. It has been a reminder of happy times in days past.

    Suffering severe neuropathy, caused by Covid 19 over 3 years ago limits what I can do. It’s hard to convince people I am handicapped when my appearance looks as normal as ever. I don’t like to complain, so I do the best an 85 year old can. With God’s help and the people who really care, I am able to continue until God calls me Home.

  • Reply Jan Carlberg September 7, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    Oh, dear Evie, I’m sorry to read this. But I’m grateful to read there are people around you who care about you and you press on to do what you can. I laughed at the truth that our minds say DO this and our bodies say,”You’ll be sorry.” Thank you for including reading this blog and responding to it. You encourage me.

  • Reply dale September 7, 2023 at 6:22 pm

    This grabbed me on a personal note as my graduate studies were in change management and a topic I still find captivating. I think his questions are good ones as it often is impossible to grasp what God has for us until we let go of what we have assembled for ourselves. In fact, and strictly trivia, it is a standard principle in organizations (and I would say life in general) that what you want to do will be paid for by stopping things you are currently doing. We don’t add God on to our list we work from His. I think in spiritual matters it is the letting go and letting God that is so hard.

    Thanks for sharing, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 8, 2023 at 9:40 am

      Wow! Teach it, Dale. Thanks for adding your experience and knowledge on the subject of this blog. I need to add that line to my refrigerator door: “What you want to do will be paid for by stopping things you are currently doing.” And “letting go and letting God” is hard but has proven to be the best over my lifetime……… when I’ve trusted God more than my stubborn and fearful self.

  • Reply Maggie Wallem Rowe September 7, 2023 at 9:04 pm

    Jan, thank you for sharing both your thoughts and Bryan’s as well. Even today I found myself volunteering for two new things when I don’t have time to complete everything I’m already committed to. Plus I signed up to take a meal to a family I don’t know (I hope this is not “virtue signaling”) because I was embarrassed to see empty spaces on the Take Them a Meal link the church sent out. I appreciate the comment your friend Dale made above: “what you want to do will be paid for by stopping things you are currently doing.” I have decided to retire from the women’s ministry team at church because I am “meeting’d out” after 40 years of those committees, but stopping is still hard and I feel guilty “letting others do it.” Praying daily to figure all this out. Your wisdom helps!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 8, 2023 at 9:48 am

      Dear Maggie, one of the aspects I appreciate about doing this blog is learning from the responses of others. Dale’s a long time friend and a wise man. And thank you for your honest sharing. As a sister Norwegian, I get the pressure to do more and to overdo. It’s part of our DNA. Add to that our desire to serve Jesus and others and we have a recipe for burnout or worse. You’re a wise woman and you and Mike will figure out what to let go of. Meanwhile, I’ll hold onto you in prayer. All will be well.

  • Reply Wendy Lane September 20, 2023 at 5:42 pm

    “At one point I removed my hearing aids” hahahahaha. I think it’s wonderful you asked your family those questions. I may just steal them, but only if I really think my result will be better than yours was! Ha!

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