Sometimes we finally get what we want. Maybe it’s the guy or the job, even the shoes. In my last year, it was finally getting pregnant after what felt like a long season of waiting and loss. I find something seductive occurs in our brain when we consider attaining the thing we long for. As though it will complete us or give us a short cut for the hard work of transformation.
And yes, transitions, movement, and relationships will always provide opportunities for growth and different circumstances—but, you know what doesn’t actually change because we get what we want?
The core pieces of who we are stay the same whether we find new friends, or move to a different city, or meet the person of our dreams.
This means if we go into a situation hoping our flaws will suddenly disappear or some essential piece of us will change, we'll be dead wrong. I find this both comforting and disconcerting.
I remember before I had my daughter, some part of me thought—even though I've never enjoyed baking, I probably will like it once I’m a mom. Because in my head that's what moms do. And I had a whole other host of ideas about "what moms do" that now seem to be a completely wrong fit for me.
So guess what? I still don’t like baking (and nothing against baking--because I do enjoy eating baked goods!) It's just that I'm still me. I'm just me as a mom now.
Now to be fair to myself, have I experienced change in the last four years as a mom? You bet. But it’s not simply because I'm a parent. It’s because God used those experiences to mold me. It was not becoming a mom that grew me, it was the process of being a mom.
Change has come through the journey of facing challenges which sometimes felt insurmountable; it's been needing and asking for support when I came to the end of myself. I've grown not by simply 'arriving' at this place in my life, but rather through living into this stage. Ever so slowly through connection, heartaches, and hope--this is how I found new parts of myself and the work of parenting transformed me.
Sometimes, I have to remember this little truth, because it’s so tempting to want to forget. I easily believe change is something we fall into, like the lottery, rather than something we patiently earn. Occasionally, I still want to believe that getting what I want is what will bring peace and growth. But then I gaze back at the track record and I find it was never about that.
It was always about how I interact with this new piece of life. It has always been about God’s faithfulness to me in the places of fullness and despair. It has always been about knowing the gift giver is better than the gift itself.
This is hard work to know and experience when we are in the middle of wanting something. It is a humbling paradox that we long so deeply for so many things and yet we find those things can’t give us what we need. I find as I’m in this season of in between, a season which is full of hope at the anticipation of our little person, I am again tempted to think that I will automatically be different because we’ve gotten what we longed for.
And yet, wisdom reminds me our changes are earned. And indeed, many changes I have earned, but this is the necessity of experience. It teaches us to hold our expectations loosely, to love deeply, and to remember we can trust the process.