Moments with Kathryn Blog

Choosing Well

October 29, 2019 / by Kathryn Redman

Each of us lives the life we choose.
– Roy H. Williams, The Wizard of Ads

choices image-1There are very few things that we can truly count on or anticipate in life.

Death and taxes are the common response. I think I’ll change it up today.

Death, Taxes, Change.

Yep…those three we can count on. Change offers us choices. Opportunities to react or respond. To despair or be curious. Doors to walk through. 

Death and taxes are real.

Death is always highlighted a bit more strongly for me in October. My family members seem to choose October to depart this earthly existence. This October signals 8 years since my dad left us and while the pain has settled into a sadness at his absence, I am still painfully aware that this life is unpredictable as it comes to death.

Taxes are just what they are so all I’ll say is I try to be grateful that we have jobs, which gives us the privilege of paying taxes. It is what it is.

But Change. Change that brings choices.

It is no coincidence that I haven't posted anything since the end of September. October always requires a lot of effort for me to process and choose well. October 2019 has been especially full of such opportunities and I have not felt like I had anything helpful to share.

For some reason, stuff seems to happen in bulk. Does that happen to you? If it isn’t one thing it’s 10? We are in such a season. Everywhere I turn in our lives it seems that we are in some sort of transition.

Some of it is self-imposed. Some not so much. Just when you think you have your ducks in a row, a great plan for the next steps you need to take, the right team in place at work to move the ball forward effectively, something changes.

You’ve had this week before, right?

  • Amidst a self-imposed remodel which turns your living space upside down, the plumbing in the kitchen decides to quit working – on a weekend of course!
  • Your trainer who you’ve been working with for three years at the gym announces she is leaving.
  • A key team player at your company lets you know they have taken a job somewhere else.
  • Your LA Dodgers prove once again that the postseason is where they forget how to play baseball, no matter how record setting their regular season is. But at least they cut the pain short this year! Yes this is dated, but it happened in October.

Change. Transition. Loss. Curve balls. The sudden feeling you are sucking swamp water.

Change shatters my illusion of control. It reminds me that no matter what I do or don’t do, there is an unpredictability that is just part of being planet earth.

Life hands us change all the time. Sometimes small but annoying. Sometimes monumental and agonizing. Sometimes in the middle. The change you know you can get through but it still somehow sideswipes you anyway.

As a business owner, losing a team member we have come to care about and rely on is always that middle kind. It has happened before and it will happen again, but every time I absolutely hate it. Because we choose to run a Passion and Provision company, we risk being invested in each person who works with us, so when they leave it’s like losing a family member, not just an employee. We celebrate their growth and opportunity, but we are just sad. And we wonder if we could have done something different to retain them. If our leadership isn't as good as we want it to be. Add to that the unknown of what comes next to fill the hole, meet the needs, and replace them so we can keep moving forward.

Change is hard.

I haven’t always handled change well. I haven't always chosen the right door. I used to get super anxious and panicky about the future and what the change would mean, especially in our business realm. I would lie awake at night and wrestle. I would experience the fear physically with an upset stomach, heightened heart rate or headaches. Just pretty much a freak out, though most often a fairly private one that only my husband, daughter and closest friend had the privilege of sharing with me.

Experience has taught me that all the worrying doesn’t help. Doesn’t solve. Doesn’t move anything forward. It inhibits creativity. It diminishes hope. Jesus, recorded in Matthew 6:34 says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” True that! It is, of course, preceded by a beautiful statement of the value that each of us has to God and His purpose to care for us.

Now that I’m getting a bit older (let’s hear it for maturing!!) my response when unseen changes smash headlong into my day is more often to quickly turn to Jesus. I am quick to remind Him that He is in control, that He is not surprised even though I am, that He has a plan, and that everything I have belongs to Him, so He is going to have to take care of it! I also remember all the times in the past when He has absolutely met us amidst an unexpected turn in the road.

By reminding Him, of course, I’m reminding my own soul. I’m speaking perspective and hope and turning my eyes to the only One who can truly provide the peace I need when the storms of life hit.

And yet, amidst the truth, the perspective, the redirecting of my thoughts, there is also just normal grieving. Real sadness at the loss and the forced change that loss will bring. Real emotions that have to be owned and expressed, even if I am choosing trust. Change is hard and often it hurts. That is just being human.

I try to make choices like this:

  1. Worship – with people and alone
  2. Have helpful songs on automatic replay
  3. Listen to sermons from mentors I trust
  4. Hang out in the bible
  5. Journal…a lot

 So I don’t make ongoing choices like this:

  1. Food therapy – aka eating my feelings
  2. Retail therapy – beyond the real needs of our family
  3. Binge watching Hulu or Netflix
  4. Escaping into a book in every spare moment so I don’t have to face my world.

And even when I am trying to make the right choices, I still sometimes panic, which just means I have to press into the right choices even harder. There are days it is a moment by moment reset - it is really hard work.

I’m not going to pretend my choices are somehow perfect as I respond to change. I definitely allowed myself a night or two of eating and drinking my feelings this go round, especially since there is a brand-new British pub in town that needed to be tried, but you get the idea. You know where you struggle when you are avoiding pain.

Each of us has ways we find perspective. Maybe my list and yours cross over. Maybe you need some time in nature. Or a weekend away to just gain some distance from the challenges. Or a good book for an evening to give your mind a break from trying to solve tomorrow.

Whatever the path for finding perspective, how we respond to these “opportunities” is the only thing we have control over, and our response will determine a ton about us and our development.

Change is a big part of what shapes us as we follow Jesus. The change draws out what is inside of us and gives us the chance to see where we need to grow. It also give us an opportunity to celebrate where we have grown, where our choices are more consistent and happen faster.

As a side note, try to remember that bad things happen to good people. And good things happen to bad people. It rains on the just and the unjust, so when life is hard you aren’t being especially singled out. You are just part of the human race. And God is still good and is still for you, even when the bad things happen.

So make choices. Good choices that help you navigate the challenges. Choose the door that leads to seeing the changes as opportunities for what comes next. 


Topics: Business, Life with Jesus

Kathryn Redman

Written by Kathryn Redman

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