After spending almost six hours there, decompressing by the river, enjoy conversation with a great friend and feasting on my wonderful Farmhouse blend French press, I left there with a cheery smile and a wave goodbye from my barista. As I got in the car, I realized that while the name and the mission had changed somewhat, much of what I loved about that coffee shop - the view, their passion for justice, the baristas - clearly were still the same.
From there I traveled 45 miles south to enjoy a dinner party for friends celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Again, I take a deep breath and I shake off the hesitancies of change. While I've cherished this dear friend and her family since our arrival in GA, her circle of community has changed since we've forged our friendship and mine is in great flux. It's her dinner party, not mine. There would be people that I know but am just merely acquainted with. Here again, I would meet change head on. As we laughed, ate, and shared glasses of wine, I realized that these mere acquaintances and I had much in common and a great sense of camaraderie was deepening our hearts to pursue a greater depth of relationship. I thought to myself, why do we avoid change? Why do we dread it so? Change isn't all that bad.
If situations hadn't happened the way they did, I would never be in the company of change. In the midst of great upheaval, a friend said to me, "This is what you prayed for. Press in. Don't quit." And she was right, only I did not know it would look like this. I feel like God is setting me up for 2014. A year where some things will be different, but at the heart of it, many things will still be the same. Upon first glance, there may be a sense of hesitation, trepidation even. But then further inspection will allow me to see telltale signs of old familiar comforts, true norths that center in the midst of transition.
Truly much of life is shift and transition because we're always moving forward. I can't find happy in going back. Happiness is the result of an inside world that is at home in Father's embrace. A place of joy, contentment and peace that is only found in knowing and resting in Him. But I can courageously embrace what lies ahead. While the mission, vision and purpose hasn't changed at all, perhaps shift is happening to the vehicle through which those things are arrived at.
I left my friend's dinner party feeling victorious. I can do this. I can embrace a new name, a new community. Change isn't half bad. I'm content that shift has provided an opportunity to widen my community of coffee shops, embrace new friendships, and dream and soar with like minded people. With the words of Paul Young fresh in my heart, I offered his words to the Lord, "I open me to what you want to do in my life, even when I can't begin to understand it. Give me the courage to go into the places you want to send me and the ears to hear your invitation."
May I encourage and bless you to look for the true norths. Look for the signs of the familiar and then trod ahead into change embracing the transition and the company of friends who'll join you on the journey.
May 2014 be a year of connection, conversation and collaboration with people who are coming alive in Him. May you find yourself in relationships that are marked with honesty, openness, intentionality, authenticity and freedom.
Embrace Change! Happy New Year!