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There was a slight chill in the air as our family piled into the van that Sunday after church. Sliding into the front seat, I wrapped my sweater more tightly around my goosebumped arms.

“Ooh, it’s starting to feel like winter!” I sighed with excitement. “I love it!”

Luke turned away from the dashboard to stare at me, a baffled look on his face. His confusion morphed into a grin and then a chuckle as he marveled, “I never thought I’d hear you say those words!”

He was right. Exclaiming on the “lovely” cold weather sounded oxymoronic and uncharacteristic to my ears, too. For most of my life I’ve loathed the cold, barely tolerating days when the temperature dipped below 70 and complaining endlessly throughout every season that wasn’t summer.

I can’t pinpoint when my cold-aversion began to loosen its vice-like grip. I still prefer warm days to cold ones, but in recent years I’ve gradually started tolerating and even (occasionally) enjoying cooler weather.

I like to joke that it’s Luke’s positive influence that has won me over to the cold side: after sixteen years together, I have slowly started to love many things he loves that were once on on my STRICT HARD NO list: cooler weather; rainy days; showing up on time (or early) for things (this change is a family favorite); happily rising before the sun. An onlooker may minimize the significance of these shifts in my preferences and habits, but to me—someone who has always been staunchly averse to change—they feel momentous.

In the November edition of her Lazy Genius Newsletter, Kendra Adachi remarked on her lifelong aversion to scary things. Kendra (who happens to have an excellent name 😉 ) always resisted reading frightening books or watching horror films or shows because she thought she didn’t like being scared. Then she watched a show that seemed interesting but was decidedly in the horror genre—and she shocked herself by enjoying it. Kendra writes, “My point is I do like scary stuff. This thing I thought was true about me was not …. Just because you’ve always said you’re not into something doesn’t mean you’ve been lying to yourself this whole time, but I encourage you to look at it more closely and see where it all started. Maybe you like that thing after all.”

I’m a big proponent of self-awareness. We do ourselves and everyone else a favor when we understand our own personalities and hangups, our preferences and quirks. Consistency and stability allow others to know what to expect from me, which fosters healthier relationships; and knowing myself has lessened decision fatigue, increased my confidence, and even strengthened my interpersonal skills as I lean in to being ME while letting others be THEMSELVES.

For years, knowing that I was a person who hated the cold factored in to where we chose to live and the types of clothing I would buy. I knew to mentally prepare for the seasonal depression that would come every winter. My family knew not to be offended when I declined an invitation to an outdoor adventure on a winter day. And I could appreciate that a hatred for cold weather was a personal preference that needn’t stop me from being happy for others who did like the cold. These were all practical benefits to my consistency and self-knowledge.

But I am realizing that sometimes I can become so in tune with my self-perceptions that I am blinded to who I am becoming. I latch on to a version of myself that was once true and forget to reevaluate. To be holistically aware of myself means making space for all versions of myself, including the ways I have changed. Acknowledging this truth has allowed me to reevaluate my stance on cold weather (and also rainy days, promptness, early mornings, etc.) and lean into the ways I see myself changing. I can actually welcome a winter season instead of resenting it, as I did on that chilly Sunday when my celebration of the cold shattered my husband’s perceptions of me.

As healthy and necessary as change can be, and as glad as I am to have opened up to new revelations about myself, this is far from a straightforward issue. Not every change is a beneficial one, and acknowledging ways we have fallen into bad habits or sinful patterns will be uncomfortable. Changes in our identity (the good ones and the not-so-good ones) can be difficult to confront because they may require further action as we outgrow hobbies or friendship groups or career paths. Even when we make peace with our own changes, they can be a hard sell for those around us. Making space for change in our loved ones can be hardest of all. (I’m the mom of three ever-evolving littles. Ask me how I know!)

Without God, this whole conversation would be too much for me to handle. It’s a little too nuanced, a lot too unpredictable, and this black-and-white thinker could cripple beneath the weight of it all. But WITH God, I am comfortable acknowledging who I was and who I am and who I could become because I know that He has been by my side at every stage and change and loved me through them all. Even as I wrestle with the changes I sense in myself and my loved ones, I take assurance in knowing that my God is the same yesterday and today and forever. His love is unfailing, His character unshakable, His plans infallible. I can trust Him, always; even when changes in me and around me feel uncontrollable, I am secure in His steady, capable hands.

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