When Change Is the Worst

When Change Is the Worst

At the beginning of January, Luke (our resident IT guy here at KendraNicole.net and, for that matter, in the whole Jernejcic household) moved my blog to a new platform. From a reader’s perspective, the changes were small and entirely positive (yay for no more blurry images!). As soon as he was done, I spent some time on my own site and was thrilled with what I saw.

Until that night, when I went to write up a new post. . . and discovered that on the backend, my blog had been totally transformed—and NOT in a good way. All of my formatting widgets had vanished. I couldn’t find where to enter the title of my post, let alone figure out how to add an image or a link, or even paste a paragraph of text. What had once been a comfortable space for me was now foreign territory.

To say that I was displeased with the change would be like saying that Noah got a tad wet in the flood. That is to say, it would be an understatement to rival all understatements. All of the coping mechanisms and emotional management skills I’ve gleaned throughout the years went completely out the window. I cried hard, angry tears. I screamed into the nearest pillow. I typed out vicious, frantic texts to Luke to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE MAKE THINGS GO BACK TO THE WAY THEY USED TO BE. (Those texts, by the way, were a complete waste of energy on my part, because at that moment Luke was blissfully asleep in the bedroom directly above the kitchen where my meltdown was taking place).

After my hissy fit had run its course, I decided I was no longer in the mood to blog. I put my laptop away and went to bed, frustrated by the changes I was facing. More than that, though, I was angry with myself.

You see, I’ve done a lot of work to become someone who is no longer taken down by something as small as a new blog platform. Hours of counseling, thousands of journal entries, dozens of self help books, endless amounts of prayer. I’ve made so much progress in the realm of life management. And I have gone from being entirely change-averse to someone who is much less resistant and sometimes even accepting of change. What went wrong?

My answer came, as my answers so often do these days, in the form of a podcast. On the morning after my blog-induced tantrum, I was listening to Tsh and Stephanie expound on their own love of change. In their discussion they acknowledged that they like changes they make themselves, but not necessarily changes that are imposed upon them.

And there it was, the crux of the matter. Not all change comes from the same source. So it’s no wonder that my experience of different types of changes—or rather, changes from different origins—would be different.

While I have grown much more fluent in the language of change, the changes I do best with are those I initiate myself. But when change comes at me from out of nowhere, and without my permission. . . well, that’s a different situation altogether. It explained why I was able to uproot our family life in California and move to Texas—a move that involved changing nearly everything about my life—with little emotional upheaval, yet a new phone update or an unwelcome shift in weekend plans still has the potential to push me over the edge. I don’t have a problem with change. I have a problem with control. And when I feel out of control, I direct my anger and frustration at the changes that have stripped me of my agency.

After having this aha! moment, I began to brainstorm ways I could lesson the effects of change on me in order to minimize or eliminate future change-related meltdowns. My first thought was that I could begin preemptively making changes before they are foisted upon me: update my phone before I no longer have a choice. . . move Charleston’s outgrown clothes out of his closet before they are bursting at the seems. . . relinquish a bad habit before it has totally eaten me alive.

It’s not a terrible idea, and would likely alleviate a great deal of stress.

It’s also the easy way out.

In his book The Wondering Years, Knox McCoy writes, “Comfort is bondage; it promises faux relief. Discomfort and unfamiliarity are gifts that provide a type of freedom that buoys, broadens, and always benefits me in the long term.”

When I make my own changes so that they aren’t made for me, it is an attempt at minimizing my own discomfort. It may work for a while, but it won’t help me grow. Only by submitting to the discomfort of change will I learn the lessons that need to be learned. It will be harder in the beginning (there might be midnight meltdowns at my keyboard) but ultimately, I will be stronger, healthier, and better prepared for whatever future hurdles life may throw my way.

My blogging debacle is still unresolved (though if you’re reading this, I’ve apparently worked out a few of the kinks because I managed to publish a post). Through it, though, I learned that while I can talk a good talk about how much I’ve matured, I still hate change. But I’m also choosing to view change as an opportunity for growth. Change is like those scratchy wool socks I never asked for, but needed—a prickly and reluctantly received gift, but a gift nonetheless.