A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to speak at my original eighth grade’s HIGH SCHOOL graduation. Which I’m still coming to terms with, but I guess it’s okay. It was wonderful to see them.
I talked about change. They had asked me to share how I’ve seen them grow and change, but I haven’t been their teacher in two years, so how do I know? But there are things I do still know…
Not All Things Should Change
There are more self-help books than are healthy to read, pressures that do not come from helpful places, and ideals that stretch beyond what is legitimately doable. And sometimes, we don’t actually need to change.
The funny student doesn’t need to curb his humor. It’s amazing. Stay that way.
The loud student doesn’t need to stop having her strong opinions. It’s amazing. Stay that way.
The studious student doesn’t need to stop reaching for the stars. It’s amazing. Stay that way.
My husband tells me how funny I am, how he loves how opinionated I am, and how I always have something to say. Those are three things that I’ve been pressured to leave behind. And I’m glad I never did.
Sure, there are ways we all need to change. But not all things should change.
You Can Always Change
17 and 18 year olds are pressured to make life-long commitments to career trajectories. As someone with three English degrees, in a Software Engineering career path, and not even 30, I can affirm that you can always change.
Pick the best career path that you can with what you know. And simultaneously know that even if you can’t see it right now, you can change.
If you’re not known for the kind of characteristics you want to have, you can change. You can become kind, thoughtful, helpful, well-informed, wise, funny, and sweet.
Jesus secured for us the ability to change, by His grace. So you’re not stuck with the character you have or in the trajectory of the decisions you’ve made.
You don’t have to listen to labels or be confined to boxes. You can always change.
God’s Love Never Changes
As you get older, there are wonderful and devastating changes.
People move on. Friendships end. Hearts break. Careers veer off course. Your knees start complaining when you climb stairs. Loved ones die.
This world is uncertain, and I can’t pretend it’s anything else. But I can confirm and affirm that God does not change.
If you take the highest ideal as your pathway, and make it all the way to the end, God does not love you any more.
If you make the worst possible decisions at every turn and reap the consequences from what was sown, God does not love you any less.
There are countless things in this world that we cannot count on. And that’s hard. The one unchangeable, no matter what-able, is God Himself and is incomprehensible love for you and me.
Change scares me more than most things. But at the end of the day, not everything has to change, I can always change, and I can rest in a God who never changes.