Amy Grant has a song with a line, "It takes a little time to turn the Titanic around." The song is all about the process of change, and how patience and time are two big components of any change we make in our lives. I woke up this morning with that line running around in my head, and it brought me a measure of peace.
Change is hard. There is always a temptation to go back to how we used to be, because what we used to be is familiar and safe, even if it didn't work that well for us. Then there is the fear of other people not liking what we are changing into, and some people have no problem vocalizing their dislike to us. It requires a thick skin, and confidence that we are on the right path.
I've been slowly developing a thicker skin over the last year. It's not easy to write my innermost thoughts in a public forum and have them scrutinized, especially when I am in the delicate process of forming new ideas and patterns of behaviour that are different from how I used to be. It's great when I hear from people who are supportive, and not so great when I am criticized openly.
We all face this kind of thing when we share our opinions, no matter what the forum is. Not everyone will agree with us, and that's okay. It becomes painful when those we love and care about are diametrically opposed to some of our new ideas, and it begins to feel personal. I'm not going to change back to how I used to be. I love the new road I am walking, and feel more alive and truly myself in a way I have never experienced up until this point.
Those rewards are worth any price I have to pay, but it doesn't make it any easier at the time. Turning the Titanic around takes a lot of will power, strength and courage. It requires whistling in the dark to bolster our bravery, especially when we feel terrified and lost. It helps to find like-minded people who will love us and encourage us when we are unsure. I value being able to admit that I'm unsure, and know that I will eventually find my way, and that God will never leave me on my own.
Change brings new growth, and I want to keep growing. I want to feel alive instead of stagnant. It's important to take risks, regardless of my fear level. Criticism can only hurt me if I allow it to. It's a fine line to walk between sensitivity of spirit and a thick shell so the hurt doesn't get to us. I'm trying to find that balance, and it's not always easy to recognize what the ratios should be.
All we can do is keep walking. If the road we are on isn't leading us where we want to go, we can look for a signpost and find a new road. As long as we are alive we can change and grow, and re-make ourselves again and again, until we more closely resemble what we want to be like. I love that freedom. The Titanic may be heavy and overwhelmingly large, but when you see icebergs ahead, the best thing to do is get that thing turned around, and into safer waters.