As we approach the New Year, discussions are now shifting from Christmas celebrations to resolutions and new beginnings. Now I’m not a betting sort of person, but if I were, I would put down money (plenty of it) on the fact that military families go through more “new beginnings” than just about any other group of people. Of course, maybe we don’t see it that way every time there is a PCS, deployment, or homecoming from deployment. Maybe we just see it as change. And change is hard.
One of my favorite memoirs is Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places (Zondervan) by Leeana Tankersley. She wrote this book based on her first year of marriage to a Navy SEAL. They married in San Diego and eight days later forged a new beginning together in Bahrain. Talk about change! I love how she describes it:
“Change is horribly uncomfortable. Like the wrong pair of jeans, change pinches and squeezes in the most inconvenient places. A lot of wriggling and writhing is involved. Maybe even some sucking in and prone posturing. Just when you think you’ve fit in, you realize you’re spilling over the top and sides in the worst way. Very, very little ease.” (Found Art, p. 19)
Strangely enough, even when the change will be good for us, it can still be hard. Remember the story about Moses calling down all sorts of awful plagues on Pharaoh in order to convince him to release the Jewish people from slavery? The second plague was frogs. Exodus 8 tells us that they came up out of the water and covered the land. Pharaoh pleaded with Moses to ask God to make them go away.
“Moses said to Pharaoh, ‘Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.’ And he said, ‘Tomorrow.’” (Exodus 8:9,10)
Tomorrow? Really? If it were me, I’m pretty sure I would have said, “Right now!” Wouldn’t you?
The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly why Pharaoh wanted to keep the swarming, slimy frogs around that night. Did he think they were cute? The decision is shocking to me. But perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from the frogs and how they relate to the changes we need to make in our own lives.
How many times have you thought about a bad habit you’d like to break or a new discipline you’d like to develop in yourself, but decided to put it off? I know I’ve done this more often than I’d care to admit. For some reason, even if we know our habits (frogs) are bad for us, it’s easier to keep them around than to make a change. Maybe, just maybe, those little frogs start to seem like pets after a while. Could it be that after we’ve had our habits for some time, we don’t mind them anymore?
The new beginnings that happen to us, we can’t do much about. The new beginnings which happen within us, however—those are completely up to us.
If there’s something you need to change in your own life, don’t wait until next January rolls around to make a New Year’s resolution. Don’t spend one more night with the frogs, like Pharaoh did. Ask God to help you (claim Philippians 4:13!). Make that change and watch as a new beginning –a very positive one—emerges for you.
About the Author:
Award-winning author Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage in her readers through both fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife herself, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry. Her novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration.Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.