“Alright class, I want you to get into groups and list your top five strengths before we discuss it together.”
A buzz of excitement circulated the room as students frantically searched for familiar faces to pair up with. I nervously shifted in my seat, eyes darting to already formed groups. Spotting my best friend in the corner, a wave of relief washed over me as I quickly made my way to her table.
“May I join you?” An unfamiliar but friendly voice questioned; his face also held uncertainty. My friend and I nodded with enthusiasm as a small group of strangers formed around our table.
My Top Five Strengths
It was my first week of Freshman orientation in college and my third day of pre-planned activities. Upon arrival, my professor set up a personality test and a discussion based on our top five strengths. After several minutes of introductions, my group went around the circle, and we each stated our top five strengths. Mine were as follows:
My table went over our strengths before comparing them as a group. Each person had an extremely different set of strengths, but oddly I was the only one who scored in adaptability. I stared at my answers with intense curiosity and confusion. Although filling out the test and comparing answers was fun, I questioned its relevancy. What did my test results have to do with Freshman orientation? Little did I know a seemingly meaningless exercise would benefit me in the future.
Almost a decade later, I stood in the pouring rain, loading the remainder of my belongings into a worn box. I grabbed a stale Sharpie and labeled my contents before shoving the package into the back of my Honda. The teary, grey sky accompanied my already clouded mind. Forcing a brave face, I returned to the house to retrieve my dogs. Their faces held a look of uncertainty as I loaded them into my vehicle and tried to keep my composure.
I turned and glanced at the house as the raindrops and my tears became one. Why was this happening? I’d spent weeks packing and preparing for this moment—an unforeseen circumstance that was out of my control. Yet, saying goodbye felt wrong. How could I say goodbye to a home I’d prayed for? I spent years dreaming and preparing for my chosen life, and now my dreams felt scattered to dust.
“Hey, you ok?” My thoughts froze as I numbingly brushed back tears at the sound of a familiar voice. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just going to miss the house.” My lip quivered, betraying my somewhat confident voice. My best friend smiled weakly; she knew me all too well.
“You’re not fine, and it’s not just about the house, is it?” I nodded quickly, choking back sobs. She was right; it wasn’t just about the house. After recently losing a child in pregnancy, suffering a divorce, and now losing my newly purchased home, I felt as if my world had completely crumbled.
After a quick embrace, I slid into the driver’s seat and fumbled with my keys. Although I had spent weeks mentally preparing for this final goodbye, I felt unprepared and in shock. Pulling out of the driveway, my heart sank with heaviness as I breathed a final goodbye toward the house. I felt defeated, knowing that this next chapter would be an undoubtedly long and weary journey.
Peace Amidst the Storm
Eight months have passed since I left, and despite my pain and fear of the unknown, I’m learning to find peace amid the storm. Though I still have days of intense struggle, I find relief in knowing that my Heavenly Father knew my journey before I even ventured through it and equipped me with the gift of adaptability. After months of anxiety, I’ve come to accept that life doesn’t always go in the direction of our choosing. As humans, we often protest at the thought of unfamiliarity and let our minds corrode with fear. We detest the thought of change, especially when our lives hit what feels like a “dead end.” How do we combat these feelings of change, adopt adaptability, and move forward positively?
Perhaps the answer lies not within combating change but in embracing it and allowing God to re-route us. Although it’s natural to focus intently on what we cannot control, God may be lining something up for us that is even better than we could have imagined.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).
Madeleine Lowe writes from the Midwest.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.