The Rough Waters of Change

I recently purchased a kayak and a special trailer to tow it to the lake with my bike. This set-up has provided me with a very peaceful, refreshing way to start my mornings communing with God. The waters are usually very calm and offer a welcome break from the chaos in both my personal and work life at times. While peacefully gliding across the water, I am often reminded of the steadfast presence and love God has for not only me but all of us.
This morning the usually calm, nearly still waters were a little rough, making not only the ordinarily challenging bike ride to the lake a much more significant challenge but my time on the water as well. Watching wave after wave crest and rollover and toss me about, I began to think about what you experience when leading change and transformative practices, specifically for me in this season of life, within a congregation. When you are in seminary or college even…..studying anything to do with systems theory, you can say and acknowledge that change is hard, no one likes change, and it will take a lot of hard work. Yet, at the same time, thinking that when you get there, your knowledge of these things will make it easy to get through. And, while you may get a bit further into the process and can handle some things because of your knowledge, it is still difficult work.
While rough waters are dark and have the power to push you off course, there are those moments just as the wave crests, rolls over and the light shines through that you get a glimpse of the beauty that can still be found in those rough waters as you see the glorious blue-green color of the water.
For me, this is what leading change is about. Entering the waters, you know they will be rough at times, taking what you know with you, observing, adapting, and improvising how you handle the kayak. In the calm waters, it is rather easy to recall and put your trust in God to make it to the shore, but when we enter rough waters, it can be more difficult, fearing the waves may take us under, and making it seemingly impossible to reach the shore. But when we pause and look at the waves, we are given a glimpse of the beauty of the continued presence and guidance of God as they crest and rollover. And like my teeny tiny pup kayaking companion that moves even closer to me in rough waters, we also need to move closer and remember that God is near, no matter how rough the waters get.

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