I woke up in our new apartment for the first time four weeks ago. I was still me.
Four weeks is the longest I’ve been away from Canada. Prior to that, the longest was probably nine days, when Emily and I travelled to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon. But now, we have another first.
It’s been a month full of those: My first day of work. My first successful attempt to get my social security number (it took a while). Emily’s first experience with the healthcare system. The kids’ first day of school. My first time driving home from the office without needing the GPS. I even just got my first birthday card.1 Eventually, Emily and I will get to have our first date since being here (once we get a babysitter, of course).
I woke up this morning, four weeks later, and although everything is different, I’m still me.
Emily is still Emily. The kids are still the kids.
That probably sounds strange. And it probably is. But there’s something about big moves and life changes that leaves you wondering if you would drastically change as a result: Would the sins you struggle against change? Might the personality quirks and flaws smooth out? Would I be less prone to say words I shouldn’t, or work too much, or sleep too little? Would I maybe, eventually, stop apologizing too much?
And I think we should expect that we should change, particularly in light of a big change like the one we’re going through. We can’t not have it happen. But it’s wrong to assume it’s going to happen right away. Change doesn’t work that way.
I thought this way a lot when I was a new believer. I expected that as I was experiencing all these firsts, suddenly I wouldn’t have problems anymore. Instead, my problems intensified in some cases. But slowly, over a long period of time, those things changed. God was at work, but he was working according to his timetable, not mine (Philippians 2:13).
And that’s something I still have to remember. I might want to be different—to handle stress differently, or to learn to rest properly, or a whole host of other things. But those things are going to take some time. And I don’t know how long it’s going to be.
But God knows—and God is at work.
And someday, I’ll wake up, and I’ll still be me. But that me, will be very different than the one I am today.