The Merry-Go-Round Emotion of Change


(The Author Blogs at LeaderWorks)

Change is hard. Sometimes very hard. I’m going through one right now…from one ministry assignment (that I love) to another (that is new). Change is happening!  As I have listened to my heart and thought and prayed deeply about this, I discovered that there are three parts to change.  And they keep inter-changing too.  Like a Merry-Go-Round!


Here is what I tell people about the change I’m going through: It’s going great! God is good…all the time. I’m doing well. Fine!

Here is what I should say if I were totally transparent: It’s great…for the most part. Most of the time, really… Well, it depends on the day. It depends on the time of day sometimes. Mornings can be worrisome. Afternoon are typically better. Evenings are mixed. But really…it’s going great. Sometimes…

See what I mean? A Merry-Go-Round of these three things:

Belief: There are days…long stretches of days…that I feel a sense of wonder and excitement about the future God has called me to.   I am beyond thankful that God has called me. I am excited. These are good days.  I rest in this truth: as God has been faithful in the past, He will be so in the future. Of that I am assured. I have a strong belief.

Grief: Then there are times when I am overcome with sadness about what I am changing from; what I am leaving. It is grief…but it feels like fear.  C.S. Lewis noticed grief and fear produce the same wrenching stirring within our guts. Writing about the loss of his wife, Joy, he says, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing…” I get that some days….in these days of change. I love what I do…or did.  The sense I have in letting go of it feels like, in a word, grief.

Change graphic
The Merry-Go-Round of Change

Relief: Other times I have a blessed sense of relief.  I have run a race and have crossed a goal. I have stumbled a few times…but I got up. I have a profound sense of ‘having finished’ something. I am done. I hear a voice above me saying, “Well done…”  I feel a burden beginning to lift.  That feels like relief.

There they are.  All three emotions…swirling around in my head and heart and spirit.

  • Belief: God has promised to be with me.
  • Grief: I will miss what I have been doing greatly.
  • Relief:  Taking off a yoke feels like a burden lifted.

I wonder if others experience the same.  I can imagine that they might.

I don’t mean to put my transition on the same level as other forms of loss, grief, or change. I initiated this change-process. Others have change tossed upon them. Others fall into it. People live through retirement, deaths, lay-offs, divorces, and other changes far more consequential than mine.

But life changes are all very personal to the life that is being changed. Mine, in this case.

But this I know also: God’s care and provision (belief) will surely outweigh and overcome the rawer emotions of grief and relief. The Merry-G0-Round will stop turning and God will call me forward.  That I believe.

Thanks be to God.

Published on

June 24, 2016


David Roseberry

David Roseberry leads the nonprofit ministry, LeaderWorks. He was the founding rector of Christ Church, Plano, Texas, and is the author of many books. He lives in Plano with his wife, Fran.

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