One year ago, my husband and I had solid jobs, a great community and a church that we loved.
At this moment, we are living with my parents, we are unemployed and we are moving to a new city in a week. My husband will be attending graduate school next month.
Talk about a curveball.
This is not what I expected. I never pictured that we would be walking away from steady jobs and our group of friends to start all over again.
Our lives don’t always go the way we want—or expect—them to go. We get let go from the job we love (and need). We come up short trying to pay the bills. Our hearts get broken. Relationships end. Accidents happen. Bodies don’t heal. Death comes too soon.
So how to we continue to walk with God in seasons when life throws us a curveball?
During the last 12 months, my husband and I haven’t done things perfectly (by any stretch!), but we have met Jesus in the challenges of change and unexpected circumstances—and we love Christ more now than we did last year. Here are four things we’ve learned in the process of catching a life curveball—and moving forward.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
The worst thing we can do with feelings of disappointment and frustration is bottle them up and pretend like everything is fine, especially with God.
If we are angry about a curveball in our lives, or hurt by it, or confused by it, we need to acknowledge those emotions. God already knows how we feel, and when we refuse to own those emotions, we’re only hurting ourselves.
Whether it means writing things down, talking out loud to God or writing a song about it, we need to unfold the places of pain and tension in our hearts to Jesus. He can handle it; He gets it. The prophet Isaiah tells us that Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He understands what we feel when life doesn’t go the way we had hoped.
Speak Your Fears and Hurts to Trusted Friends
Disappointment is a big rock to move on our own. We need friends, family and—sometimes—professional counselors to help us work through the emotions and thoughts that come with unexpected change in life.
It is important—even necessary—to be able to grieve the loss of dreams or hopes that may never come to fruition, and to have people who will sit with you in that confusion and pain.
We all need others who will stand with us to both celebrate and grieve. And we also need to be those who “Rejoice with those who rejoice, [and] weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15) when our friends are the ones dealing with tough changes.
Read the Bible
In a world that is continuously changing, the truth of the Scripture remains constant. Reading the Bible is not just a rote exercise—it actually changes us, comforts us and challenges us.
The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us that “the Word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). While the words on the page stay the same, the Holy Spirit is always ministering to our hearts, and the same Bible verse can impact us differently in new seasons of life.
Consistently reading the Word of God when life throws us a curveball is one of the clearest ways to stay grounded—and even hopeful—in confusing times.
In seasons where everything is upside-down, it can feel like a Herculean task to be thankful in the midst of chaos or pain.
But choosing to be thankful—even for the smallest things—can alter our attitudes and remind us of the goodness of God. As Psalm 136 exhorts us: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever.”
If thankfulness feels impossible, start small. Thank God for the water running out of the faucet. Thank Him for the shoes covering your feet. Thank Him for the sun on your face.
Choosing to be grateful isn’t easy, but the change it brings in our souls can be immense. When we choose a position of gratitude before God for what He has given us—our very lives, the miracle of salvation for sinners—we remember that no circumstance can take away His love for us. That is what remains unchanging, even when everything else is off-kilter.
Christ’s love, His goodness, His salvation—this is what we can cling to no matter what curveball life throws our way.