I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If change is good for us, then why is it so painful?

Most humans are resistant to change. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. How many times have you heard that one?
That's because even during the times we choose to change, we can experience heart wrenching pain, regret, fear, and depression.
I have felt those very emotions of late. Although the move to Nevada is exactly what my husband and I have dreamed about for decades, the move has not been without the pain of separation, the regret of doing things differently, the fear of the unknown, and depression that crept in and took over because of being overloaded and overwhelmed.
So why do we need change if it’s so painful? Why do our characters?
Because although change creates temporary pain it will, if we let it, produce lasting character traits and have a positive effect on our lives. Humans are meant to grow, overcome, and achieve.
If as toddlers, we gave up the first time we fell, wouldn’t we still be laying around like infants?
As Christians, God challenges to search out inner motives, actions, and attitudes that affect our hearts. We are purified like gold, creating spiritual maturity and wisdom. The experience we gained can be used to help others going through similar circumstances.
Like us, our characters need to grow. They need to conquer their fears, overcome their shortcomings, and move on. They’ve got to exhibit the best of what we call the human spirit.

They need to realize the risk of standing still is greater than the risk of changing. Even if it means breaking apart from their comfort zones, leaving the people they identified with, walk away from their safe place. They need to believe their new ideas, although not proven, can be sound even if it means crossing into that black moment of their life.
Suzie once told me I was “too nice” to my characters. Without the challenges, without the need to overcome, our writing is flat, boring, life less. Making our writing too easy to put down!
A quote by Richard Bach states: What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
Let your characters dwell in the shade of adversity, like the caterpillar. Let them go through the challenges that threaten everything they believe in, even their very life. Then let them fly!
In less than a week, a moving van will arrive at our new home, followed by my husband whom I’ve only seen one time since Easter. Needless to say, I’m flying!
Jennie Atkins


  1. What a way to take real life and apply it to writing life! Great reminder to never be too nice to our characters! And I love the quote by Richard Bach!
    So glad the move is finally happening for you and your husband!

  2. Thanks Beth! I don't think I've every gone through something that has dredged up this broad a range of emotions before. Now I can honestly see what Suzie was saying to me when she told me I was too nice to my characters!

  3. Jennie, thanks for your transparency, and for the beautiful applications for our characters in our writing. What a great living example. I hope the completion of your move goes smoothly!

  4. Jeanne,
    Thank you! We should be in our new house this weekend! Yeah!

  5. Jennie,

    What a sweet, heartfelt post. And one I can relate to very well. When Hubby was in the USMC, he received orders to California for 10 months. We decided our infant son and I would be better off coming back home and getting established for when Hubby's enlistment was up. Those were the longest 10 months of my life. I missed him terribly. Looking back, I should have gone to CA with him, but everything happens for a reason.

    I loved the Richard Bach quote. This is one of my favorite lines from your post:

    They need to realize the risk of standing still is greater than the risk of changing.

    Powerful stuff. Glad you and your hubby will be together soon. :)

  6. Thanks Lisa! This has been rougher than I imagined. I am thankful though that we are never alone, He is with us always.

  7. Great post, Jennie. Love the reference about the caterpillar. Without the struggle, they'd never fly. Now I've got to go be mean to my characters!

  8. I'm in the trenches with you, having recently moved from Texas to Florida. I'm still looking for important belongings and wish I'd taken more care with packing. But at the end of the day, I'm thankful to be with my husband. I'm glad you will be reunited with Darrell soon. I love your answer to why we need to change if it's so painful:

    "Because although change creates temporary pain it will, if we let it, produce lasting character traits and have a positive effect on our lives."

    I pray we both benefit from lasting, positive character traits.

  9. Pat,
    Yes. We have to learn to beat them up a little! LOL

  10. I'm right there with you Roxanne! Although I hope I don't have to go through this again! LOL