Change. This word is a cornerstone in my work and a large part of my personal life too. I work for an amazing school called Alta-1 College, specifically in the online schooling program for students with mental health issues or other challenges that make attending a campus too difficult. The key criteria we look for when enrolling a student? The willingness to change and engage in the change process. It can't be the parents or guardians wanting the change either. It has to be the student themselves for it to work.
One truth that becomes apparent quickly is that beginning to change is not all that difficult but persisting with the change process to where you reach a new normal is not. There have been so many times of watching students beginning to make progress then faltering and falling away (and honestly, in my life too). So often I just want to grab them and yell at them not to give up because it is worth it. If only I could shake that truth into them. I don't because that would be inappropriate of course but find other ways of trying to get the message through.
Some of the stories we hear in this job rip at your heart. These kids face an uphill slog through thick mud to reach their goals. I don't for one moment think that it is easy and we celebrate each little victory. It seems too common that they believe that as soon as change starts happening that everything should be fixed and no struggles be present anymore. They expect all vertical progress. I wish life worked that way but it doesn't. Change happens in twists and turns, sliding backwards and fighting forwards again. It is messy and hard to see in the midst of it. I know in my own life how subtle change is. It is only when you look back over a significant period of time that you can see the difference.
So don't give up. Keep pushing forward. Remember that it's ok to slide back at times. Find those people who can cheerlead you on your way. Above all else, remember that God loves you exactly as you are but is waiting to be able to pour into you to help you change into all He created you to be. You have to be willing to accept that help.
This post was written for the Tuesday @ Ten link up for the prompt word "change".