Lately, there have been some pretty big changes in my life. Now, I realize that change itself is a part of life, and yet it’s tough for a lot of us to deal with anyway. As many of us tend to do, I find myself sometimes fighting to stay the same, or from changing in a direction in which I don’t want to go.

During my graduate training, I always thought of myself as an academic. I loved teaching, and found research fascinating. I did therapy, but to me it was always secondary to the academic stuff. During my internship, things changed. Even though I didn’t want to let go of my academic dreams, I found myself enjoying the work I did on the clinical side more and more. One of my supervisors wisely advised to me “let go and trust the process.”

Letting go is scary – it means that we are not in control. What I’ve found though, is that our sense of control is often an illusion. Life happens, and many times happens in a way that really lets us know we’re NOT in control. At this point, we can either keep fighting against the new reality, or we can let go and trust the process.

Our work in Stephen Ministry is all about trusting the process. We trust God to be the CUREgiver, and we are the CAREgivers who let go and allow God to work through us. It’s not always easy because our first tendency is to try to fix things – in other words, try to control the situation. We all do this at one time or another; it seems to be part of our human nature. Letting go and trusting the process is difficult, but also freeing. We’re free from having to fix problems; it’s hard enough to try to fix our own without feeling like we have to fix someone else’s. Trusting the process allows God to work in us and through us. It’s a gift to see God’s hand in our own lives, and we strive to share that gift with our care receivers.

When we trust the process, we accept what is and we are open to possibilities that we may not have considered or didn’t even know existed. This is a lesson I’ve been learning over and over again, and trusting the process has been leading me in a definite clinical direction – to the point where I’m working on opening a private practice. Trusting the process has allowed me to see that maybe academics isn’t where I belong. I still love teaching and am lucky enough to integrate that into my work as well. What is right for me – right at this point, is that I have the wonderful opportunity to work with people in distress and to help people in their growth process. How much better can it get? And, I never would have considered this option if I hadn’t trusted the process.

This process is always continuing – just when I think I’ve got the game figured out, life throws me a curve ball. In this case, I thought I was going to be able to help someone, and I wasn’t able to. I won’t go into details, but will say that I felt overwhelmed by this person’s needs and emotions, and that I believe she felt threatened by me and my degrees. However, what she did or did not feel or think about me is not the question here – the question is, “where is this process taking me?”

I could be one of those people who shuts down and insists that I was right, and try to be “top dog.” That isn’t going to help anyone, though…while I’m not going to have the chance to walk with this person anymore, I can still learn and grow from the experience. A good (metaphorical) kick in the pants is healthy sometimes, and I got one, but good, this week. And I’m glad – it keeps me humble and helps me know that there are areas in which I need to work. In this case, I need to work on understanding and being able to sit with grief – and I’m working on doing so.

So…again I’m trusting the process. Sometimes it’s a painful lesson and sometimes it’s joyful – either way, though, the process happens. Trusting it and growing seems to me to be the only way to go.