Reflecting on Change


By Sharon Conley Cottingham

Pause for a moment and try this practice of reflecting on the changes you’ve experienced recently.

Pause, and take three slow, deep, intentional breaths. Invite your body to relax.

Name two or three changes you’ve experienced in the past six months. These may be changes you planned for or changes that came to you unbidden. They may be small changes or big ones, related to your work or to your family life. They may appear to be losses or gains. Simply note them either in a journal or in your mind’s eye.

Take another breath. Pause. Linger. And select one of the changes as your focus.

Focusing on just one of those changes you’ve listed, take a deeper look. With each change—even desired change—comes an ending. What endings would you name in that change? If grief appears, create space for it. Allow time to notice and to look kindly at that feeling of grief.

And take another breath. Pause. Linger.

With endings come potential opportunities for newness. What opportunities have surfaced amid change? Even undesired endings bring new possibilities. Are you at a point where you can identify something new? Stay alert for the small, potentially hidden things—things the size of a mustard seed. Newness need not be grandiose or complete. It may be small and quiet.

What might you need to release or let go to move into newness?

And take another breath. Pause. Linger. What invitation from the Creator rises from this meditation? Are you able to sense the presence of God with you even amid the uncertainty that accompanies change?

Sharon Conley Cottingham serves as Director of Formational Learning for The Upper Room and is currently pursuing a DMin in Spiritual Direction from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.