Have you ever found yourself saying ‘it’s just not the same?’
Maybe I’m the only one, but it’s something I’ve felt challenged by this weekend.
On a rare weekend away with my husband (because how many new parents out there know that time away child free is a rarity?!) we set off on the motorway to what I thought was a beautiful hotel we’d stayed in while pregnant with Ava.
I’d been looking forward to this since Christmas and had it all well planned out in my head.
However, it wasn’t until a few minutes into our journey that Carl said we weren’t going to that hotel, but we were going somewhere else.
My heart sank.
Why? I questioned.
And everything else he said afterwards blurred into a muffled noise.
Immediately this thought ran over and over in my mind.
It just wont be the same.
For me, that hotel held memories. It was a lovely spa hotel, small and intimate, in one of the most beautiful settings right on a lake. One of my favourite places to enjoy peace and quiet.
We’d been there before, so I knew what to expect. I’d planned where I would read my books and write, where we could go walking, where I would sit by the pool- all just like last time.
I’d been so desperate for this break, not only for quality time away with my husband, but to enjoy peace and quiet, to read, write, swim- all things I either don’t get time to do at home, or if I do, they are madly crammed into my day.
Now we were going somewhere new. Somewhere different. This was an unexpected surprise and my reaction said it all.
Most reading this would be thinking how ungrateful, I wish my husband surprised me like that!
And in all honesty you’d be right.
Pretty soon after my seemingly ungrateful reaction, I began to see logic of why he’d chosen this hotel. It’d had been offered to him as an upgrade due to our original hotel double booking our dates. As an apology, they offered an upgrade to one of their more prestige hotels, with bigger facilities and evening meals provided. This hotel was within close range of nearby towns and cities, offering more choices for activities to do on our stay.
Quite thoughtful actually, that he would agree to this upgrade- and why not?!
But I was so stubborn and the words its just not the same consumed my thoughts.
It wasn’t what I was expecting. It wasn’t what I wanted. My plans had gone out of the window.
What if I didn’t like it? I don’t like bigger- bigger doesn’t always equal better for me.
I was so consumed and wrapped up in what I wanted, what was within my realm of control, that in that moment, there was no reasoning and no adjustment for change. If it wasn’t going to be the same, I didn’t want to know.
I wonder how long I play the ‘hormones’ card to excuse my ungrateful reaction?
Needless to say, an apology was due on my part. I’d become so consumed by my pre-conceived idea of what I thought this weekend was going to be, that I couldn’t accept Carls loving attempt at a spontaneous surprise. And rightly so, this angered and saddened him.
Why am I telling you this?
Because how is my reaction, true of life in general?
I wonder how many of you have refused to accept a surprise or invitation, perhaps even a suggestion to try something new- because it’s not the same as what you’re used to?
It means stepping into the unexpected, the unknown. It means being open to new possibilities and opportunities. Being presented with new challenges and growth of your character.
Yet how many of us like ‘same’.
‘Same’ is within our control, we know what’s coming. We can plan for it. We know what to take with us and what we need. We know how we’re going to feel while there and what we’ll get out of it. We know what to avoid and what is on offer should we wish to take it.
‘Same’ is comfortable, reliable, comforting and in most cases, something we can control.
I decided upon arrival at the hotel, that I would not allow an, ‘it’s not the same’ thought and attitude to enter my mind and steal my joy.
Yes, everything was different, and much bigger. I didn’t know where anything was or what to expect.
The weekend wasn’t what I was expecting and it wasn’t the same as the last time we were away.
But in all honesty, what is?
What is actually exactly the same every time?
Had we gone to the other hotel, while my expectations were pre-conceived, its highly likely that my experience would not have been the same as the last.
We are in a different stage in life now, our needs are different- sleep is more important! Our energy levels are different.
I was adamant that I would get through at least two books and write for hours before coming home.
I was sure that I would read by the pool each night when most guests are in their rooms, and enjoy a peaceful read beside the gentle swaying of the pool water.
But actually, this time away, each time Carl or I picked up a book, we just couldn’t concentrate. My laptop sat on the table till the last day, and on a night we could have chilled by the pool, we had only enough energy to muster up going out for tea!
Instead, we spent more time together- talking and laughing. Which is ultimately what our relationship so desperately needed 10 months into parenthood!
Our experience was different, not the same as last time. But different didn’t mean bad or disappointment. Different meant good, in a variety of ways and I needed to embrace those different experiences. I needed to enjoy the joy in those moments!
I wonder if you find yourself in the unexpected? I wonder if God is calling you into the unknown? Something that shakes up your same old routine and completely shifts you into a new routine. I wonder if God is inviting you to take up an opportunity that means you have to leave behind what you’ve always known- the comfortable, reliable and expected- into something that will initially cause you to say- its not the same and potentially back out or have a bad attitude?
Is different always bad? In my experience, absolutely not.
I think our attitude is the key solution. How you respond to the change will ultimately determine your circumstances future.
Do you embrace it? Do you trust God no matter what you’re going through? Do you adapt to it? Do you have a positive approach and see the opportunities within each stage of change?
Or do as I did? Repeat and focus on over and over how it’s just not the same!
Let me tell you- that got me no where.
In fact, it would have ruined our weekend. I had to accept it. Embrace it and enjoy it. It might not have been what I was expecting, but I could either choose to have a positive response or stay in a stubborn sulk focusing on what could have been.
If it’s not the same- embrace it, accept it, see the joy in the moment and don’t be so afraid to step into the unknown, the unexpected and try something new. Open yourself up to new opportunities.
I believe our walk with God is different on a daily basis. It is never the same, and as we grow, I believe He might ask us more often than perhaps we’d like, to do something that isn’t the same as what were used to. To step out of our comfort zones and into the unexpected, trusting that different, doesn’t mean bad in Gods eyes. Learning to trust Him beyond our own understanding and reasoning, accepting and embracing all He has ahead.
One thing I am sure of though, something that is always the same, and a sentence that will never change no matter what circumstance you find yourself in.
His love never changes.
It never fails.
His love for you, is the same as it was before He created you in your mothers womb and will be forever and eternity.
Praise the Lord! He is good. God’s love never fails. Psalm 136
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8