Clocks are about to “spring” forward. Are you ready? I am looking forward to longer days (or at least longer daylight hours even if I can’t add a few hours to the day!). But even when it’s not time change weekend, our lives are in continually change.
How many of you are facing or have recently faced a major change in your life? Don’t we prefer lives to follow traditional pattern. You know, life the way it’s supposed to be: birth, childhood, school, college, job, marriage, family, retirement, aging, and death. In that order! Right!
Truly I am a creature of habit, very comfortable with routines, plan A as opposed to plan B, and a somewhat predictable life. Of course, that is not the life I’ve experienced for the most part. I have discovered that interruptions to that “perfect” order can be disturbing. Often we work hard to get past barriers and obstacles in order to get on with life as we think it’s supposed to be (whatever that is!).
Life rarely works out the way we think it will and we face inevitable changes, times of struggle, pain, joy and growth. Some of these are ordinary and others turn world upside down. All are opportunities for growth, for God to “show off”, to grow in all ways, and to develop a story that ministers to others.
So, how do you deal with change, especially with crisis and difficulties that cause change, such as death of a loved one, illness, job loss, broken relationships……
In an old book Future Shock this statement was made: "Change is avalanching upon our heads and we are grotesquely unprepared to cope with it." Change can be frightening because we don’t know what result will be and we tend to be afraid of the unknown. Change disrupts our routine and brings unpredictability into our journey. The question not whether we will have change, but how we will react to changes we will definitely have.
Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary once made the statement "Change is inevitable, but adjustment of optional." So how can we face change with grace and joy and accept it as natural, healthy, spiritual growth opportunity in life?
In Experiencing God this is called a crisis of belief. We can’t do it on own but it becomes a turning point where we must make a decision and what we do reveals what we believe about God. The author, Henry Blackaby, says, "You can’t stay where you are and go with God" God’s revelation is our invitation to adjust our life to Him. The tendency is to skip adjustment (process of growth) and go from believing to obedience, but if we want to follow Him, we don’t have that choice. We must be willing to pay price of adjustment to follow His will.
We must focus on our unchangeable God because at every change point in our lives, He has important things to teach us about ourselves and others, and most importantly, about who He is: the only one who is changeless, constant and perfect. James 1:17 says, Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. We also know that His Word never changes (Matthew 24:35, Psalm 119:89)
Here are some practical tips for dealing with change:
1. Let change happen-recognize and understand change is normal.
2. Realize anxiety is normal as well!
3. Don’t keep feelings to self but open lines of communication and share what’s on your heart.
4. Rely on others for support.
5. Be active and stay healthy physically and nutritionally.
6. Let go of old and look forward to new as you focus on what gained, not just what is lost.
Proverbs 3:5-6 is a familiar passage, but one that truly does give us an anchor to hold to when we are not sure what’s going on. Continually withdraw to spend time with Him when life gets out of focus and you aren’t sure what’s about to happen. Learn to praise him in the midst of uncertainty.
Philippians 4:4 tells us to rejoice when???? Keep a surrendered will, just as Jesus did in the garden before his crucifixion. Claim His promises that speak to you during your journey and you will ALWAYS find him faithful.
What do you do to navigate change in your life? Share your tips in the comments.