Monday, April 24, 2017

Don't Go Changin'!

They say change is good. That changing from a manual to an electric toothbrush cleans your teeth better. That changing to a healthy eating lifestyle will give you more energy and stamina while improving your mood. Or that changing your sleep habits can result in a more restful and happy you.

Sounds like any kind of change can be something to get excited about. However, change doesn't always mean it will result in good. Sometimes, change can turn a person's world upside down.

Like losing your job when the economy goes in the tank or when your spouse comes home saying they no longer love you and want a divorce. That kind of change can be devastating and instrumental in creating fear of any future change.

I guess that is why many of us work hard at having control over everything in our lives so that there are no unpleasant surprises. Then when good change comes, we can celebrate by breathing a sigh of relief and a smile.

I used to be someone who feared change, greatly. In fact, there was a period of time when I hated change and did everything in my power to prevent it from happening. Which only resulted in worry, anxiety, and a false sense of security.

Preventing change from happening meant halting life and living in a state of repetition. Doing the same things that were enjoyable for any period of time soon rubbed off the novelty of it being enjoyable. Each subsequent time took away happiness and replaced it with despair. I got into a rut over something, in all honesty, I couldn't control.

We can't begin to assume that we can be in control of everything in our lives or around us, at all times. I believe it can set us up for disappointment and heartbreak. Change is a part of our world and it is inevitable. Whether good or bad, change will happen if we're prepared for it or not.

When I lost my job last year, I didn't know it was coming. There were indicators in the economy giving off signals that the industry I was working in was in trouble. That downsizing and work share programs might be on the horizon. Little did I know that the economic effect was the elimination of my position via a layoff.

Then things were changing fast. Corporate belts had to be tightened, budgets had to be revised and re-revised. A three person job became a one person job with a work share program thrown into the mix. When you lose your job, there is usually another to be found. If not, it might be an opportunity presenting itself to go in a completely different career direction. Such is the case for myself.

At the end of the day, change happens on a regular basis and in all its certainty, there is a degree to which it must be embraced, accepted. You face it, absorb it, and make the best of it as you go forward in the new direction that change has brought.

Your reaction to the change, whether exciting or daunting, can make all the difference in how you will embrace future change. It was through many experiences bringing me to the acceptance of Christ into my life and heart in 2007 that made all the difference in how I react to change today.

I know that I can't stop change nor would I want to. It's all part of the process of life and living in a world of transformation amongst conflict. There doesn't seem to be anything about our society today that isn't changing. So, do you accept the change but still maintain a wholeness to your life as it happens or do you fight against it, tooth and nail?

Fighting against it can be exhausting and emotionally draining. Albeit, negative change can bring about those affects without warning. Especially the kinds that mean a change in lifestyle, marital status, or pay grade. These are just some of the things that can be particularly challenging to adapt to.

In the days of Jesus, over 2000 years ago, a radical change was coming to the people of that time. They had no idea what the change truly was even though there were hints being given by Jesus himself. Something that would happen in the span of three days that had never happened before and was completely unheard of. Dying then being resurrected.

Jesus was telling people, his disciples especially, that he was going to die but come back to life in three days time. It dumbfounded those who followed him. They watched him heal the sick, drive out demons, and rescue the lost. There had never been anything like this before.

However, many were not embracing the changes Jesus was bringing but rebelling against them. Especially those who were in power positions and had something to lose if change came as a result of Jesus. So, they killed him in the most brutal way possible.

Those who had been following Jesus and loved him were devastated at what happened and were not prepared for this kind of change. They quickly lost hope and were filled with despair...until the third day after Jesus' death. He began appearing to crowds and people who dearly loved him. A greater change had come and hope was restored.

It's because of that radical change over 2000 years ago, that many today don't fear change. It's why I don't fear change, whether negative or positive. When something different comes along, I see it as an opportunity to experience something different or learn lessons. Usually, it means growing as a person, maturing in my faith, or adding to my life skills toolbox.

Encouragement for the week:

Do you fear change? Why or why not?

If you knew you could control the change, would that make a difference?

We know that change comes and it is constant, often without warning. May I encourage you this week to see the changes in a different way. To close your eyes, take in a deep breath, and have a time of silence to absorb the impact.

Then when you're ready to face the change and deal with it, go slow through each moment while being good to yourself. Choose not to worry or be fearful, but to see it all as an opportunity to grow as an individual or a couple. Whatever your situation may be. It will be okay.

If you are a Christian, you know that change is inevitable. That it will be both good and bad but that you have a confident Savior who will guide you through each change, helping you to grow in strength and faith.

If you are not a Christian, look for Jesus and you will find the best GPS system ever to direct you through each great or difficult change that comes into your life, with confidence and hope.

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