Change is appealing and abhorred, exciting and dangerous combined. Whatever you think of change, it is not simple.
I was in the 4th grade. Dad had put in for a transfer from California to Kentucky. At the time, I did not understand what God was doing. While young, I had been raised to think and speak for myself and I did! I was unhappy with the plan and the process. I was not consulted, as if I should have been. My parents were in charge of this decision and I was not. As I look back I realize now that it was for the best and God was working mightily in our family, but in the moment I could not see the larger picture. Of course, I was mad and pouted about it for a while. It was not long, though, and I had made new friends and settled in just fine.
This experience is just one of several dealing with change. I could fast forward to later moments in my life, where, as an adult, I faced change and was not very happy either. I tend to be a creature of habit and comfort. When God starts messing with that it can be unnerving! The “firsts” are always moments of change: first year of marriage, first career change, first child, first day of school, first teenager in the house. Every one of these create change that takes a while for adjustment. For me, God was working in wonderful ways. I look back and treasure each one. Yet, going through the process has its moments.
Change is appealing and abhorred.
I have grown up Baptist…Southern Baptist. It is not in our nature to think of change as appealing. As churches face neighborhood, cultural, staff or employee changes it is often met with resistance. We like what we are used to and find ourselves not liking the process. Our mind tells us that God is working and will provide great blessing. Our hearts are tied to that which is simple and comfortable. On the one side we run from change. We argue about change. We kick against the goad. Our culture believes in personal rights and demands strong input. When decisions are made, like moving in the 4th grade, that are not what we expected or feel are unfair, we are distraught. Doing life the same way every day is not appealing either though. During the industrial revolution, Ford began by having people do the same job every day for their career. He discovered that rotating people to new jobs to learn to things was productive and efficient in the long run. Change actually proved to be appealing over time, though not everyone liked it at the beginning.
Change is exciting and dangerous.
My wife and I were flying to a national convention several years ago and walked down the jetway to board the plane. We were talking and laughing as we entered the hatch, found our seats and sat down. The stewardess soon came on the PA and expressed her delight as we prepared to fly to Canada.
We were supposed to be flying to Atlanta, GA! In that moment we knew something went very wrong. While it would have been exciting to go to Canada, we would miss the meetings we were supposed to attend.
I went to college but worked weekends back home for living expenses and date money! I had made poor choices in High School and, with God’s help, was making changes in my life. One of those was to stop the party lifestyle. I was working the drive thru window handing out food when some of my buddies came through. They invited me to a party and I politely declined. When asked for a reason, I said that I felt like I needed to make changes in my life and needed to just go home after work. They never spoke to me again. The dad in me, now, says “Well, they were not good friends.” However, losing friends was tough. Change was necessary. Yet, it was dangerous too. I had to be willing to lose to win.
Managing Change is a constant in our lives. Physically, we change every minute. God designed our bodies to change with every breath. More dramatically, we face change in our health, our family, and our friends. We face sickness, death, and birthdays. None of which do we enjoy, but we manage. As we face change let us pause to consider these words from Hebrews 11.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Managing change involves faith and trust. If we have trust in God we can see His way through the progress and pain of change. In our relationships, when we have trust in those making decisions it will allow for us to see our way through as well. God has a plan for your life and mine. Do not doubt, things will change! Let us, like those who have gone before embrace it will faith that can move mountains.