Make Friends with Change How to Embrace Change and Thrive
I was walking my dogs earlier this evening, two sweet German Shepherds we got this year: seven month old Ringo, and three month old Jules. Like most dog owners, my wife and I love and care for our dogs. As I was walking back home I thought to myself that one day they will pass on. I contemplated how even the passing of a dog, an expected natural event, can give us anxiety. Why? It will be a life change.
Life changes, for better or worse, almost always cause distress—some mild and some painful. How do we manage the changing winds of life?
Our world was designed to change. We naturally hang on to our present realities, but we must learn to let go and adapt. We build our hopes on what we see now and in the people around us. We build a career, a family, a business, and we fight passionately to protect what we have. But anything and anyone around us can change. Not only can they change, but it is almost certain they will. Does that thought scare you? Does it bother you? It bothers me. But we must accept it, embrace it, and anticipate it.
Change is to be expected.
A beloved Biblical passage paints a picture of change. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
This passage makes it clear that there will be dramatic change in our lives, and that’s how life is. We are always in a weaning process, leaving one state and entering another. You could lose your business or become a millionaire. You may get laid off or get cancer. You could be blessed with a large family or you could lose the one you have. Change is a part of life.
How can you survive change?
- Expect it. Expect change. Anticipate change. When it happens, say to yourself, “Of course. This is normal.”
- Plan for an adjustment period. Don’t just expect change, expect that when change occurs you will go through a rocky period. Sometimes a slight bump. Other times, heavy and turbulent. Jarring. But we must remember an adjustment period is to be expected, and this period will pass.
- Trust God. Everything that takes place in the universe happens with the knowledge of God. He sees all. Trust Him.
- Look ahead. Any change, big or small, means something has passed on and something else has been birthed. Mourn the loss, then move forward. Don’t look behind for too long.
- Be true to your values. In the process of going through change, many times we become stressed. You may stray from your values because the pain is so strong. Fight against the temptation. Rather, lean on your values and principles to get you through. Stay true to love, to honor, to humility, especially through change.
On the other side of change there is hope! May we go through change with courage.
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