How to Deal with Change
By Carol Ann Smolka
When you hear the word, “change,” what comes to mind? Is it feelings of fear, anxiety, or dread? Maybe the word excites you and you associate it with positive sensations like adventure, excitement, or even relief. At the heart of “change,” is the knowledge that our circumstances will be different. Maybe we won’t be as happy as we are right now. Maybe we’ll have less money. Maybe our sense of security will be torn out from under us like a rug. But maybe, just maybe – change can be positive if we allow it to be.
If we look at a few Bible stories, we can see change sometimes brings about negative consequences. Adam and Eve – they couldn’t resist that forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened, and it separated human from God in a way we can never hope to regain. God’s original design for our delight and comfort was unceremoniously trampled upon. And while we’ll never know what life could’ve been like lazing about in the Garden of Eden all day, what we have now isn’t bad either because of another “change.”
I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now. The change I’m referring to was quite a big one! When God came down and became fully human, and offered himself up, He assured us that we would never be distant from Him again if we didn’t want to be. I can think of no better change in history than that. Was Jesus looking forward to the necessary steps for that change to occur? Certainly not. Crucifixion is a dreadful way to die. But, He knew that we needed to transform – to be changed inside and out. And he was the only one who could do it.
I recently read (I’m sorry the author escapes me) to stop thinking about our lives in terms of seasons. Instead, we should think about them as “assignments.” When we view our situations in this way, it helps us to remember that there is an end date for our work and our suffering to be completed.
Maybe you’re working for a company that is slowly sinking and you can sense an end to your employment. Your assignment is to stay and do the very best you can as if serving God and not man until your assignment is over. Although difficult, you’ll be able to look back with pride rather than regret.
Maybe you’re single and waiting for God to send you a spouse. Your assignment is to wait in the shelter of the Lord. Wait patiently for God to answer your prayers. You may be single for a lifetime, but your assignment is to wait and have faith nonetheless.
Maybe you have a house full of young children. Your assignment is to enjoy the hustle and bustle of a full home. Children are not children forever. Be mindful and enjoy this assignment while it lasts.
Maybe you’re in school and can’t wait to earn your diploma and begin your life. Don’t wish your days away in that assignment of your life. Learn all you can, so you are better equipped to do as John Wesley suggested, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
Enjoy the assignment you’re in right now. Or at the very least, step back and let God use this assignment for your good. Then, when the time comes for a change again (and it will) and you find yourself unwilling or unable, step back and let the Master of the Universe take control.