“God’s agenda is change. Your need is change. The promise of grace is change. The hope of eternity is the completion of the work of change.”
That was the heading this morning from one of my favorite devotionals. (New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp) Reading those words literally made me laugh out loud.
Why? Because I am knee-deep in boxes, bubble wrap and packing tape as I prepare to move later this week. It has been two years since my last move and my life circumstances are a million times better. Even so, moving is definitely not the fun part of change. In fact, countless studies have reported that moving is one of the most stressful life events. Can I get an amen?
Life really is full of unending change, isn’t it? Whether it’s about changing seasons, the inevitability of aging or the latest and greatest advances in technology, change is woven into the warp and woof of daily life.
If change is inevitable, how can we approach transitions with anticipation instead of dread?
Mindset matters. Just as a glass of water can be viewed as half empty or half full, we can choose to embrace or resist change. Yes, some change is unwanted and unwelcomed. Tragedies like the death of a loved one or the onset of serious illness are not changes that anyone desires. My belief in the truth of Romans 8:28 (“And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”) has helped me navigate the difficult headwinds of change. No, I don’t believe that everything that happens is good. But I firmly believe (and can attest) that good can come from the most painful of unwanted changes.
Change provides a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow. Whether physically moving or going through another type of change, different circumstances open us to new perspectives about the world, about other people and about ourselves.
Change gives us the chance to re-invent ourselves. Habits you don’t like? Qualities you wish you had? You don’t have to stay stuck in a rut of sameness. Learn something new! Start a new hobby. Read about topics you’ve never explored. Reach out for help or encouragement if you can’t make progress on your own. Decide to discard the clutter in your life, whether emotional or physical, as you go through seasons of change.
Change brings new relationships. Moving to a new location inevitably exposes us to new people and provides the opportunity for new friendships. The birth of a child or grandchild naturally causes our love to grow. When we keep our eyes and hearts open as we go through varieties of change, we will see fresh examples of beauty in our world.
Change anchors us to the Unchangeable One. Everything, literally everything, in our lives changes over time. But “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) The truth of God’s unchanging, loving nature has helped people across millennia endure the most difficult times of testing and can sustain you, too.
2020 has brought change to all of our lives. I don’t know a single person who would say it’s been an easy year. Not one. But we can choose to look for the blessings and the opportunities as we go through the inevitable experiences of change. And we can press the mute button on grumbling!
After that pep talk (to herself and to her friends), Pollyanna is now returning to packing boxes…
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