Dealing With ChangePosted by: Ashley
For most of us, we don’t actually wake up in the morning, smell our coffee, and say, “Hello, change, I can’t wait to meet you today and see all the new and unfamiliar places you will take me!” In all honesty, most of us (including me) enjoy our familiarity, our routines, our controlled environments, and most importantly, our comfort zones. Being creatures of habit, we do not naturally desire alteration to any of these areas.
However, we all know by now, life happens, and it most definitely keeps happening regardless of how much we would love to control it. Change is inevitable. Now don’t get me wrong; I like some change, such as my clothes (shout out to all my shoppers), my diet (the struggle is real), and my home (decorating is my favorite).
The change I am talking about is life change. Whatever we want to call it—transition, shift, new seasons—we can count on this: it all equals new and unfamiliar settings. Change can come anytime in a vast array of areas:
- Relocation to a new city
- Lovely new little ones
- Unexpected loss
- New job opportunities
- Unforeseen diagnosis
…And the list goes on!
SO HOW DO WE DEAL WITH CHANGE?
Not all life change is bad thing, but I have learned that most of it has its challenges. If I have ever found any good in change, I first had to find a place of flexibility in my heart. After years of working in ministry, this small town Texas girl felt like “flexibility” was her long lost cousin whom she really didn’t want to meet. Seriously! I had only lived in best state of all (Texas proud, check!) my whole life. However, since being married, we have lived in six different states in our 10 years together. In times, I have felt like my name should read Ashley “Flexible” Larson. So recently, when the discussion of another major life change came on the horizon, it definitely challenged me, but I felt like I was more prepared then ever before… famous last words!
Here’s a quick summary of what this looked liked for us; we relocated to a different city, transitioned in our careers, and departed from many dear friends. We were excited, felt adventurous, and we were completely faith-filled that this was our next step in fulfilling the plan God had for us. Then it happened. You know, the big “c” word.
I found myself stretched, amazed, and utterly undone, and at the same time, these 4 keys came to my heart through the highs and lows of this new transition:
1. Do not confuse who you are with what you do.
Your “what” will always change, but your “who” is continually found in Jesus Christ. Keep this perspective in front of you at all times. It’s important to work hard to steer your focus tightly during change. By doing this, you will protect your heart from the unpredictable future. You don’t lose yourself when you lose a title. What you do (your title) doesn’t define who you are. Refuse to let any kind of change discourage you from being how God created you. When I have been my shakiest in transition, it’s the moments I lose sight of “who” I am in Christ. Keeping a Jesus foundation will help you stay stable during major life shifts. How many times do we connect what we do with who we are? Don’t forget, you are His and your value is found in Him.
2. In your planning, plan to let go.
This sounds so easy, but it has been almost impossible for me to master. I have spent way too many years being secretly miserable because life was not going “as planned.” Planning is a necessity, but your planning should not own you, your joy, or your peace. Life is short, and in order to live it richly, we must learn to let go and enjoy the unexpected. Proverbs 19:21 reminds us, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Don’t get stuck holding on to something that isn’t God’s best. Trust Him. His plans are always the best plans!
3. Face your fears.
Transition brings good life questions. Admittedly, I was a little scared to answer these at first but found freedom once I confronted the issue bringing them to my attention. Let change help you discover new passions, new creativity, and new levels of freedom. In this, we must constantly tell ourselves, GOD IS WITH US! Isaiah 41:10 tells us so beautifully, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.” Remember, your faith conquers your fears. I had a great mentor tell me, “Starve your fears, and feed your faith.”
4. Stay patient.
New seasons take time to develop and time to grow. God wants the best for us. When we are asking Him to lead us, we have to give Him time to come through for us. Healthy growth takes patience and trust in God. We can lean on this scripture in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” God isn’t going to waste your time.
Wherever you are on your journey, take a deep breath, look change in the face, smile, and welcome it right in. Remember change comes regularly but doesn’t stay permanently. Be brave, trust God, and go master change today!