Growing Through Change
In Ecclesiastes 3:1, there is a passage that most have heard at one time or another. “For everything, there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” The fact is we will face good times and bad, easy times and hard. Yet, in some way, these circumstances all precede or follow changes in our life. Learning to navigate change in our world will, in many cases, determine our success or failure. It typically happens when we least expect it, which means it is difficult at best to prepare for it. Accepting change as a regular part of one’s existence is not an easy thing for most people. However, becoming adaptable and open to finding new opportunities which can arise during change will open doors we never knew existed.
No matter our age, how well a person navigates change is directly related to one’s adaptability. Being adaptable is also described as a personality trait that helps define how a person will respond to change. Adaptability as a Christian means not feeling hopeless and helpless in the face of change. We know that ultimately God is always in control. The Apostle Paul faced continual changes throughout his life. He declared that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
When we think about navigating change, it would seem there is a destination implied, and we are moving through something. Many people will say, “I just need to get through this chapter of my life, and then I pray everything will be ok.” What do we mean when we pray that everything will be ok? Most often, everything will return to as it was, back to normal, or the same as before the event occurred. However, is that what we should expect or want? John Maxwell said, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” There is no denying that we all will face change innumerable times in our lives, but what happens on the other side is the question. Have we learned? Have we become better people? Have we moved closer to God, to the people we love? How have we changed because of what we have faced?
Change can certainly be difficult as it forces us to grow, like wind pounding a tree makes it sink its roots deeper. The deeper the roots, the stronger the tree. Remember that Paul said, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” What part of “all things” don’t we understand? Paul is saying, no matter what the circumstances are, God is working. Even when it makes no sense to us, God is working on us. Is it easier to navigate change as we get older? The answer is not a simple yes or no. When a person is young, they may lack the maturity and life experience needed to make proper decisions when significant change is required. However, the advantage youth brings to facing change is the ability to be adaptable as they move through a world that is shifting daily. Because they are less set in their ways, they tend to find it easier to accept change as a normal part of life. The older we get, the more set in our ways we become, making change more complicated, more uncomfortable. Yet with age comes the tenacity and grit to press on through the storms we face.
Think back over the last year; it was all about change, all about adaptability. There are aspects of our lives that will never be the same, but we have found out that we can face changes we could never have imagined. We are more robust, our churches are still standing, and God’s work is moving forward.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12