How To Respond To Change
Change. We’ve all experienced it at some point and chances are you are either experiencing some sort of change right now or will again soon. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it feels not so good. Sometimes we feel like we are in control, sometimes it comes out of no where. You may have just graduated, started a new relationship, lost your job, moved away, are hanging out with friends less because they’re dating or have kids now, or find new exciting responsibilities on your plate at work- but whether we realize it or not; change impacts us and we naturally respond in some way or another.
Someone once told me that our brain registers change as if it is a loss, a loss of a great season or even a poor season as you move into a new one… and loss has to be grieved. If we don’t take the time to process the goodbye to the old and and the settling of the new, we may notice ourselves conflicted with change and coping or responding poorly. Before we dive into what we can do when we are conflicted with change, I think these two reminders from Charles Spurgeon are so crucial to be aware of.
“The seasons change and you change, but the Lord abides evermore the same, and the streams of His love are as deep, as broad, and as full as ever.”
- Charles Spurgeon
1.We should expect change in our lives.
When God saves us He gives us a new identity in Christ, right? But He doesn’t stop there. He continues to sanctify us - change us - to look more and more like Christ- back to what He first intended us to look like when He created Adam and Eve- before sin entered the picture and distorted things. It’s for our actual good and His glory. And He won’t stop until completion when Christ returns or we meet Him in Heaven. This is good news! Change that makes us walk out the holiness we were initially created for is a good thing! With a good God that saves us, we should be so willing to be submitted to whatever He has for us so that it would bring His great name glory!
”being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV
Change in our lives positions us to depend on God if we are willing. When we depend on ourselves we can get overwhelmed and have our joy dependent upon faulty created things instead of the perfect Creator. In each change we face, as we depend upon the Lord, God can teach us about who He is, and make His characteristics more familiar to us as we have relationship with Him. There are just some things we can’t learn in life without walking through them with the Lord. Just like you would never see sides of a friend or loved one in a real way if you didn’t walk through that one thing with them and see their characteristics revealed. Instead of depending on ourselves we can rest in the Lord as He uses the changes around us to mold and change us into His likeness for His great purposes.
2.We should remind ourself that God will never change.
Though we will face change for the rest of our lives, we can take joy knowing that the Lord will never change. We have a firm foundation, a solid anchored hope, and even as we change or the circumstances around us change- He never will. We don’t have to worry that God is going to change His promises or character for His Word confirms it. James 1:17 and Hebrews 13:8 shows that He is constant and is unlike the earthly things that are constantly shifting and changing. This is a God that is close, personal, real and wants us to abide in Him. One who cares for our every need and will provide the strength and power needed for what He is calling us to in the midst of change. This sovereign God is in control of all things so we don’t have to fear when we trust in Him! And when we are in Christ, there is nothing that can separate us from this good God.
As we are reminded that God never changes and that we will continue to face change in our lives, here are some ways that we can process or even grieve the changes experienced on this side of Heaven.
Be honest with yourself- Take a step back and look at what is going on and how your heart is. Are you diving way too fast into the new change without processing emotions or choosing poor substitutes to distract yourself? Be real, don't just push through it or believe you have it all figured out. I think a lot of the times we are faced with a change and are really unaware of the impacts it is having on us and others. We don’t acknowledge how our heart is or how we may be treating people around us. Take steps to grieve what you’ve lost and process what the new change in your life. Don’t be obsessed with the change but actually acknowledge it with others and God. I love John Piper’s quote “Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”
Be honest with others- Accountability is key. We need Godly people in our lives with an outside perspective, that know our story, how we typically cope, who have walked through things and can speak the truth of God’s word into our lives. Keep someone in your corner to process the change you’re going through and remind you that the Lord uses it all for good!
Be honest with the Lord- Keep your gaze on the Lord and His bigger picture. Remind yourself that your home is not here on earth but in Heaven. Ask Him what is He doing in the now and how you can be led to honor Him in the change. Actually sort out these things with Him, you may not have all the answers but you can run to the One who knows you better than you do yourself. See if He is making you aware of any idols through this change that you can lay down at His feet. Trust that His plan is the best plan. Allow Him to work in and through you, for God knows and truly has the best in mind for your holiness. Depend on the Holy Spirit for the strength needed in this time of change. Give thanks to God for the season you are walking out of and praise Him for the new as He goes before you.