I have a love-hate relationship with change.
I love the change of seasons. It’s exciting to welcome spring flowers, carefree summer days, crisp fall air with warm drinks, and sweaters and good cheer that come with winter.
I love getting a few new items to add to my wardrobe, a new lipstick or nail polish. I’ve always loved new school supplies and the feel of a new book. When I was in college my roommate loved to open a new container of peanut butter and we would ooh and ahh over how pretty it looked before someone would mar the smooth surface with a knife.
If I know a big change is coming, being a control freak, I’m ok with it as long as I can mentally prepare myself and plan for the change accordingly. You see all of the above changes are usually expected, planned for or chosen. I don’t like the feeling of being out of control. As a nurse I learned quickly that the Emergency Room was not a good fit for me. I didn’t like the surprise of what was coming through the ER doors.
So, with all that being said, I have always struggled a little with unexpected changes. For example, if I have something planned, I am not going to cancel unless something or someone else cancels on me. Even in a snow storm I am not changing my plans unless the whole thing is canceled. This made me a great employee and a very loyal soccer spectator.
However, over time due to life circumstances I have learned to deal with life’s changes. My husband’s motto has always been adapt and adjust to overcome. So, 25 years of marriage later, I am a much more pliable person. And even though it isn’t always easy, I have learned to navigate through change while attempting to maintain a fairly positive attitude with the help of supportive loving people and my relationship with God.
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, has been quoted as saying, “Change is the only constant in life.” So, we know that change is inevitable.
When babies are little, we are excited at the changes they are making. We look forward to when they can eat food and use the potty. We encourage them to crawl, walk and talk.
But as they grow, our excitement lessens as they go off on their first school bus ride or day of school without us. And maybe less excited as puberty hits with bodily changes happening and appetites increase. Only to watch them drive away for the first time behind the wheel of a car or as you walk away from their dorm room and you no longer have them safely tucked in a bed in your house at night.
And while all this is happening, our marriages or even us, ourselves, are changing. We evolve into different people while we are adapting to the changes. We just pray that we are staying connected enough that we still fit together well when we come out on the other side of the change.
And lastly, what I have dealt with on a personal note in the last four years, our relationship with our own parents change. After we leave home and become independent people at some point things shift and our parents eventually start to need us. Sometimes it’s only for a little help or advice and other times it’s for more intense help with big decisions regarding health, finances and end of life decisions.
The good news in all of this is that change actually is not the only constant. ”
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) and Malachi 3:6 tells us “I am the Lord, and I do not change.”
Our hope to manage through our difficult changes is found in the promises God has given us. I know mine have been minor and pale in comparison to the heartache of change that some of you have had to endure.
When we find our hope in Jesus to help us through difficult changes and seasons, they become more bearable. Some things that I have found helpful are:
You see change will happen and even if it isn’t a perceived as a good thing it will change us by refining us. It will make us more compassionate for others experiencing similar things. It may cause us to draw nearer to Him as we seek to understand why the change is happening. And even though we may not like how it feels we will be stronger, braver and more beautiful warriors for having gone to battle through the change.
So, as you approach changes this new year, I hope you can face them knowing with His help, you’ve got this! “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Ruthie Painter lives in Waynesboro, PA, with her husband of 25 years. She has 2 grown children that are currently attending college. She is an active member of LCBC church and loves staying connected to other women through The Connection.