It is July and this month and the one that follows are often for many a ‘change of scene’, as people take holidays. If that includes you, hope you have a refreshing time wherever you go.
Let’s lift out the word ‘change’ from the sentences above.
Change… how do you respond to that word?
I guess if we are all honest, it will depend on what the change is.
A change in the weather for instance may be very welcome (depending on your meteorological preferences!)
Change is always with us. It has been said. The only thing that is constant is change (attributed to being coined by Greek philosopher Heroclitus).
Recent changes in the news have included the EU referendum in the UK, the slimming down to two main candidates for the US presidential elections, as well as the on-going upheaval in situations such as the troubles in Syria and Iraq.
Any change will be viewed differently by different people. Some changes of course are life threatening such as the wars in the Middle East.
So how do we respond to change? Here are some suggestions, I am sure there are plenty of others…
- Be grateful when it seems a positive change – thankfulness to God and those who have brought it about. Don’t just take it for granted.
- Look to the Lord not just the circumstances when change is challenging. One of the brothers of Jesus described God as the ‘Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows..’ (James 1:17) Circumstances of life including in politics and economics will at times be very volatile. Yet the Lord is faithful, trustworthy, unchanging (though not uncaring!). Even those few words are a big claim about God of course. How do we respond to such a claim?
- Be honest about our anxieties. It is good to bring these to the Lord in prayer. There are lots of verses in the Bible about anxiety and fear. Here is but one of them, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). This is not saying we have to deny we are anxious but that we can turn to the Lord. Also talking it through with some others we can trust can help and if needed, seek professional help if anxiety is too much.
- Be careful not to be caught up in endless speculations on any particular change, that might just drag you down further! Sometimes silence or changing the subject can be far wiser and healthier.
- Embrace change. Whatever the change is, it may not be reversible. So instead how do we move forward? Some situations may be more difficult than others of course to move forward with. It will take time. Again prayer and seeking counsel and support of others could be a great help here.
- It’s okay to grieve. Part of our working through change may include the need to grieve, be that due to the loss of a loved one or some other loss in our lives. May be some of us need to give ourselves permission to grieve. May be we need to be honest with some others that we need help to do so.
- Listen to others when they see a change differently. People are often not be very good at truly listening to each other, especially when another person has the opposite opinion. Let’s all seek to truly understand where others are coming from and to be able to express our views clearly but not aggressively.
- Remember those impacted by tough change – those who are bereaved, who have had to flee their home country/community or experienced other loss. How can we come alongside others to be a listening ear or help in some practical way?
I think I will leave it there in making suggestions. When I logged in today in order to write a post I was going to write something else. But I felt stirred to write on change. May be something above will help someone. Or at least point someone to the Lord or seeking help from somebody.
I finish by saying I don’t always find change easy. Various of the points above, I am needing to apply in response to changes I have experienced since last summer. This post is not written from a place of theory though nor do I claim to have ‘arrived’ when it comes to responding to change!