“Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing!” It was 2016, and we’d spent weeks repeating that phrase to our pre-teen daughters as we packed up to leave the only home they had ever known. We loaded up five giant moving pods, stuffed to the brim with the contents of our house. The pods were headed off to storage for a few months. Our family was embarking on a cross-country move from Texas to Colorado. There was no doubt about it. Change was coming.
If you ask me on any given day if I enjoy change, my answer will be a swift and intense NO! I like being comfortable. I like predictable routines. I like to (naively) feel as though I have some control over what happens in life. Change messes up my inner peace, which results in my anxiety levels shooting through the roof.
But change is inevitable. It’s something that connects us to our very humanity. No one is immune. Not one. In fact, some of the best songs have been written about change because it’s just so universal! Cheryl Crow’s A Change Would Do you Good, The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan, or Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer, just to name a few.
We Don’t Have to Fear Change
Panic and denial are usually my initial reactions in the face of change. I spend some time trying to figure out how to avoid it or get around it. But I know that change is inevitable, and I’m still learning that I don’t have to fear it.
In fact, some of the greatest changes in my lifetime have just flat out resulted in a better way of living.
Back in the 80’s, it was the ultimate treat to open the freezer on a Friday night and pull out a tv dinner (Kid’s Cuisine with mini corn dogs and a fudge brownie, obviously) and pop it in the microwave.
But now? We’ve advanced to services like Uber Eats and Grub Hub, where you can simply order dinner, and SOMEONE ELSE will drive to the restaurant, pick up your food, and drop it right on your doorstep. There’s a positive change!
And what about our entertainment options? Woe to the 1980’s kid who had to use the bathroom during the commercial break. Somehow the show always came back on before you were done! Or worse: You had to go to your baby sister’s soccer game and missed your show entirely.
The only hope you had was to catch that episode as a rerun, and the odds of that happening were just about as good as your sister’s team winning their game.
Now we have Netflix and Hulu and all manner of streaming options that allow us to not only watch any episode of any show we want, but we can binge watch and finish an entire season of a series in a matter of two days.
Not that I speak from experience, of course.
Change Doesn’t Have to Be a Bad Thing!
There are so many good things that come from change in our lives. Change varies from something trivial like entertainment options to something major, like having to begin a school year virtually with teachers and students connecting over a computer screen.
But no matter what it is, change offers some clear benefits in our lives. We just have to look for it.
We Are Forced Out of Our Comfort Zone
There is a reason we like to stay in our comfort zone. Stepping outside of it can be painful! It’s kind of like when you’re beginning a new exercise program. Change doesn’t happen unless you push yourself into a place of discomfort. Is it easy? No. Do we enjoy the burpees or the squats? Not for a second. But over time, we can see how our bodies change for the better when we get a little uncomfortable and push ourselves.
The same is true for our emotional, spiritual, and relational selves. If we stay comfortable, we also stay the same. And staying the same goes against the very nature of what God has intended for us and for our lives. So go ahead and let change make you uncomfortable. Then watch all the ways you adapt and transform because of it.
Change Allows for Growth
As an adult who has faced her share of changes over the last few decades, I can say with full certainty that change is the force that ushers us right up to the intersection of growth and progress. In order to experience any kind of personal, professional, spiritual, or relational growth, change has to occur. Otherwise we’ll spend our entire lives being stagnant. That is not where you want to be. You weren’t created to stay where you are.
Change Provides New Experiences
Changes make room for so many memorable experiences. One click of a button and our Facebook memories remind us that change, brought on by the passing of time, is what gives shape to our lives.
We remember how our stubborn child once refused to use the potty.
We realize that a job we left a decade ago led to that amazing career opportunity.
We reflect on the life of someone we’ve lost, whose influence changed us for the better.
New experiences are sprinkled throughout our story. The change that comes from those experiences transforms us, helps us grow, and propels us forward.
And thank goodness, or else I’d still be sitting here with a nearly grown child still afraid to use the potty.
Change Isn’t Something We Have a Choice About
It’s not as if we just sit back sipping our lemon water, casually evaluating whether or not we’d like to experience change in our lives someday. That option is not up to us. Change is inevitable.
It’s one thing in life we can expect with certainty.
With all the changes swirling around me right now, I’m working on viewing them with hopeful anticipation instead of dread. They may be exactly what I need to help me become the person I was created to be.