Posted: 9/21/19 at 8:30am. Column by Ed Jordan.
We live at a time in history when change is continual. Perhaps life has always been changing at this pace, but I doubt it.
Change has always been happening, but the pace seems to have escalated.
Awareness of rapid change occurs because of our access to instant, constant announcements of changes. It seems that before we can even process last week’s changes, we are bombarded with two more weeks of change to process.
Over the last month I have withdrawn a little from daily reading emails, or from reading Facebook. It is not that I don’t have time for them; I just need some down time for intake instead of constant output.
My plate has been too full for too long, and my coping mechanisms are frayed.
So I am going to take a short vacation. I have written the next two weeks’ columns and sermons early. I will not be checking my email or logging onto Facebook while on vacation. I won’t be living on my phone either.
There are many ways to deal with the constant bombardment of change. One is to cut off all contact with change; good luck in attempting that impossible feat.
Another response is to fight change and wear yourself out in the process. Again, that’s not the best choice, since the change already occurred and you are fighting the victor. A third option is to capitulate, while passively resisting it, which again is a losing proposition.
There are several more positive approaches towards change. One is to attempt to manage how you let the changes affect you. You can participate without endorsing the change.
In this sense, you are along for the ride and going to enjoy the trip in spite of whatever changes occur.
You recognize that there are more people than you on the road trip, and that therefore not every change can please every person.
You choose to be joyful and participate in the journey, even when there are changes that you didn’t want.
This is a solid approach, for you remain in the system and benefit from the positive aspects of change, while maintaining your identity and enjoyment of life.
The other positive alternatives are to become a change-agent by involving yourself in promoting changes that need to be made. Or you can choose new words to think about change.
Instead of bristling over changes, think of them as adaptations or adjustments to your trip.
Some changes move you closer to your goal; others do not. Sometimes the best laid plans take you down a blind alley. At a dead end, adjustments and adjusters are required to get back on the main road. Changes are often changes in the route taken to the destination, but the destination is still the same. Embrace the destination and journey.
Give change a chance; it just might be a newly discovered blessing for you.
Listen to the advice of Benjamin Franklin: “When you are finished changing … you are finished.” Change is a part of life; to be alive is to be changing. When you are finished adjusting and changing, you are probably already dead.
God does not change, because God is perfect. We are continually changing, because we are imperfect, and need improving.
Paul, in Philippians 3, described changes occurring in his journey with Christ as losses and gains. He had lost many things as a result of following Christ, but he had gained even more. His goal was to change, to shed off the old and put on the new, to become more and more like Jesus each day.
Here is Paul’s advice in Philippians 3:12–14 (The Message): “I am not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
Lots of things change in our Christian life; indeed, everything changes, for at the heart of Christianity is that you and I must continually change.
We change to desire what Jesus wants; nothing more, nothing less. As we make becoming like Jesus our goal, all the secondary changes are merely buzzing mosquitoes on the journey.
Don’t let undesired changes keep you from God’s goal of your crossing the finish line and being with Christ in his Glory. Change can be good; keep your eye on Christ and the goal.