How to Embrace Challenges of Change
The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, once said, “Go with the flow.” Actually, he is quoted as saying, “No man ever steps into the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
He was known by his contemporaries as the “dark” philosopher because they considered his writings hard to understand. But his statement about all being in flux gets straight to the point. Change is a given, a reality we all face.
Change Just Happens
The concept of change is simple to comprehend. Things become different than they were before. We get older every second as our physical body changes in some way. We become a different person mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually as we experience life and the world around us. Change happens. Ironically, change is something we can’t change.
Face your fears about what might happen.
We can usually adapt to minor changes in our lives without difficulty. When significant changes are coming or have already arrived, they can be hard to adapt to and accept. Getting married, having children, moving into a new house, starting a new job, landing a big project are all positive. Experiencing a divorce, losing a loved one, being laid off, losing a major client, are negative changes.
Regardless of a change being positive or negative, adjusting to the new realities can be challenging.
Two Approaches to Change
There are two ways we can approach change. We can accept and adapt to it, moving on, or we can fail to adapt to it, and even fight it.
Positive changes are easier to accept and embrace the challenges. If they are unexpected, it’s time to be thankful. If they are expected, there is a sense of anticipation. If we are involved in implementing the change, we are energized, even anxious, to “make things happen.”
When negative changes occur, it’s easy for us to dwell on undesirable things that happened or could happen.
Suggestions to Help You Adapt
Here are suggestions to help you maintain peace of mind and soul.
Instead of dwelling on the negative, identify the positives and accentuate them, keeping in mind they may be hard to find. Seek opportunities and take advantage of them.
If you’re involved in implementing the change, be patient with yourself and those around you. Change, even what you perceive to be negative change, is usually a process.
Face your fears about what might happen. Don’t let them paralyze you and keep you from acting. Question your worries. Don’t accept them at face value.
Change your perspective, looking at the challenges from different angles. Try God’s perspective. Ask yourself how you’ll view the changes five or ten years from now.
Seek support if you need it. Don’t face the challenges alone. Your first source of support should always be God.
Even though Heraclitus didn’t say it, go with the flow when you have no control over the change. With this attitude, and reliance on the Lord, a God who does not change, you’ll gain a sense of freedom as you accept and embrace change.
Listen to God's Words
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
Also read: Malachi 3:6, Ephesians 4:22-24, Hebrews 13:8
In the Words of Others
“Enjoying success requires the ability to adapt. Only by being open to change will you have a true opportunity to get the most from your talent.” Nolan Ryan
“Oftentimes God demonstrates his faithfulness in adversity by providing for us whatever we need to survive. He does not change our painful circumstances. He sustains us through them.” Charles F. Stanley
Think About It
Recall a positive major change you experienced. How did you adapt and embrace it? What could you have done differently?
Consider two major negative changes that occurred. How did you adapt? Did you embrace and benefit from them? How?
What role did God play in your responses to change? Could you have used his support in a different way? If so, explain.