Question: I prefer stability and routine to big changes and drama, but the latter seem inevitable. That’s unsettling. How can I learn to handle changing circumstances so they don’t rock my world so much?
Answer: You’re right; change is inevitable. In fact, life is a never-ending series of twists and turns. Growing up takes about 20 years; growing into the person God wants you to be takes a lifetime. Helping our children through their growing pains changes us nearly as much as it does them. When those dearest to us go through upheavals, it affects us too. Relationships at every level evolve continually. Big-picture issues—the economy, politics, the environment—affect us. We can’t escape changes, but we can learn to work through them. Here are some tips:
Identify the issues. Separate the aspects you have some control over from those you don’t, and commit all aspects to God, who is ultimately in control of everything.
Understand the issues. Differentiate between the practical aspects and the emotional, and deal with each accordingly. Together they may seem overwhelming, but individually they are more manageable.
Keep an open mind. What you’ve been doing or the way you’ve been operating may have worked reasonably well so far, but there may be better alternatives.
Enlist God’s help. Circumstances may overwhelm you, but God cannot be overwhelmed. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”1
Stay positive. Focus on the opportunities, not the obstacles.
Find and give support. Chances are, you’re not the only one involved. Communicate and find ways to make things work out to everyone’s advantage.
Be patient. Progress is often a three-step process—one step back and two steps forward.
Think long-term. “He [God] who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”2
A prayer for times of change
Heavenly Father, Your creation is in constant movement—seasons and cycles in perpetual motion. Help me to flow with life’s seasons, to not be afraid to let go of my comfortable habits and routines in order to discover new things. Instead of holing up in the security of the familiar, help me to be willing to venture out to learn new things. Help me to not stagnate, but to progress and continue to grow. Most of all, help me to change in the ways You want me to change, so I can become all You know I can be.
- Matthew 19:26
- Philippians 1:6