Aren’t you glad your parents believed in change? Every time someone said, “That kid needs a diaper changed” one of your parents agreed and did the dirty deed. Not once did they say, “Sorry. We’ve decided to leave the diaper alone because we don’t believe in change.”
By the time you’ve traveled 6 decades on planet earth you marvel at the changes you’ve seen. People over 60 have seen significant changes.
- We remember life before the internet. Back in those days you went to the library to do research. Now all you do is ask Siri.
- We remember what it’s like to be alone and disconnected. Now, thanks to our cell phones, we are ALWAYS connected and available.
- We remember when our country embraced the phrases “Christian nation” and “one nation under God.” But our nation is becoming hostile to such ideas.
- We remember rarely locking our doors at night before we went to bed. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt comfortable leaving my doors unlocked at the end of the day.
Bob Dylan has never been more right: “The times they are a-changing.” Changes are fast, dramatic, and inevitable. Like it or not change is coming. The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus was right when he said, “You can never step into the same river twice.”
So you and I have a choice to make. We must figure out what to do with change. Are you going to get ugly about it? Or are you going to make the best of it?
Here’s 5 tips on how to embrace change in these changing times.
1. Accept the fact of change.
Kicking and screaming in the face of change doesn’t stop change. Ignoring it will not make it go away. Pretending life isn’t changing does no good. Denial regarding change is not helpful. Denying change is like standing on a train track and saying “there is no train coming toward me” as it gets closer and closer.
2. Take a tip from the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and learn to accept what you cannot change.
There are circumstances which come into every life which we cannot change. The doctor’s diagnosis will not go away because we refuse to accept it. Once you have embraced a change over which you have no control you can at least begin to deal with it.
3. You cannot control many of the changes in your life but you can control your response.
Some changes are neither good or bad. What makes them good or bad is how you respond. Do you remember when churches started projecting words to songs up on the wall? Some church folk copped a snarly attitude and refused to look up on the wall as they sang praises to God. Others loved the idea of singing with a face lifted to the heavens instead of buried in a hymnal. Your response to change is critical.
4. In most changes you will find opportunity.
If your company downsizes and you lose your job you have an opportunity to find a better one. Many churches are getting smaller but this opens the door for increased intimacy. Social media encroaches into our lives but we can use it to encourage others. Society is becoming hostile to Christians but it provides a stage upon which Christians can display love. Look for opportunity in the changes you encounter.
5. You have the power to proactively make your own change.
There is no need to be only a passive recipient of change. Go out and become a change agent. Decide to make a difference. Go and stir things up. What do YOU think needs to be changed? How can YOU change the world to make it a better place? You have the power to make positive changes.