As we trek through each day, we need to understand that we will never be in this exact same situation with these conditions. We need to make the most of every moment and never lose this opportunity.
As the Quaker Missionary Etienne de Grellet put it, “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” These are certainly some powerful thoughts to ponder as we start today.
“Change is the only constant in life” is a quote that is attributed to pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus around 500BC. The same philosopher illustrated the point about change being ever present by saying “No man ever steps into the same river twice.” An ever flowing river is there and even has a name, yet the water in it keeps changing so that from one second to the next it is really a different river.
As I reflect on the times I am able to invest with my dad as he ages, I remember that throughout my parents’ lives, although they would have liked things to stay the same, they embraced the changes in life. It just brought to my mind how my mom wanted to drive positive change in local public education, so she ran for and was elected to the school board for several terms. Another example was when Mom was in her late fifties, and she trained and became an EMT for the local rescue squad after she felt helpless when an elderly friend died when she was with him. Dad was always learning and changing in his work away from the farm, and he was constantly looking for ways to grow apples better while maintaining the conviction to grow them organically.
I believe observing their lives was an example to welcome and even embrace change. As I consider why it is relatively easy for me to accept change, I ask myself why people are so afraid and so resistant to inevitable changes in their lives.
We expect the night to change to day, seasons to change, and children to grow taller. We expect to grow older, to watch children marry, to retire from our jobs, and to play with our grandchildren.
We all face changes every day whether it is a simple change of the weather, our schedule, or food choices each day. We each deal with change in a different way, and change affects us each differently as well. For the most part, we are generally left to deal with the daily ebb and flow of life and are contented with the small changes we see and make every day.
However, sometimes there is a change that jumps out of nowhere and totally shakes us to the core. These can be job changes, marriage, illness, the birth of a child, a recent empty nest, or even something as major as the death of a loved one – all of which have a different magnitude of how they impact your life. No matter the change we experience, how we embrace that change will forever impact how we are able to live with the change.
Just as my parents were the catalyst for accepting change in my life, as adults we need to model ways of handling change that will be absorbed by the children and youth around us. When we shape or adapt our own problem-solving behaviors and coping strategies, we show others how being flexible and adaptive is a positive approach to getting through a life-changing event.
“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.”
You might consider the following questions to help you discover the skills to help with when you are faced with major changes:
- 1.) What is your usual emotional reaction to a big change in your life? Does it overwhelm you; do you tend to withdraw from others, or do you become a social butterfly?
- 2.) What personal values and beliefs will sustain you through a crisis? Does a huge change shake your faith or make it stronger?
- 3.) What coping strategies do you have to help you manage unexpected life changes? Have you considered how you would handle major changes?
- 4.)What new skills can help in the future? Are you willing to learn from your own past experiences and the experiences of others?
If you have planned in advance when you are going through change, then you find different ways to handle and embrace change. Personally, I turn to my faith and find an inner strength with which the Lord has grace me. I turn to His Word for comfort and peace. But no matter where you turn or how you cope with change, you must find a way to deal with the changes in life.
Consider first that not all change is bad. In fact, all change can bring some positive results. You need to look for the positives despite seemingly negative consequences from change.
Having a positive outlook will totally change your perspective. Life is what you make it, and change is no different! In fact, the only thing we can count on in life is that change will be constant! This is a very disconcerting revelation for people that consider themselves resistant to change!
It is not difficult to forget that life will always be changing. We face something new every moment of the day! We need to embrace the changes that life has in store for us. We just have to always keep in mind that life truly is what we make of it.
The reason that we can remain strong and embrace all change is that we know and understand that He who created the world knows our future, and He does not change. So, we do not need to fear it.
Our lives may be filled with change, but as Jesus’s half brother James wrote in James 1:16-18, “So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”