Change… oh, doesn’t it get to us?!
Yesterday I received a response to my tips of how not to negotiate change that is really significant: “What if the change ISN’T good? What if it is damaging and sinful? I know I’m supposed to leave it up to God, but what does He want me to do?”
There are a few pieces to this puzzle. I’m going to start with the “damaging and sinful” change piece first.
There’s a corny phrase that when God closes a door he always opens a window. I laugh about it because it’s so cliché and over used – yet it’s really significant. If you are a believer with a desire to do God’s will, He will not lead you into a place where the only way out is through a damaging or sinful change. Period.
For example, say you’re thousands of dollars in debt. God will not lead you to a place where stripping is the only option you have to get out of debt. He will orchestrate events for a job opening or allow people to assist you through His prompting.
If you feel like you’re in a spot where the only choices you have are leading you away from the principles of Godly living you need to stop in your tracks and reassess. There will always be another option – you may not like it and it may be hard or require sacrifice but there is always a Godly option.
First, pray. Pray that God will reveal His will in your life. Actively seek Him by reading the Bible. There are tons of topical Bible studies available – I use youversion.com for my personal studying these days because I can do it on my smart phone and it’s free (my favorite price!).
Second, consult. Use those three outside opinions from your wise advisors. Even if you don’t like what they say, listen. Choose people as your advisors you admire, not your best friend. Choose people from different age decades than what you are in. My wisest advisors are senior citizens and those older than me – they’ve lived more life and have a lot of creativity! They also aren’t as influenced by the selfishness rampant in my own generational culture.
Three, wait. Sometimes God’s will is accomplished in a heartbeat, sometimes over the course of years. Many times, however, we try to push God’s hand and force a response out of our own impatience. If you aren’t clear on which way to go or you haven’t been released from your current situation… wait.
The other question was “what if the change ISN’T good?”
I’m very faith-based in this post, but we know as Christians that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. All things. Not some things, all things.
One week ago today my mom went to the doctor because she wasn’t feeling well. They took her immediately to ICU at the hospital and installed a pacemaker – she’s the talk of the town because they’ve never had anyone come to the hospital in the shape she was in and walk out alive.
Now, if my mom had died a week ago, that would have been a very unwelcome change in my life. I can’t even begin to think of the ways my life would be void without her daily, vibrant influence. Her death would have been a change that WAS NOT GOOD from my perspective. This adventure is creating a domino affect of other changes I’m trying to figure out.
But here’s my confidence: I don’t need to see the whole plan. I don’t need to understand the rhyme or reason. Yes, I’m terrified of the future. But I know it will be ok. I just know it will. Because I am ready and willing to receive input and direction from God and He is working through these changes to position me in a place where I’m able to do the work He’s prepared for my hands to complete.
I approach the issue of change so much differently as a Christian that if someone isn’t a believer this philosophy probably sounds ridiculous! All I can say is this philosophy is true, it’s real, and it has never let me down, even in my darkest hours.
We know, scientifically, that things that do not change die. I’d rather be living, so I’ll accept the pain of change! I know as a Christian God can manipulate change to promote the growth we need to grow closer to Him. I believe He allows us the free will to choose the path we want to walk, and that some paths will lead us closer to Him and others farther away. His will is for us to be looking for opportunities to be a positive light in the world at all times.
So the answer to the third question: “What does He want me to do?” is a little bit easier: do what allows you to honor Him in your daily decisions and interactions.
My final thought is a quote from Priscilla Shirer that I hate and love all at the same time:
“When you face two options and each seems to please God, consider the one that displays God’s glory, power and strength. This makes room for God to reveal Himself to you and show Himself through you. Don’t be fearful about the hard road He may ask you to take… He desires to show Himself strong in you and will encourage you to do things that require trust and faith.”
That’s my two cents for today!