Is this a year of change or transformation for you?
Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me..." (Mt 28:18)
You're not as a big a fan of change as you think you are.
I used to think I was a lover of change. The truth is, I now realize I love change that I can control - which when you think about a typical week, is not as much as you might assume.
In a year of major world events - including our bushfires closer to home, and then the global pandemic - change has been thrust upon us, and it's been change none of us have had much control over.
There are many reasons why we resist change. Here's a few from a helpful Harvard Business Review article worth reading if you're interested. We resist change:
When it implies a loss of our personal agency.
When it implies increasing future uncertainty.
When it comes upon us suddenly.
When it throws our patterns of life out of whack.
The list goes on, but I have experienced each of these states this year, and I'm sure you have too. But we haven't been able to choose this global change, so we've just had to accept it, right?
Change versus transition
I've got some good resources of change that I am drawing upon for these posts. An important point to first understand in any context of effective change is the difference between change and transition:
"Change is the new situation we are trying to create [a new job, a new relationship, a new pattern of behaviour, a new way of life in the world]. Transition is the psychological process [we] have to go through to reach or create the new situation. If you want to change jobs then the change is the nature of the new job. The transition starts long before the change and continues long after you have begun the new job." [p.90, The L Factor, Ian Jagelman]
To put this all into the context of the year 2020. We've experienced a totally new set of situations thrust upon us since COVID-19 went global, but with limited to no time to transition into the new situation to start with. This is why:
You may have experienced heightened and non-specific anxiety early in COVID-19 developing.
You may have gotten deeply frustrated with situations, people, or processes you otherwise did not prior to COVID-19.
You may have experienced feelings similar to mourning, grief, loss and despair at points throughout this whole time.
You may have experienced a heightened sense of stress in an area of personal vulnerability during this time - a predisposition to worry is aggravated, or anxiety, or nervousness, etc.
This is the psychological lag of having change forced upon us we had no chance to get ready for. Give yourself permission to feel these psychological states. Name them - they are, in part at least, the result of having change forced upon you without the time to psychologically adjust. But we're not going to get stuck in these states.
You've hopefully steadied the ship over the last few months. But the truth of it is, no matter if you have or haven't, we're going to be experiencing more changes in the coming months and years ahead, the scale of which is unknown.
So how do we do this year of significant change well and not get stuck?
Together. With God. And His wisdom.
Together - I may have given you cause for a little relief in acknowledging the impacts of this year upon me. That's because we need to realize - we're not the only ones struggling with things. If you haven't already, get on the phone, this week, and talk out what's been hard in this time with a trusted friend. Better yet, book them in for a coffee and talk things over.
With God - It was Jesus who said, "All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18) in one of His final resurrection appearances before returning to heaven. God is in charge right now with full authority - and He is for us. This is reason for comfort, for praise, and for seeking His guidance through prayer and reading His word. God has got this year, and we're with Him.
And His wisdom - God's word and God's world are full of wisdom to shed light on these challenging times. We're going to seek out His wisdom together over the coming few weeks.
Study change in the bible
Over the coming weeks, we're going to unpack the change that God brought about in and through Israel - from being a slave people in Egypt to being a free people in the Promised Land. God is the great leader of change, but He makes it about more than change for change sake. God is about our transformation. From something lesser, to something greater. From something we were not, to something we never thought we could be.
Over the next few weeks, we're going to see how we can become more of who He calls us to be, led by Him, rather than get stuck or left behind in this season.
Let's together, with God, find His wisdom to become more of who we're destined to be in a world that has changed, is changing, and will continue to change - global pandemic or not.