Ever noticed that we don’t grow without change? The very concept of growth denotes change – a change in shape, size, function or status. In our relationship with God, He desires that we grow and mature in our faith. That requires change. One of the ways that God grows us, and one of the areas of our life that changes often, is relationship with other people.
Sometimes, we get to be friends with someone for awhile and then the relationship starts to cool off, and eventually dies off. Other times, we grow to be very close friends, but then one or the other moves away, thereby changing the dynamic of the friendship. Sadly, sometimes the relationship ends because one or the other person dies. Maybe it’s a work relationship that changes through promotion, or because someone simply feels led to move on to another opportunity. Perhaps marriage or divorce changes the status of a significant relationship in your life.
Whatever the nature of the change, we have a tendency to not want the change. We like the status quo. We know what to expect. We’re comfortable with it. And, we tend to feel secure in it. Change disrupts all of that, and I, for one, am not always a fan.
But, our desire to hold on to the people we know and love in life can limit our growth. We are often blind to seeing when we have outgrown a relationship. In fact, we can be so blinded to it that when the relationship starts to change, we begin thinking there’s something wrong with us. We’re so accustomed to the status quo, and so enamored with it, that we immediately assume change indicates something bad. I’ve experienced this particular dynamic twice in recent years, and both times, I started questioning myself and beating myself up because I felt as though I was turning into a “bad” friend. Over time, though, God began whispering to me that I wasn’t to blame. There wasn’t anything wrong. I simply had outgrown the relationship and it was time for something new.
The Bible says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. But then, He’s God and He doesn’t need to mature or grow. We, on the other hand, are a different story. We require changing circumstances and relationships in order to continue stretching and growing in our faith walk. There’s a quote that says, “A mind, once stretched, never returns to its original shape.” I believe that’s true of our faith, as well. Each time we are challenged to trust God for a little more, we don’t return to our former level of faith. Every time we are dependent upon God to a greater degree, we don’t tend to return to our previous independence. Similarly, I believe that as we grow in our faith, God leads us into deeper and more complex relationships that require more of us, whether it’s more faith, more trust, more dependence, more humility, or more surrender.
Look at Jesus’ relationship with His disciples. He was with them for three years, but then it was time for Him to fulfill His mission here. It was time for Him to leave them, in a physical sense. The nature of His relationship with them was about to radically change. They didn’t understand it, and they certainly weren’t happy about it when it all went down. But, look at what happened next. God sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to dwell within them. Their relationship with God changed dramatically, and in the process their faith grew just as dramatically.
As Christ-followers, let’s embrace a more fearless attitude when it comes to change, especially changes in our relationships. Let’s pray for a more willing spirit when change comes, and boldly ask for the “grace to embrace” those changes.
Here’s 5 Ways To Embrace Change:
Understand that change is needed in order to grow. There’s an old saying “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting.” I believe this!
Believe that even if things don’t go the way you hoped, God has something better!
Realize that a closed door does not necessarily mean a locked door. If it’s meant to be, it will be!
Pray for understanding. Sometimes changes can serve as a wake up call or caution sign of some sort. What is God trying to tell you?
Hope for the best!