What Should We Do When Change is Unexpected?

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Leadership Lesson: Surrendering to change often IS surrendering to God.

Change is hard on MOST folks.

Even if you LIKE change, too much too quickly can still leave you unnerved and emotionally worn out.

Even so, change is unavoidable.

You may be in the midst of a change

  • In location
  • In way of life
  • In reputation
  • In plan
  • In financial situation
  • In marital status
  • In a broken heart

Of course, the ideal during change is to make the wisest decisions possible so that you can maximize its benefits and the momentum for you, your family, or your team.

This goal is made more difficult because:

Change is often unexpected.

The sense that we didn’t see the change coming can cause us to panic, fogging our discernment, robbing our stillness, and fuzzying our ability to maintain a sober perspective on the new situation.

Change can cloud wisdom.

The abruptness of change often increases stress in OTHER areas of life, augmenting the emotional toll we’re already experiencing (think how a change in pay can impact the amount of tension in a marriage). These increased stresses can be so hard that we can barely think clearly, much less know how to act wisely.

To top it all off, we often have limited time to respond once we discover change IS necessary. And usually, by this point, we’ve used up most of our time trying to NOT change. By the time we can no longer avoid it, we have much LESS time to make quality decisions.

You see the irony.

At the very time we MOST need to make wise decisions, we are LEAST likely to have the time or mental margin to do so.

What should we do when change is unexpected?

Start here (more to come in part 2):

Surrender to the FACT of change.

The tensions that come along with change can be unhealthy and even destructive unless we can see them within a spiritual context.

There is a God, and He is not us.

While God does not change, the universe He has built is EVER-changing. God has built times of transition into the way His universe works.  Think about how time-dependent God created you to be. You live in the context of:

  • Changing seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter
  • Changing seasons of life: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age, death

You live in a culture that is always changing within a world that is ever-changing. This is why, even though it is tempting, we should resist the impulse to decry change as “Bad.”

Change isn’t somehow inherently evil – it is a thing that God created which is HAPPENING (the same way the wind or the tide are not wicked – they are just HAPPENING).

Because God has built change into the very fabric of the universe He put us in, resisting is a little bit like the seashell trying to resist the ocean.

Dude. Change sounds pretty standard after all.

Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Don’t fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked? (Ecclesiastes 7:13 NLT96)

You can’t stop change, but you can control HOW you ride it.

Decide that this is going to be a change you do WITH God.

Here is some good news if you’re a Christian: Jesus is your joy, and Jesus isn’t changing.

Leadership Lesson: Surrendering to change often IS surrendering to God.

Where do you need to embrace a natural or sovereign transition with humility and graciousness?

Master of Time,

I often do not like change because I cling to the people, things, and securities of this world.  Give me power and perspective. Help me embrace that YOU use changes I would not prefer to conform me into the image of Your Son, and keep me moving toward my true home in heaven. Help Jesus Himself to by my highest joy, so that even if everything around me changes, my heart will remain joyous in Him.


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Posted on March 5, 2020

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Bible Leadership is a ministry of Fierce Church.

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