Jul 222015 2 Responses

Change: How to Handle an Unexpected Turn in Life

Tracey Lawrence sings, “The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes.” A prerequisite to experiencing satisfaction with life is learning how to deal with change. Unless we have the ability to endure change and to navigate it successfully, we will not live a meaningful life.

What are we to do when:

  • our job is downsized
  • we feel a lump in our breast
  • our marriage unexpectedly ends
  • the youngest child goes off to college
  • our parents show signs of dementia
  • our retirement disappears
  • one season of life is ending

Life is continually changing. For good and bad, change occurs and it requires that we adjust our lives to it.

Whenever I consider the nature of change, six foundational words put it in the proper context. When we live by these six words, we can handle change properly. (See: Why Are We Afraid of Change?)

You thrive in the midst of change when you understand what you Control, Humbly Accept your position, and Navigate it to the best of your ability with Gratitude and Excitement.

6 Foundational Words in Dealing with Change:

1. Control. We control a lot about our lives, but we do not control everything. Learning to differentiate between the two is vital. The things we control, we can change. If we do not like something, but it is under our control, we can make adjustments. However, many things are outside of our control. Whenever something occurs which we do not control, we must understand our inability. This frees us from unnecessary guilt or pressure. (See: How to Better Control Yourself)

2. Humility. Understanding our role in a situation is a byproduct of humility. Thinking too highly of ourselves or too lowly of ourselves are both a result of pride. In both, we are thinking of ourselves too much. Humility takes our focus off of us and puts it onto others. When we humble ourselves before God, we more easily embrace what is taking place in our lives.

3. Acceptance. Instead of living in denial, we must accept what is taking place in our lives. Many people struggle with change because they refuse to accept what is happening. They try to ignore a change in season or pretend it isn’t happening. They think if they don’t admit their marriage is struggling that things will just get better. Failing to accept what is happening causes us to get stuck. We don’t have to like what is taking place (i.e. a bad diagnosis) but we do have to accept the reality in which we are living (i.e. “I am sick and I must get help”). (See: Improv, Denial, and the Will of God)

4. Navigation. Once we accept what is happening, we are able to navigate it. Change requires action from us. We must, to the best of our ability, determine what is the right thing to do. By understanding what we do and do not control, humbly understanding our position, and accepting what is happening our lives, we can begin to engage with the new reality. To navigate properly, we need to seek wisdom, learn from experts, and make the best choices we can make. (See: The Secret to a Good Decision)

5. Gratitude. There is something powerful about someone who can still see the good even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Gratitude is not denying what is bad, it is acknowledging it without letting it tint everything in our lives. When we still have the ability to see the good even in the midst of the bad, it energizes us to keep going. Whenever we lose sight of everything positive, we quickly lose energy. Gratitude is what propels us forward even during trying times. (See: A Simple Way to Better Your Day)

6. Excitement. When gratitude defines our lives, we can interact with change with a sense of excitement. While we mourn what has been lost, we can anticipate good things that come with change. Especially whenever we trust God’s sovereign control over our lives, we know that He is at work in the midst of every change. Every time change occurs, I wonder, “What is God up to now?”

Change is never easy. Yet when we live by these six words, we are empowered in the midst of change rather than being paralyzed by it. Many things which happen in our lives are beyond our control, but just because we do not control those changes does not mean we are helpless whenever they come our way.

Understand what you do and do not Control. Humbly Accept the position you are in. Navigate it to the best of your ability with Gratitude and Excitement.

Know someone going through a transition? Send this to them and let them know you are praying for them.

For a sermon on the same topic, watch:

2 Responses to Change: How to Handle an Unexpected Turn in Life
  1. glendakuhn Reply

    Good points. Thanks, Kevin

  2. […] But you can change you. (See: This Is How You Change) […]... kevinathompson.com/change-your-marriage-today

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