I have been thinking about change a lot lately. I know that change is hard. There are a few people that really enjoy and react to change well.
Over the last year I have had many changes in my life. Almost one year ago I announced to my congregation in Baldwinsville, NY that I was leaving. I felt a call to a new congregation in Gardner, MA. Throughout the year I have gotten to know new people, a new area, a new church. My kids have attended a new school, made new friends. It has been a great but hard year, because of the amount of change.
However, change is important. I recently read a quote by Mandy Hale that saidChange is painful. But not as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don't belong. Click To Tweet
One of my favorite jokes is about change!
How many Lutherans does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: “Thirteen, one to change the bulb, and twelve others to talk about how they miss the old one” or (my favorite) “We are to fear and love God that we cannot by our own effort or understanding comprehend the replacement of an electromagnetic photon source. It is, rather by faith, NOT by our efforts that we truly see, and that our own works cannot fully justify us in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Of course, it is still dark.”
The reality is we need to change, we need to change to improve on what we are already doing in life so we can live our best life. I have found there are five reasons we don’t want to change.
1. There is no sense of urgency. We underestimate how hard it is to drive people out of their comfort zones. If things are going “well” or “well enough” then the idea of change seems worthless. For example, if there is money in the bank, and generally we are content then there is no urgency to change. However, if money runs out, or if our families become unhappy then we feel a greater sense of urgency and we will change.
2. We are afraid. We are afraid of taking risks. To move from the known to the unknown is a scary thing. If we have an idea of the outcome, even if it is going to be hard, we can deal with that. But the unknown scares me. There are times when the grass seems greener on the other side, but there are also times when we don’t want to take the next step because we are afraid that things could get worse.
3. If it ain’t broke. If things are going well, why change? Things seem to be going okay, why upset our families? These were some of the things I was thinking when I was thinking about moving from New York to Massachusetts. Things were going well, I liked where we were living, I loved my church, we had friends. But there was a deeper sense of call that I had to explore. Even when things seem to be going well, it is important to look at and explore change in our lives because the other end could be so much greater.
4. We don’t have time. Our lives are going in so many directions. We feel pulled by our work, family, friends and personal interests. There is little time to rest and get everything we need to accomplish done. Thinking about adding onto our daily lives to make change seems overwhelming. However, we need to make time in order to improve our lives and the life of our families. Once we make time we can see that it is not as scary as we once thought and we do have time to make some positive change.
5. We don’t have a vision. In order to make change we need to know where we are going and why. We need to have a vision. This means thinking about our future and where we want to go and then figure out how to get there. I have often used a vision board to help see our hope and dreams for the future. I would find things that I want to do, accomplish or have and I put it on a vision board to keep my vision ahead of me.
To make the right change takes time, planning and patience. Successful change will not happen overnight, however if done right you will be grateful for the change.
I have been thankful for the change in my life and I know my family is better for it. But that doesn’t mean we can be content with the changes we have already made. We continue to evaluate where we are at and we are making necessary changes to live a better, fulfilled life.