Sunday, July 22, 2007

Living Through Change

Change is not always expected or pleasant. Some changes like the sudden death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, the loss of financial security or, watching a love one slowly lose their physical and/or mental abilities are unpleasant and painful.

These are the changes that can make a person of faith question all that they believe. Of course, many people of faith do not want to admit that they ever have questions. In fact, one of my mother's favorite sayings is "you should never question God". So naturally most of life I felt guilty because I questioned everything, especially God.

Over the years, I have accepted that it is my nature to try to seek reason, meaning and purpose in life and in change. And this how I make peace with change.


Joy in the Journey: Being Content in Your Circumstances

by John Paul Jackson

Much is changing in the Body of Christ right now. I am sure that all of you have felt the strains, twists and tears of these changes.

It is very much a birthing process: There is pain, confusion, effort, frustration. We are feeling the agony; many of us are experiencing great uncertainty as we prepare for huge life changes. Once we leave the womb and are born into this new season, we cannot return to the old season, no matter how warm and welcoming we remember it being. What was safe before is not safe now. Depending on our circumstances and our approaching level of change, we can be terrified. At the very least, we can be horrifically overwhelmed.

In this process, if we are not anchored to God and what He’s told us, we could be swept away by the torrent and lose faith that God is in control, that He is looking out for us.

The Importance of Living in Your Change

This is why it is important for us to truly embrace these changing times. It is here in transitional states, when we have no clue, no savings account and nothing to fall back on, that we grow in Him in leaps and bounds, more than we might have been able to grow in the past 10 years. As you’ve probably heard before, the night is the darkest just before the dawn. We usually learn more from 10 days of agony than 10 years of contentment.

So it is important to actually experience change. How does it feel? Why does it feel like that? For a moment, ignore the dark, and figure out what is actually good about the situation you’re in. Make a list. Write it down. Increase your faith and hold on, because change is coming, and if you do not lose your faith, you will emerge victorious and resplendent on the other side. When God changes His children and their life perceptions, He will always bring them promotion, financial increase, deeper relationships and/or an abiding peace that all is well in His hand.

Contentment in All Circumstances

Paul instructed us to be content in whatever circumstances we found ourselves in (Philippians 4:11–13). This isn’t restricted to just being peaceful when you’re broke or not complaining when you’re sick; it’s true of right now. When was the last time you took a moment to realize your happiness? If you cannot find one thing to be happy about in your life right now, I’d venture to say that the problem’s with you and not because your circumstances are so dire.

If we get caught up in always looking forward to what’s coming, we’ll see a lot of the skyline but miss the many miracles and beautiful things that are happening in our lives right now. Life truly is beautiful, even in the dark.

At the end of my life, I’d like to be able to look back and say that I’ve loved this journey. That it was worth it. That I remember the details, the little nooks and crannies that made it an adventure. That I remember what it smelled like, tasted like, felt like and how it handled. This is what it means to be content in your circumstances.

We normally don’t realize how much we’re missing until we’ve successfully navigated our change. All of a sudden, the change has happened; it’s over, and we’re left with the difference. I don’t know about you, but I want to be left with satisfaction, too. I want to be left with the details and the reasons and the overwhelming awareness of God’s hand in the small things. I want to know His presence in the whispers and His laughter in the midst of the storms. This is what happens when we embrace change and don’t just try to survive it.

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