Coping with Change

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:2) NIV

I admit, I was shaken 12 years ago when I turned on the TV on Sept. 11. I remember asking myself, “How are we ever going to feel normal again?”

Twelve years later, we all have lived through the results of September 11. Travel changed, security changed, how we look at the Middle East changed, politics have changed, wars have changed and our awareness of terrorism has changed.  Our world has changed.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10,11) NIV

My world is constantly changing, and coping with change can be a challenge. There are certain changes I love. I love changing my hair. I love changing my style, the color of my nails, I love changing up a room, but I don’t necessarily like the changes that shake my foundation and are out of my control!

Today, as I was filling out applications for three separate travel visas to east African countries for this fall, it dawned on me that I live a constant life of change.

(Visas – I am not referring to those little plastic cards used to purchase items. Travel visas are stamps you need in your passport that give you permission to enter certain countries).

Steve and I sat down at dinner last night to discuss the fall schedule like usual. My future involves trips to Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Colorado and California all between now and mid-November. Steve’s future involves Canada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Minnesota… all before mid November. Crazy? Right?

We have a constant change of schedule coming our way, and while I kind of like that about my job, it dawned on me that when I come home from all these trips, I want things stable, normal and unchanged.

Julia moving off to college is a big change, because for 18 years now I haven’t known life without her. It’s a little scary. It’s now out of my control, so my home is about to change whether I like it or not.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18: 2) NIV

When I look at these scriptures, I am reminded that life around us will constantly change, and we are in the middle of it all trying to navigate the changing highway of life.

Approaching a big change in life is always intimidating. There are all sorts of emotions that can be associated with change; sometimes it’s excitement, fear, sadness or dread.  Sometimes I just want to hide under a rock and not deal with the change at all.

It seems like with change I can respond in several different ways. I fight it, fear it, deny it or embrace it.

If I fight it, I often find myself in conflict with myself, and sometimes with others. I guess the final question I have to ask myself if I am going to fight change is, “Is it worth the fight?” “What is wisdom saying?”

If I fear change, I need to look at the reasons why. I see a lot of people fear change simply because it’s different than what they know. Possibly the change is the one thing that will help us learn we can trust God.

If I deny it, I am just being ridiculous. I admit, I have responded this way to try thinking everything is all good and it’s not affecting me, only to find myself in a mess of emotion after the change has already taken place.

Or I can embrace it. I realize there are some changes I do need to battle through. I need to ask hard questions and be resistant, so that wisdom is used. However, when wisdom dictates change is good, I need to go with wisdom and let God lead the way.

As hard as it is to see my daughter go off to college, wisdom says it’s time, and though I am sad and will have many changes in our home, I look forward to how God will work it out. Julia has the chance to see how God is the rock of her salvation and I have a chance to trust Him with her, with my travel, and with the new family dynamics.

I will not deny that change is hard, but I am grateful that I have a rock to stand on.

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Sandra Jones Counseling

Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy

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