There are only a few words that are so powerful; my meager mind cannot comprehend the vastness of their meanings. When we think of such words we often think of the names of God, we think of salvation, we think of things like marriage or family, but what about the word Life? Life is extremely powerful because it has been given whether it has been received or rejected. Life is the very breath of God. Life cannot be undone. Life is always changing and it is impossible to have any kind of “new beginning” in life without an element of transition. Please don’t misunderstand; these thoughts are not about the science of creation, but more about our life journey.
It is these changes in life that I find many people have difficulty adjusting to. These changes could be anything from the death of a loved one, a new house, financial freedom, it could be a move from one place to another, it could be the lose of a job, another person’s unpredictable actions, children leaving home, illness, or even the transition into or out of ministry. In life we will deal with change whether we want to or not and the question is can we adapt to change or not? Change is always immanent! Everything is in motion around us constantly evolving and reacting, which leads to life transitions, positive or negative events and things simply outside the realm of our control.
When I meet with people in the midst of transition, I want to help them develop healthy habits that improve their adaptability. The single most important aspect of being adaptable is a person’s perspective. Often times we may be stuck in thinking how difficult life appears or feels, but this is only our perception, not reality. It cannot be articulated enough that we only live with perceptions of life events, not the actual facts of those events. Another important note on this point is that our perceptions are a choice. Not one person or thing made you chose to think the way that you do. I cannot count how many times I have heard individuals say, “this is just who I am!” If that were the case, that people cannot think differently, then what would be the point of ministry? Helping other’s to adjust their thinking and behaving to be more in tune with God’s will versus our own.
- Think on the positive side of things.
- Focus on what you can do instead of what you are not getting.
- Remember that God is the Creator of all God things and even in the pruning it is preparing us for new growth.
- Remember Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Another key component to becoming adaptable to change is the fine art of getting out of our own way. We often carry with us expectations that we place on ourselves, other people, ministries, employers, etc. When we carry expectations for others and situations we will always be faced with disappointment because we cannot control circumstances or other people. Many individuals who have experienced deep relationship hurts in their pasts carry expectations of others, such as a to-do list for their spouse or that their kids will respond appropriately to being disciplined. Do you expect that there will be no pain in life or that transition will be easy?
- Remember the only thing that we can control is ourselves, not another person’s responses or reactions to us.
- Genuinely share yourself with others; your thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs.
- Respond effectively and appropriately to others instead of reacting.
- Let Go!
Lastly, “letting go” is an important piece to adapting to life transitions because if we don’t work to let go of our hurts, unhealthy attachments, idols, or expectations to name a few, we will feel stuck in a place that we will not enjoy! “Letting go” prevents enabling the people who we love, “letting go” helps us change our destructive perspective, “letting go” leads us to forgiveness, “letting go” eliminates the compulsion to project the image that we are a perfect Christian. I want to encourage you today to consider the life journey you are on and consider the suggestions offered to help you through the transitions in life.
In this time of change, help me to be patient, God.
Let me not run ahead of you and your plans.
Give me courage to do only what is before me,
And to keep my focus on my responsibilities.
I am tempted to daydream about the future:
However, the future is in your hands.
Thus may I be close to you in all my thoughts,
Accomplish the task before me today,
And do it with all my heart.
The Winners Manual ~ Jim Tressel
Respectfully submitted by
Jonathan D. Durst, MA, NCC, LMHC
If you would like to contact me for more information, please call me at 315.652.0000 or email.