Ready for change?

How well do you deal with change? I have always enjoyed thinking I am pretty progressive; that I like and advocate for change. I readily see and fairly analyze the way things are and often think of ways they might be tweaked or radically altered. Change is good, I often say.

Churches are notoriously difficult to change. There is a perennial joke among church leaders about the dreaded phrase “but we’ve never done it that way before.” Fancying myself a change agent, I take such an attitude as a challenge.

A couple of years ago I was confronted with this truth about change: everything that is “standard practice” now was at some point in history a new idea that at that time went against the status quo. Every new idea, every suggestion for change meets resistance; some win out, others fall by the wayside.

In the past couple of years I have also been confronted with the truth that I am not nearly so freely open to change as I would like to think. The change I am open to is the change I come up with. Change that is someone else’s idea, or that is a matter of circumstance is change I don’t always deal so well with.

The truth is, though, that all of us find comfort in stability, and all of us, to various extents, resist change. I think I find some comfort in the stability of change in which I have a role, and less in change that is beyond my control.

God invites us all to realize that much of our lives are, and always will be, beyond our control. No matter what we do, we are not and will never be in control of enough to provide us enough stability. Since there is nothing else on which we can rely, the status quo or change to our liking, we can find peace and hope in knowing that no matter what, we can rely on God.

8 thoughts on “Ready for change?

  1. I have always thought of change as a necessary agent for a vital physical and spiritual life. While there is great comfort in tradition and pattern there is amazing synergy that comes with a fresh perspective, whether that change affects our personal or corporate lives. Of course I would not advocate “change for the sake of change” either. As for Christian community – would it be helpful if we began all of our ministry team meetings/committees with a simple question about “why we do what we currently do”? I believe we would hear a resounding, “I don’t know…that’s just what’s always been done ’round here!” Then after everyone chuckles for a moment we could move forward with the fresh wind of the Spirit’s prompting. Who knows – maybe the mainline stats would reflect something other than decline in 2007?

    Hmm…I just read back over my musings and it sounds like I’m the progressive queen! Ha Ha Ha…But have no fear, I have my comfort zones and pacifiers too. I just don’t want to get so comfortable that I miss something new and wonderful that God is doing around the world…and I trust God is quite busy.

  2. The change I am open to is the change I come up with.

    A decade ago I recognized the very same in my own life and I committed to changing it. I looked at the common elements in people and institutions as they aged, and in the least happy or successful, I saw an inflexibility and an unwillingness to adopt and adapt to change. I wanted my life to be more expansive and inclusive, so I let go, and let God. Easy to say, more difficult to do, but over time, it took root. So clearly I agree with you:: no matter what, we can rely on God. That selfsame principle guides so much, so well, not the least of which is the Twelve Steps, and its simple expression as found in the Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I know of no other example that so aptly expresses the power of change and surrender through one’s Higher Power (whom I call God).

    I enjoy and value your candid, thoughtful writing. Thank you for being here.

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