Grabbing onto change


Some thrive on change, others don’t

There are those who thrive on change. There are those who, with difficulty, make their way through change. Then there are people like me who find change daunting. Especially change over which I’ve little control. Now I’m not talking about silly changes, like the plastic container being packed on the left of the cupboard instead of the right. I’m talking about changes that break the rhythm of daily living. Changes that are emotionally devastating. Change that brings me to an abrupt stop.

  • A motor car accident resulting in serious injury
  • a young mom-to-be who has a miscarriage
  • the unexpected news of a terminal illness
  • a hi-jacking
  • the loss of a job
  • bankruptcy in a business
  • death

What about change that threatens my comfort zone?

And what about change that is not supposed to be painful and yet threatens my comfort zone anyway—things like moving to a new home, a marriage, a change in career or an extended surprise holiday?

When I have time to anticipate change, and can plan ahead, make my lists, adjust to the change and see opportunities in change, I do okay. When I’m in control and managing change I’m also in great danger. My pragmatism and self-sufficiency leave little place for me to rely on God.

But crisis-proportion change can be devastating.

  • Do I let fear overcome me?
  • Will I remain paralyzed by the feelings of injustice that rise up in me?
  • Will anxiety and confusion rule my emotions?
  • Will I resist the change, and in so doing cause even more damage?
  • Will my choice be resentment , a raising of my fist and shouting angrily at whoever?

Although I often feel taken unawares by the sudden switch in the direction caused by change, I’ve come to know this … God knows. He was not caught unawares by this catastrophe.

That’s when I have to choose:

  • Choose to react from my own perspective and limited knowledge of the present and future.
  • Or act on what I know about God and His ways.

David gives some wonderful advice in the Psalms

In the middle of those heart wrenching moments of change when I have been stopped by my fear or anxiety or confusion—I discover that there are those like David who have recorded their thinking for me to follow, a quick response to adapt to change . . .

God knows my frame and remembers that we were made from dust.

For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. – Psalm 103:14

So I rest in the knowledge that He is aware of how much I can bear when confronted with change.

Then, along with David, I remind myself that God brings great benefits. He forgives, heals, redeems, satisfies and renews those who trust in Him.

Let all that I am praise the Lordmay I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.

He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! – Psalm 103:2-5

I realise that God doesn’t deal with us according to our sins, with the punishment we deserve. He shows us His steadfast, infinite love and mercy. That is breathtaking in its wonder.

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. – Psalm 103:11-13

Then the quiet confidence of God’s sovereignty as He rules over all comforts me.

The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything. – Psalm 103:19

Even in the middle of the turmoil, I can join in with David and say: Bless the Lord , O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name! – Psalm 103:1

Shann de Smidt

Shann lives with her husband on a smallholding outside of Pretoria. She teaches four and five year olds and is the principal of a school in Pretoria. She has written articles for newspapers and had school textbooks published but recent writing has been school newsletters! Spending time with children and grandchildren, growing cymbidiums, reading, studying and creating unique jewelry fill spare moments.

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