Let’s face it, experiencing change is a natural part of life, but it can be downright uncomfortable. Whether we recognize it or not, change is a constant in our lives. It stays the same, even though the specifics may vary. Often the hardest changes to manage are those that are completely out of our control – mainly forced change. This type of change is caused by external events that are not self-initiated, and these changes usually come into our lives rather unexpectedly.
Many of us are currently experiencing forced change – whether you’re a student learning the ins and outs of remote learning or a business owner tackling a whole new business plan. One of the main reasons people have such a difficult time coping with forced change is because it generally hits us out of the blue. It sweeps us off our feet and engulfs us in a state of uneasiness and agitation. With our world in a constant perpetual motion, it can feel like a mighty challenge trying to adjust to an unforeseen change. If you’re finding it difficult to come to terms with a recent change in your life, today’s blog will explore four different ways that you can approach and cope with forced change. By taking control of your change, you will come out the other side with wisdom and knowledge from your new-found experience.
Advice for Dealing with Change
Acknowledge the Change
Change is inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any easier to embrace. I remember when I was a young boy, my mother would make me take code liver oil every morning. On most days, she would have to hold my nose and force the spoon into my mouth. It was not easy, but I was the one who had to make the decision to swallow it. I want you to think of swallowing forced change in the same way. In no way, shape, or form will it be easy. But you must acknowledge and accept it in order to move on. We must surrender to forced change to free ourselves from its negative effects.
You cannot begin to effectively deal with change until you have acknowledges it’s existence in your life. Regardless of the type of change you are experiencing, practice saying to yourself, “I believe I am wondrously made by god, and He has given me the capacity and the gifts to deal with this change correctly. He will help me take my personal growth to the next level.” Your happiness will grow in direct proportion to your acceptance of the situation. If you are numbing out change and actively avoiding it, your progress will be slim. You may even feel inclined to resist change – to ignore its effects and carry on in denial. You don’t want to be a snake dragging around its old skin. But if you accept the change for what is it and practice understanding, you will get through it.
Evaluate the Change
Take a minute out of your day to evaluate where you’re at and where you’re headed. You may need to ask yourself a few tough questions such as, is this change a result of living in an ever-evolving world or is it a result of my personal choices and behavior? We respond to everything that happens to us in life by asking questions. These questions can help you evaluate your situation, but your answers may not be black or white.
Many of the changes we are facing today are a direct result of the global pandemic we are experiencing. In this case, your change was probably brought on by external factors completely outside of your control. Job cutbacks, changes in the economy, and stay at home orders are all external pressures. If your mind is being flooded with open-ended questions, remember that you can only control your own response, not the world around you.
Step into your change with a curious mindset and size up your situation. To do this, you will have to look at the facts of the situation without assuming any motives or meanings. That means putting your emotions on the back burner. It might help to ask a friend, “am I seeing this situation clearly?” It’s all about putting things into perspective. If you’re struggling to see the situation objectively, open your ears and let God speak to you. Don’t be afraid to ask Him to help you see the situation through His eyes.
Embrace the Change
Change offers the potential for emotional and intellectual growth. What’s stopping you from taking this change and making something great out of it? Own who you are in this moment and find positive ways to empower growth into your life. If you embrace change as a necessary part of your life, you can use it as a stepping stone for personal growth and learning. The most important thing is that you get through it. Remember that you are like God in your power to choose.
Don’t drift through the river of life without trying to swim against the current. Engage your will and take control of your transformation. Challenge the lies that you may feel trapped in and open the door to new possibilities. This change may be hard, but how can the power of choice help you manage things differently? The Holy Spirit is God’s agent of change, so I encourage you to cultivate sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit and the voice of your conscience as well.
Manage the Change
To fully embrace change, you need to be equipped with a strategy – a change strategy. Having a strategy is like having a compass, it points you in the right direction when you feel lost. Proverbs 24:3-4 says, “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” If you’re facing resistance, the last thing you want to do is give up. Instead, take the time to develop a strategy that will help guide you through the resistance. When you develop a specific action plan, you motivate yourself to stay on course. Your change strategy may involve exposing yourself to a new environment, utilizing the available resources around you, or finding a mentor. Change requires a proactive and positive response. Overcoming forced change is a daunting task, but the rewards are great!
The entire process of change can be encapsulated in this one verse: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:2 Will you choose to let change define you? Or will you use this change as a catalyst to propel you towards something bigger and better? The choice is yours to make.
Thankfully for us, we are not alone in our change journey, When we partner with Jesus in change, He provides us with the necessary resources to carry forward. If you’re dealing with forced change, remember to be proactive with the four steps above. If you want help in making sense of change to navigate life’s transitions, I encourage you to read my book, “Leadership Mastery“. I wrote this book as a spiritual and practical guide for those who are looking to become the change masters in their lives. What type of changes are you experiencing in this season of your life? Let’s start a conversation in the comment section below.