I do not cope well with change. Gavin, does. I often wish I could respond like him to the news of new situations – he simply takes everything in his stride. He doesn’t dwell on what was, worry about what he’ll miss, or what fear what’s to come – he embraces the next step and moves forward. I, on the other hand, do not. I never have. My friend Malia Drennan (check out her blog here – http://maliaandpeter.blogspot.co.uk ) called it well when she once told me my reaction to change is to be “stubborn and reluctant”. That has never left me, as she was 100% correct. Often it takes someone else to see things for how they really are, and when Malia named my response, I began to see just how correct she was. It doesn’t matter whether the change is big or small, the best idea or the worst, I am still stubborn and reluctant! The only time it’s remotely different is if it’s something that I have come to a decision about… ALONE!
The greatest gift Malia gave me in naming my response, was the opportunity to begin to consider reacting differently. And so, over the last 6 years I have tried, oh I have tried! And I’ve moved forward, but each time I am faced with change those ugly reactions begin to raise their heads. My stubbornness normally reveals itself with internal or external statements like “I don’t want to”, “That’s not for me”, “It will never work”. Reluctance comes in the form of “What if’s?”, “Do I have to?”, “Let’s not rush into anything”.
Nothing and no-one could have prepared me for the change that comes with having a baby. I had heard about it at Antenatal classes, read about it in my “What to expect book” and talked about it with verteran and new mums alike…but nothing prepared me for this! Our world has been turned upside down. My routines and plans have gone right out the window. I am now ruled by nappies, feeds, sterilization, washing, bathing, walking, rocking, and winding. Everything is different. Ahhh!! Reuben doesn’t seem bothered at all (why should he be?) that he has turned my world on it’s head, but it’s been hard for me to adjust. Does that make me a bad/selfish mum?!
I have tried my best to embrace the change, to ‘go with it’, to accept that each day will be different and not to take myself too seriously, but it’s been struggle for a control freak like me!
As I have been wrestling this change, I have been recalling one of the best things that has helped me to learn to manage my internal or external responses – to swift my focus off myself. We all know that change is inevitable in our lives, it happens all around us, in us and through us…whether we like it or not! It’s how we are designed. The only thing that never ever changes is our Creator. That truth has been my biggest comfort and encourgement to date.
“I am the Lord, and I do not change” Malachi 3: 1
Just in case I ever have cause to doubt, God declares to me who He is – “the Lord” and clearly states the He never changes. I have lost count of the number of times, in the midst of panic about change which is about to occur, I have felt God gently remind me – “Lindsay, I am God, your Father and I DO NOT CHANGE”. In those moments I remember, while everything around me might be shifting and turning, God is not. He is, who He has always been. He is my rock; my firm foundation; my shelter in the storm; my comfort in pain; the light in the darkness; the truth in confusion and rest in the weary moments. He is forever present, sovereign and all powerful. I can rejoice and hold tight to all of those wonderful truths that never ever change.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
Everyone changes, right? I watch each day as Reuben grows and changes – his features, his weight, his wants and needs, his sleeping and feeding pattern. Sometimes when people in our lives change it’s a great thing – they grow up and become more responsible, they are more tolerant, helpful, kind or loving. At other points, the change is more difficult – maybe they stop loving us, needing us or wanting us. They move on and forget us. Whether good or bad, we all change. But Jesus Christ does not. Who He was yesterday is exactly the same as who He will be tomorrow. I can cling to Him, when I need stability. I do not have to worry that His attitude towards me will alter, His heart towards me will fail or His promise to always be with me will end. He isn’t fickle or influenced by how I react or feel. He is certain, true and sure. Always patient, kind, forgiving, keeping no record of my wrongs. I find huge comfort in that.
The God that I follow today will be the same God that I follow tomorrow. What He asks of me won’t change; how he responds to me won’t vary; and the depths of His heart towards me remains exactly the same. Phew! In the midst of life’s changes, especially those that we’re facing now, that is exactly what I need to know.
“ Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.
He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17
My world changes, the people in my life change, I change, but MY GOD DOES NOT CHANGE! For a “stubborn and reluctant” control freak like me that is the best news ever. Of that, I can be 100% sure!
Ps – thanks Malia – I’m not sure that I ever said that. Your truth and wisdom were much appreciated, even if I didn’t respond that way at the time. Thank you God for honest and true friends!