How can I learn to embrace change?
There’s a saying, “No one likes change except a baby with a dirty diaper, and even then the baby will cry about it!” Embracing change involves three attitudes: acknowledgement, adjustment, and acceptance.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. For the Christian to embrace change there are three fundamental aspects we must acknowledge.
1. God is in control. Daniel 4:35 says, “But He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (NASB). Everything that happens, including changes in our lives, happen within the sphere of God’s sovereign control.
2. God has a plan. Change is not random. Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Even when we don’t understand or see it God has a purpose behind all change.
3. Change is an inevitable and a necessary part of life. God has built change into life as a means to achieve His will and purposes. Without change, His will would not be done.
ADJUSTMENT. Perception affects everything. We need to adjust our perceptions about change. Most of us view change as a negative thing to be feared. We paint scenarios in our minds reinforcing the idea that change is negative.
One of the keys to embracing change is to stop assuming change will be for the worse. Most of the things we fear never actually happen. And the changes we think are bad often turn out to be the beginnings of the best things in our lives.
If we perceive change as loss we feel sad and will not want to lose what we had. Focus instead on what is gained with the change. God is bringing about change toward the goal of eternity with Him and that is something we can be thankful for.
We also need to adjust our self-talk by changing our negative language. Rather than thinking “I hate change” change it to “God is fulfilling His plan.”
ACCEPTANCE. If God is sovereignly working out His plan through change then embracing change revolves around accepting His will. If we don’t submit to His will we’ll see ourselves as a victim.
We also need to accept our responsibility with respect to change. We have a responsibility to manage and make changes in light of God’s will. In managing change we must align our expectations with God’s will. James 4:13–15 points out it is sin to plan presumptuously saying “next year I will do such and so.”
This passage also tells us we need to submit our expectations to the will of God. One of the reasons we don’t like change is because often things turn out differently than we planned or expected. But if we submit our plans and expectations to the will of God, acceptance comes easier.
Rather than seeing ourselves as victims of change we are to responsibly and proactively manage it. By viewing ourselves as both part of God’s plan and the change process we can treat change as an opportunity to act rather than react.
Acting can sometimes mean making changes when we are complacent or comfortable. Sometimes being complacent in a job or relationship means we are not achieving all God has for us.
As with most things in life, change is much easier to deal with when we get help. We don't have to go through it alone; there are probably many people in our lives who have gone through similar changes and can support us in the process.
I hope this helps.