A single mom is afraid to trust again. A businessman can’t risk applying for that new job for fear of rejection. A spouse can’t forgive and get past an offense. In each situation, the work of change becomes incomplete, the lessons are not learned, and the person is more than likely going to repeat history in some form or fashion.
That’s tragic, and although many of us know how sad this is (me included), we just don’t have to abort the process. We can—and should—find a way to move forward. Sometimes that takes the help of your spouse, a good friend, a professional counselor, or a pastor.
For my character, she and her husband had to struggle through taking their six small children and leaving their homeland to go and live in a foreign country for the rest of their lives. Big changes. Much bigger than most of us have ever faced.
One of the best things we can do is analyze how we naturally tend to deal with change. When we recognize this and then adjust our not-so-healthy patterns of thinking and behavior, we can learn how to deal with change more productively.
Take some time to discover your natural tendencies, and learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. If you do, you’ll be surprised how differently you will react and how much easier you will be able to accept and adjust to the change. I had to figure out that I hid my fear of change in busyness.
Sometimes a change seems accidental or random, and it’s frightening. Often, we simply have expectations that are unrealistic, and we think that everything should work out well, like a Hallmark movie. When it doesn’t, we are surprised or disappointed, angry, or hurt.
If we take some time to assess the unrealistic expectations we’ve learned from Hollywood, the media, or other people, we’ll be able to adjust our thinking accordingly. And when we bring them into a biblically accurate perspective, we’ll realize that they weren’t so random after all.
Other times we just can’t face the loss associated with the change. So we become trapped by fear, sadness, or loss, and we feel embarrassed, ashamed, or confused that we have these negative feelings.
But sooner or later we find ourselves at a point of decision—either we acknowledge it and move through the transition, or we abort it and return to the old thing. It may be as simple as stepping away from a toxic friend or as big as making an transcontinental move like my novel character, but without completing the transition, we’ll likely repeat the lesson we need to learn.
Have you had to repeat something? I sure have! I’d love to hear your story.
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