Navigating change

We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of loving change and actually feeling unsettled without it, to wanting things to stay the same because change generally feels unsettling.

In this season, the whole world is experiencing things we have never experienced before. We all react differently, so here are a few points to consider that can help us do this season of change well—for those who thrive in it, and those who are struggling in it. 

  1. Be with people. True in every season, it is important to connect with the significant people in your life. Some seasons require more solitude, some have more time with people, but in the midst of change, make it a priority to connect with those who are invested in your life. You may not actually be able to see them, but make a point of connecting through one of the many options we have available. This will help keep you grounded and give perspective, whether you are thrilled about the new or dreading what is ahead.
  2. Remember God. I have been reading in Deuteronomy about God getting the Israelites ready for the promised land. They had left slavery 40 years before and had been wandering around the desert. The wilderness had become their new normal. Finally, it was time for them to enter the land God had promised them. As they readied themselves for this life-changing moment, God through Moses led them through a time of remembrance. He wanted to make sure as they headed into this time of deep change they remembered who God was and is, and what he had done for them already. In the midst of changing things, remember what God has done already in your life and remind your heart of his unchanging character. This prepares us and keeps us ready for what’s ahead.
  3. Reflect on your values. What is really, really important to you? An important part of navigating change is reflecting on the values you carry in your life. More important than what you will do as welcome or unwelcome things unfold, is who you will be? A helpful verse to reflect on is “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love”.
  4. Remember it’s OK to make mistakes. When new things are in front of us, it can sometimes trigger the fear of failure. One benefit of routine and things staying the same is it can lull us into a belief that we can live life without mistakes. Change can rattle that and draw out feelings such as what if, in the unknown, I mess up? Something that will help you navigate change is to remind yourself you likely will make mistakes when doing something you’ve never done before. What is more important is what you do after making a mistake then putting energy into fearing making one.
  5. It’s OK to grieve. Usually what makes change hard is leaving something behind. If it’s something we loved, even when are moving into something good and better, it’s still sad. It’s good to identify those things that are losses in the new season and grieve them. The caution is to both not bypass feelings of sadness you may feel from the previous season, and also to not get stuck in grieving your losses. You can both grieve what is being lost and embrace what is ahead, and doing one helps the other.
  6. Do the next 24 hours well. One time I found myself living overseas for a long stretch in a pretty challenging environment. It was a lot of change —new language, new food, little mice running around while we slept on the floor… My initial thought was I can’t do this for the length of time I need to be here. And then I thought: just do the next 24 hours well. I probably read this on an Instagram post somewhere, but it stuck with me. This little mantra got me through, and I was encouraged to look back and see a long string of days, weeks, and months of which I was really proud. We can’t do much about yesterday, we can’t do today what can only be done tomorrow. Do the best you can today and then sleep well. Wake up tomorrow and do the best you can again.
  7. Stay open. This brings up an image in my mind of Instagram influencers on a beautiful beach reminding everyone to have open hearts to the day ahead. Being grounded in some of the points mentioned above, this is a good provocation. It’s important to have a position of heart that is open to what is ahead. A dramatic example of this is the finding from car crashes of a higher survival rate for those who don’t tense up before the impact. As much as your spirit may want to tense up and dread what’s ahead, take a few deep breaths and reflect on the points, and stay open. What’s ahead could be far, far better and even if it’s not initially, we have a God who promises to work all things out for our good.


Natalie Neubauer is a missionary with Youth With A Mission Newcastle.

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