Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Navigating New Seasons {3 Ways to Better Handle Change}

The internet is a big place, but there’s some good stuff out there. Melody Hester’s blog – Life is a Bowl of Wedgies – is one of the gems of the internet. We connected through link ups on various blogs, and I’m glad she’s a faithful part of the #ThreeWordWednesday community. 

Her words here today about how to better handle change speak directly to my heart. Embracing the adventure of new seasons and making my expectations more flexible has been an ongoing process. I’m grateful for Melody’s encouragement – both today specifically and in general. 

In preparation for this topic I decided to start by asking my husband to give me his thoughts about how I handle change.

It went something like this:

Me: Honey, how do you think I handle change and new seasons?
The hubs: *dead silence*
Me: * waiting patiently for him to expound on how awesome I do change*
The hubs: *still quiet ten minutes later*
Me: Alrighty then, since the silence is speaking volumes how about I ask it this way, “What could I do to become better at handling change and new seasons in life?”

And then we both erupted in laughter because we both know I’m not the world’s best at handling change. I’m not the best at it, but I am learning some valuable things about change.

Change: To become different; to make someone or something different; to become something else.

We’ve all been through changes and new seasons of life. It starts from the moment we’re conceived. Change. We transform from embryo to fully formed newborn entering a whole new world. Talk about a drastic change from the get go!

As babies and kids we seem to roll with the punches in regards to things becoming different. But as we get older and become more set in our predictable ways this becomes harder. Whether it comes in the form of a new job, a divorce, moving, remarrying, having kids, sending kids off to college or caregiving for aging parents. All of these are huge life changes and have the potential to strengthen us or set us back.

When I look back at some of our personal changes and seasons of life they include both the incredibly awesome and the complete devastating. I look back and see times of a wedding, a 23-year marriage, infertility, death of a parent, pastoring two churches, broken relationships, and a move to another state. Major life changes – some great and some not so much.

The common denominator in all of them is change. Some were unexpected many times. Not always though. Even when change is sought out it can be hard.

So how do we navigate change and new seasons in our life well?

1.  Have Reasonable Expectations

There’s value in having high expectations and setting goals but when expectations exceed reason it causes tension and eventually misery. Keeping a balanced check of what you desire and what is actually attainable will be key. Ask your spouse how you’re doing in this area. You might get dead silence like I did. But don’t get mad. Talk about it and see their perspective on things.

2. Have Flexible Expectations

Okay, I have good news. My husband says I’m so much better at this now. Early in our marriage I remember getting so frustrated at him because he was always late for dinner. It made me furious. To his credit he has changed in this area and has become a better time manager but I’ve also chilled out and I realize that dinner can sit a little longer with foil on it. It’s really not a big deal. Being willing to be flexible means we are willing to submit our plan to someone else’s. Of course there are non-negotiables in life, but we’re talking about things that can shift and move.

3. Expect God to be Sovereign and Good – even in the midst of your change. 

It’s true – God is in control of all things at all times. He has the power to put into place or to stop anything He wants. And He is good through and through. So as we grapple with seasons of change, both good and bad, expect God to be who He says He is and allow this present day, moment-by-moment reality to bring great comfort to your new season of life.

Well, friends, I’m not sure if you’re walking through a major life change right now or not. Eventually you will. Be ready to trust God that he’s in control of your situation. He sees it and knows all about it. Accept what He has for you with an open heart and a flexible spirit. {Tweet that.} And may our God abundantly bless you as you walk toward him.

Melody Hester is a stumbling Christ follower who longs to live in moderation. Instead she’s an all or nothing kind of girl who laughs too loud at the wrong times and says the wrong thing at the right time. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, who has been a pastor most of their married life – yeah, she’s kind of surprised to be pastor’s wife too. God gave them two children through adoption and they’re worth every ounce of infertility. The color pink, chocolate, and flowers are her love language. And she loves the word scrumpdillyocious – even though it doesn’t exist. Learn more about Melody at her blog Life is a Bowl of Wedgies.

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