I’ve heard it said that the only thing that is constant is change. Maybe you’ve heard that too? Change doesn’t always feel comfortable. It’s not always something we welcome. If we’re honest, it can be quite disconcerting, uncomfortable, and leave us feeling a bit anxious.
Still, when people said I’d come back from a recent mission trip to the Dominican Republic changed, I knew the “change” they were referring to could foster growth, so I looked forward to discovering what that change could be.
In the dictionary, change is defined as “to make different, to transform, to undergo a modification, to become different.” The Bible has many examples of change. Just a few include:
- Names (or identities): Saul becomes Paul, Simon becomes Peter, Levi becomes Matthew…and the list goes on. When these individuals followed God or followed Jesus, their lives transformed. Essentially, they adopted new identities – who they were to God. As a result, their names changed.
- Priorities: I can’t imagine how many things Noah no longer had time for when God said “build the arch.” He needed far more than a free hour a week from Wednesday. With great certainty, his priorities needed to be adjusted.
- Professions: The impact of meeting Jesus caused a fishermen and a tax collector to drop everything to become “fishers of men.” Can you imagine how risky that must have felt? But, they embraced the transformational change that came from following Jesus.
- Locations: Abraham didn’t have any idea where he was going when God called him to pack up and move (Heb11:8). Still, he followed knowing that God would lead him and be with him wherever it was that God called him to go.
Reading all those examples helps us to see “change” a little bit differently. Rather than dreading it, we can instead welcome it as a part of the process that will help us to grow. 2 Cor 3:18 says “And we all… are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory”
During my trip, I didn’t feel prompted to change my name, my profession, or to move my home. However, I did feel quite prompted to change my priorities and my focus. The “change” came on a walk through a neighborhood on the way to take food and supplies to a family in need. Walking through the dirt-packed streets I noticed a young boy sitting on the front step of a home. When we got closer, I smiled, waved, and said “hola.” Such a small gesture, just to be kind – but I never had any idea that it could have any impact. 45 minutes to an hour later our group made our way back to our starting point. Mid way, the group paused to take a picture of a few young children we had met earlier. As I focused my camera, something slammed into my leg. I looked down to see the young boy from the step embracing my leg. With a hug and a smile, he disappeared as quickly as he had arrived. I stood in the middle of the street completely shocked and instantly changed.
I never knew the impact of a hello before. The world‘s issues seem far greater than anything I alone can tackle. But God hasn’t tasked me with changing the whole world, but rather to touch the world around me. Nearly an hour after my hello, that little boy sought me out to return compassion- all from one “hello.”
If we change our priorities to be sure to make those small touches in our day, if we change our focus to see those we encounter, really see them, what kind of change is possible?
Over the coming weeks or even months, I’ll be sure to share more about my trip to the DR. If you haven’t liked my Facebook page, you can join me there to see some pictures from the trip (facebook.com/authorSusanCall). Of the many pictures I could have used for this post, the rusty chair seemed most fitting. In life we sometimes feel just like that chair, a bit worn around the edges… then God gets a hold of our life and we begin to resemble the beautiful flowers instead.
I’d love to hear from you…Has change seemed scary to you? Has this given you pause to think it isn’t as scary? How has God asked you to change?
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Change. It is the only constant. I retired from the dental profession after 42 years. Change was the #1 word. Change the product, change the schedule, update the computer, change the lunch hour time. It never stopped. You did get used to it and just had to go with the flow. I find that still true. I have a day planned that I think I can handle and a phone call changes the day. The thing I so wanted to get completed at 9 am is now going to get done at 11 pm. It all works but makes me crazy at age 66 that I have to joggle all the time. It also makes me feel confident that I am able to still make the changes as they come. Fabulous examples and I loved it.
Thank you. When I’m confronted by change now, I hope to remember to take a step back and look for God’s fingerprints on the situation. Sometimes change might just be His direction, His guidance, or even His lesson tucked into our day.
So true! Part of what I love about mission trips is the shift in perspective you get from going. Yes, you’re going there to help and to serve people, but it’s inevitable that God will use the experience to change you too.
I keep reminding myself that my goal shouldn’t be to avoid change, but to accept it and look for the opportunities within each new situation. Great post.
Thank you. I think it can be a natural human gut reaction to push back against change. But yes, if we accept it, the opportunities God brings about can pleasantly surprise us.