Change is hard.
Two homeschooling message boards where I frequent changed formats this month, within a couple of weeks of each other. Homeschoolers may be avant gard in many respects, but wow oh wow, do we get set in our ways, too. The changes were drastic on those boards and so was the reaction. Many posters took to the new formats like returning fish long separated from the sea. Others were more like fish yanked from their comfortable waters. There was a whole lot of wailing, weeping, and gnashing of teeth. Some women posted that they were too *old* to learn something new. Shocking, I know. Mostly because most of them are younger than I am. LOL
All the turmoil, plus a Bible study I'm leading, got to me thinking about change.
The first kind of change is the simplest, like loose change in your pocket. All those dimes, quarters, nickels, and pennies don't seem important, but they can add up significantly. Early in our marriage, I worked a year in a bank. One fella brought in bags of coins to run through our coin sorter/counter. At the end of the process, he had over a thousand dollars to deposit in his account. He had tossed his loose change into a container every day for several years. Not only had it added up, it had made a serious impact on his bank account.
Little changes add up in our lives, too. Parking at the other end of the parking lot, so we get a few more steps into our day. Cutting out one negative thing from our diets may help us loose a few pounds over time. Dropping an encouraging card to a friend boosts both of you and requires little time. Spending fifteen minutes a day studying a topic can make you an expert in twenty years.
An example of a second type of change is a pickle. You know how pickles start out, don't you? As a cucumber. I spent one summer a few years ago, pickling everything from our huge garden. Cucumbers, squash, okra...all got dumped into various chemical concoctions to transform them into spicy, savory bites of flavor with outstanding results.
But the cucumber doesn't get to choose this kind of change. Outside change is hard for us...this is the cancer diagnosis, the pink slip, the divorce, the car accident, a move, a death. All those forces work on you and change you whether you like it or not, but what is the alternative? You have to cope. Hopefully, you learn, grow, and conquer, too. None of it is easy, but the result, hopefully, is becoming a person of compassion, depth, courage, character, and strength.
The last type of change is the internal transformation. In my women's Bible study, we are studying allowing God to change us from the inside out. As our symbol of this change, we are using a butterfly. From ugly human caterpillar, to graceful, beautiful butterfly, we hope to emulate the same type of metamorphosis in our spirit. This change often takes some cocoon time, some effort, and a serious re-prioritizing our actions, thoughts, and goals. I also believe it takes the Creator's touch to fully achieve.
We don't like change. That is unless *we* are in control of the change. Control, however, is an elusive thing. Often grasped at, but seldom grasped. We chuckle ruefully over maxims like 'nothing is constant, except change' but know in our hearts that there is truth there. It often seems that we are one heartbeat away from falling into the pickle vat. Have courage. Whether you are weighted down by lots of nagging changes, whether you find yourself in a 'pickle' of some sort or whether you already have unfurled your butterfly wings, remember this bit of wisdom...Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Change is growth. Just like a plant is stimulated to grow after being pruned, we realize we can grow in new directions after significant changes, too. Never give up growing and learning. Never become too old to change. This world needs more people of compassion, wisdom, joy, and strength.