Coping with Change

When I was a child, living at home with my parents, it was not uncommon for me to arrive home from school in the afternoon to find that things had changed in our house. My mother was one of those people who loved to mix things up and move things around. So from time to time I would come home and find that my bedroom was no longer my bedroom, it was now a TV room and I was now sharing a bedroom with my sister. Or the rumpus room was no longer the rumpus room it was a bedroom. Even if a complete room relocation was not in order, my mother would change the furniture around in individual rooms quite frequently. Beds, couches, cupboards, bookshelves and anything that was not a permanent fixture was at the mercy of my mother’s interior decorating whims.

By nature I am not one that loves change. I am quite happy to leave things as they are unless there is a really good reason to shake things up. So it was initially a challenge for me to accept my mother’s spontaneous rearrangements, especially when it directly affected me and my stuff! However, I began to realise that change can actually be exciting. It brings with it new opportunities and new perspectives. For example, I had four sisters and I am pretty sure I shared a bedroom with each one of them at some time during my childhood. We were all different, some of us easier to get along with than others but having these regular changes allowed us to develop deeper and stronger relationships with each other as well as the lifelong skills of negotiation, adaptability, conflict resolution and resilience.

I am not sure if this was my mother’s intended outcome, but looking back I can see the wisdom in this. My life would not have been anywhere near as interesting and colourful without these experiences. But most importantly I was able to learn skills to help me cope with life beyond the relative security and stability of my family home. You don’t have to live in society for long to realise that change is inevitable and that most of the changes that happen to us and around us are not within our control. Thus teaching and equipping our kids to accept and cope with change in a healthy way is really important.

The truth is that most of us don’t really like change, especially when it is imposed on us. Change has the potential to upend our comfort levels, and leave us insecure and afraid. It challenges our expectations, our routines, our understanding of the world and how we live in it. But the good news is that there is one who doesn’t change. God has promised to walk with us in every season of life, no matter how easy or difficult.

King Solomon shared his wisdom on change in Proverbs 3:5-6 where he wrote these words of encouragement: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.” If we could all embrace this perspective, by committing our lives and plans to God, we can be confident that he will ensure that new experiences, even challenging ones, will only add to the richness of our lives.