17 Mar 3 Lessons to Help You Manage Change
“Change has a bad reputation in our society. But it isn’t all bad, not by any means. In fact, change is necessary in life–to keep us moving, to keep us growing, to keep us interested. Imagine life without change. It would be static, boring, and dull” – Dr. Dennis O’Grady
You feel it in your bones. Change is coming. It’s exciting yet scary. You have a glimpse but not the full picture. You want to take a step, but you can’t see which direction to go yet.
Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re there now.
Navigating change is unsettling at best and completely unnerving at worst.
I know because I recently went through the process. But, I survived, and you will too!
There are a few things I learned along the way which I hope will help you.
WHEN GOING THROUGH CHANGE: PRAY
Prayer should be at the top of this list. But it should also be in every stage.
When your world is changing: PRAY.
If left to our own devices we could easily make decisions based on emotion and that does not always work in our favor. Prayer mitigates the risk of emotional decisions and aligns are hearts with God’s direction.
With prayer central to our thinking, here are 3 lessons I’ve learned on how to navigate the turbulence of change:
- You don’t know what you don’t know.
Obvious. I know. But coming to terms with that is the biggest struggle!
I spoke to a friend this week who was in the thick of change and it brought back memories. She knows there is change coming but she can’t see how or when it will happen. I found myself saying to her, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” And that leads to the four-letter word that we all hate–WAIT.
The last thing you want to do is make a change without clear direction. If the answer is not coming, then rest in knowing that the timing is not right yet. It could come tomorrow. Or maybe weeks from now. Stay put until you have more clarity.
You can’t will yourself to know what to do next so stop trying. You will find freedom in the release.
- Trust the process
One day while I was praying a “Please make it clear, I don’t know what to do” prayer I felt God whisper the words TRUST THE PROCESS. It was that still small voice and because trust doesn’t come super easy to me I knew I hadn’t manufactured that thought on my own.
So, what does trust look like? It looks like another word we don’t love–SURRENDER.
It is humbling not to have all the answers. Depending on your personality (you can guess what mine is) it can be excruciating. We can feel powerless when we don’t have a plan.
In all my years of following God and being led by Him I can’t think of a scenario where He showed me the entire plan ahead of time. Just like He did with the Israelites in the wilderness, His mode of operation was and still is manna for the day.
Day by day through the process of change I would get little baby steps revealed as if He was clearing my path as I walked. He would sweep a few feet ahead clear and I would move and then stay put until the next part of the path was clear.
In moments when it seemed like the answers were not coming, prayer became the answer.
I think I understand a little more now, why God operates this way. Those times of surrender in prayer are some of the most intimate times I’ve had with Him.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was lay For the Girls International on the alter and completely surrender its future to God. What we were hoping for seemed nearly impossible. The position I was vacating was a volunteer position and it seemed highly unlikely that someone would step up to the plate.
But I had to rely on the reality if God was directing me to a different position, then He had a plan. I TRUSTED His plan and SURRENDERED my control.
Surrender means being willing to see your desired outcome fade in order to make way for His plan to manifest itself.
Usually change is not made in a silo. Typically, the changes you are making in your life will affect other people. The best way to navigate this particular piece of the process is communication.
It takes time and honest and sometimes uncomfortable conversations, but it is the key to smooth transitions. If you are in a leadership position it is especially important to communicate to help guide those around you through the transition.
It’s not always easy and there will be misunderstandings but talking them through with love and humility will bring everyone through to the other side in one piece. Not everyone will love what’s happening. Understanding it will be difficult not only for yourself, but for those around you, will help you all get through it together.
There is so much more to say on this topic, but I’ll wrap it up where I began: PRAY.
Prayer accomplishes so much more than we can ever accomplish without it.
Pray, Trust the Process.
Pray, and watch with wonder as God brings His plan into focus.
Are you going through change right now? If so, which of these steps helps you the most? Do you have any other suggestions to add to the change process from your own experience? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!