Daily Devotions

Facing Change

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Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)

I hate change as much as the next person. We work so hard to make a comfortable world, and just when we get to a meaningful place, change comes a-calling. William Bridges, author of The Way of Transition, provides comfort when he says, “Change can happen at any time, but transition comes along when one chapter of your life is over, and another is waiting in the wings to make its entrance.” Most of us fight the transition because we cannot accept the change. 

With a change of circumstances comes a change of labels. With the end of a marriage comes the label, “divorce.” With the death of a spouse comes the label, “widow, or widower.” For me, retirement will come with the end of a title: “Pastor.” Change in a life situation can also create a change of identity. This only makes the change in our lives even more disruptive.

Fighting the change and ignoring the opportunities for transition will not make the change go away. Fighting will only make the pain worse and the resolution take even longer. Every situation has options, even if they are not the ones you’d like. William Bridges continues, “Transition doesn’t simply disenchant; it breaks up your old identity, too.” Rather than mourn the old identity too long, needed change requires the creation of a transformed identity.

God is our help and guide as we transition from one identity to a new, transformed identity.  Mourn the loss that change brings. But take courage and redefine yourself. Change can often feel like a diminishment of self. Prayerfully ask God to remind us that we are God’s chosen, and worthy of transformation. The Spirit’s work with us will continue to allow us to work through the change and bring us to a healthy and whole new identity. With God’s help, change isn’t feared, but transitioned, with a new, blessed identity.

Knock Me Off My Horse

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He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? (Acts 9:4)

One might argue perspective is harder to change than your habits or your lifestyle. Perspective is the way we view our world. In order to change our view, we must see with new eyes and that requires courage, openness, and a guide. If you do not have anyone in your life who sees differently from you, there is no way to see differently. Tyler Kleeberger, in his article Let’s Talk About Your Perspective, says it another way, “What we see becomes what we know and what we know becomes the only way to see.

Kleevberger continues, “Our perceptions aren’t seen as perceptions…they are seen as reality.” Most people who claim to be right, would argue that they do not have a perspective, they have truth. This is the beginning of many painful societal sins, like self-righteous ideologies and hate. When we are able to sit down together with people who have a different perspective, and discuss matters respectfully, arrogance diminishes and a wider breadth of wisdom increases.

Developing perspective is difficult and even painful. Saul of Tarsus was sure that he was right. He believed the only way to stop the destructive force of these upstart Christ-followers was through violence. It took God knocking him off his horse and speaking to Saul directly that allowed Saul to change his religious and spiritual perspective. Continuing, God even changed Saul’s name to Paul, blinded him for three days, and gave him the title “Apostle,” as a means of solidifying that perspective.

Having a new perspective doesn’t mean we have to change our mind, but it does mean we must listen, empathize, and think through situations logically. Today, pray for God to give you the wisdom to gain greater perspective. In our present political and social environment, where the extremes are becoming the norm, a more civil society must be found in considering alternative perspectives. It transformed the Apostle Paul’s life, and it can not only change your life and mine, but it can bring our society a little more civility.

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