Change, it has been observed, is the only constant. And that was pointed out 2500 years ago by a Greek philosopher.
Many of us in mission struggle to keep up with various aspects of change, whether it’s organisational structure, new technology, government regulations or the constant coming and going of co-workers.
Most of us are not particularly disposed towards change, and the accelerating rate of change seems ever more bewildering. So how can we learn to survive in a world where change is guaranteed, to continue apace? Here are our top tips:
- Accept that things change – for better and for worse. Change is normal! Our first experience of coming into this world was through change, and we continue to change throughout life until the final change in death.
- Give yourself time to process the change – it takes time to get used to what is new and you won’t necessarily get the hang of it straight away.
- Discuss it with family and friends. How can they help you and vice versa? Who is the person for whom the change is easy? How can they be a resource for the others?
- Recognise the stress that change causes and take steps to manage it well.
- Research ways of making this change go as smoothly as possible.
- Stick to familiar routines that will provide some element of stability in the midst of the change.
- Rest in God – who never changes.
- Eat well, sleep well, exercise well If you are physically healthy you will be better able to cope.
- Are you afraid of the future? Give it back to God, in whose hands it is anyway.
- Make a to-do list and tick items off to create a sense of control.
- Understand how your personality type copes with change and focus on using your strengths to help you rather than lamenting your weaknesses.
- Read the bits of the Bible which were written by people undergoing massive change. How did they deal with it?
- Identify and name what you think you are losing. This helps you be able to say goodbye to it – even reluctantly!
- Develop your hobbies to ensure you have a way of relaxing.
- If there is change in one aspect of your life, try to ensure there is stability in other areas to reduce the pressure on you from the change.
- Reflect on how you personally can benefit from the change and help others to do so.
- Find a safety valve so that you can vent your negative feelings privately without causing harm to other people or agencies. Avoid expressing too much to close colleagues or on social media!
- Take a retreat or holiday to recharge your emotional energy.
- See the positives: is this a chance to grow? Could things be better for you or your team in the future?
- Acknowledge the extent to which your resistance to change may be based on your bad experiences of change in the past.
- Create a ‘monument’ so that you can respect and honour the achievements of the past as you press on towards the future.
- Be open with God and close friends about your feelings.
- Manage stress through mindfulness, Pilates, meditation or breathing exercises.
- Journal your feelings so that you are able to get them off your chest – and then look back to see how much God has done in you through the change.
- Develop a rhythm of prayer or use regular liturgy to help enhance your stability during times of change.
- Get professional help from a coach or mentor to help you process the challenges you’re facing.
- Be open with family, friends and co-workers about how well you’re doing. It will help them to help you.
- Don’t assume that just because change is hard, it’s wrong. It may ultimately be beneficial.
Blog post first published on 5 February 2018 on www.syzygy.org.uk.