|Change is inevitable, but growth is optional.|
While I was flipping through the magazine, I saw a quote, "Change is inevitable, but growth is optional." According to my 3-second google search, John Maxwell said it.
The quote has been rolling around in my head for these past several hours.
Certainly change is inevitable. I have had many changes in these past few years. Job changes. Family changes. Changes in pastoral leadership. Class changes. Change. Change. Change.
Growth has happened too. My daughters have grow a lot! The older is 15 and has a job and is saving money to buy a car. The younger is in middle school, and I just looked at her and thought, "How has she grown enough to be in our youth group?!" As the years go by and children change, they inevitably grow too. It isn't optional.
So, in what ways is growth optional, the way change isn't?
I think the intention here is that we get to make choices, to some extent, about how we respond to change. My own response to change lately has been difficult. For one thing, I'm tired of change. For another, it seems that change has been thrust upon me, and in a quantity that is more than I want to tackle at one time. I prefer to maintain some control about how much and when I experience change.
But, I'm not in control of everything. [I know, I know, this will surprise my family.]
What I am in some control of, is how I choose to let the challenge that change brings become a catalyst for healthy growth in me. How do I receive the challenge of change? Do I consider how God can use the change? Do I ask God how I should respond? Do I give myself plenty of time and space to grieve the losses that change often brings? I get to choose those things. Another option is to let the challenge that change brings become an opportunity to complain and grow bitter and resist the change and refuse to let God get a word in edgewise. [Note: this tactic doesn't work well between me and God. God wins because God has lots of grace to pour into all our challenges.]
But, it does my heart good to know that I have a choice about my response. I like having options. And, sometimes I like being stubborn too.
Some days I choose the second option, and I let change discourage me. And others days, I think about all the things that God teaches me through change. I think of the wide array of learning experiences and opportunities that I have been given by not having the same things going on day after day and year after year. Change brings happy surprises too! Variety is a gift.
And somethings don't ever change:
Psalm 118 says, God's love endures forever! James 1 says, Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
That is good news! Be encouraged: Change gives us opportunities to grow, whether we want them or not, and the God who remains loving, merciful, just, and kind forever, gives abundant grace to all who ask and walks with us always. God's presence with us is inevitable too. Grow with God.
Edited: I should add, since the intention of this blog is to let people read what I'm doing in school, that I've completed 50 credits. That means I've read a lot, written a lot, and this summer I took preaching class, so I preached some too. I have two years left and I'm still on track to graduate in May 2020. This past June I got to go with the seminary to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip. This fall I'm taking classes in Doctrine, Bible and Archaeology, and Discipleship.