Change Why? it’s so Difficult…

images-8Repentance, turning around, growing, maturing, taking on new ideas, new journeys, new ventures, what do they all have in common.   There is a thread that fixes these and other challenges of living together, it is called CHANGE.  If we are to move forward and live our Christian life to the full we must be able to embrace change, knowing it is imperative for us to understand the full elements of change.      Change brings about insecurity, emotionally.   I like the picture from the sporting world in the area of boxing; the unstable time for a boxer is when the boxer changes their stance it is an unstable moment; change brings instability, which we have to negotiate.   The church asks for change but very rarely helps us in the instability and emotional challenge of the change.      Wise people understand that lasting change requires them as individuals to change first before anything around them will change, in the same way influencers or leaders know if they change that which they are responsible for in their stewardship of people or organizations will also change.

Your change won’t last, or disrupt your community, unless those around you personally embrace the change first, at least at some level.    Let us try to understand why most people initially resist change.

There are processes that must be engaged in to bring and complete any change, often these are actions and thought patterns that are hidden. If we are to be Gods Change agents it is necessary that we become aware of our minds and people’s thinking.    As we become more people aware we can devise ways of helping lasting change.

Here are some change blockers, hindrances we will have to deal with:

Assume the worst.      We are wired to pick up threats and negative possibilities around us more than the positive. Before you say “I’m not like that”, 2/3’s of the brain cells are in the flight-fight part of our brain, the amygdala, are wired to pick up on the negative (Hanson, 2010).  Generally people’s initial response to change comes from these emotional centers rather than from their thinking centers.

Knowledge gaps fill with fear instead of faith.  The insecurity and instability about change does cultivate fear. The less information that people have to fill in the knowledge gaps, the greater the fear, which in turn brings about resistance to any change.

No second chances to make a good first impression.       Neuroscientists have shown it to be true (Lount et al., 2008). Poorly introduced change will always start your change on the wrong footing.

Change is emotional.                 Just presenting facts without engaging positive and hopeful emotions will seldom move your forward.    A large number of people make decisions based on emotion.

I can’t handle it.                 Trying to create too much change too quickly can engage the brain’s fear center and cause people to resist, thus hindering change (Hemp, 2009).

“Old habits die-hard” We all have a tendency to return to where we have been or what we have known, they say, as we get older we default quicker to what we know.   How easy is it for us to think about other options.   We have set up habits and it’s a tug-of-war between the familiar and easy

The nearer the change the more resistant we become.      Peoples’ response to change, changes over time.   Introduce a change a year ahead and initially the benefits are seen, the options look good. The negatives such as more work, recruiting more people more time needed don’t seem very large at that point.    Neuroscientists have discovered that when the change is far away, the positives usually outweigh the negatives (Löw et al., 2008). However, the closer we think about the implications and the personal cost. Uninformed optimism gives way to informed pessimism.

Change is interpreted as a threat.             We are told the brain is organized around a fundamental principle—minimize threat-maximize reward—that results in either resistance or openness. Change perceived as a threat produces resistance. Change brings uncertainty and we don’t like it, well our brain does not like it.

when ever change is presented keep these insights in mind so you can work out a plan to Unknownovercome them.

The bible quotes “who builds a house without first counting the cost” the counting the cost is not to prevent but to be realistic in the demands that will be put upon us, Abraham “counted his body as good as dead yet believed God” when the promise of a son was made.   That is, he saw the impossibility, the change at the age he and Sarah was, yet believed a promise, believed God, a God word over the negative emotions of “you cannot be serious”.

We are to “set our eyes on the Christ”’ Paul encouraged us to forget what has happened and press on through to the gain.   There is something so strong in seeing what God has said in all our change and holding on when the insecurity of the change comes.

Find a friend in time of need, that when we are in that place find others who are not in their negative but who have worked through the change and talk, tell of your patterns of thought and walk together learning from others who have changed and are changing.

FUNDAMENTALLY DEVELOP A CULTURE OF CHANGE, readiness to change and a willingness to constantly embrace change, some times keep flexible in making changes in your life to keep change alive, change room layouts, move your desk, change decoration, change your habit patterns, change eating try something new, try something uncommon to you, do something that demands you to say ‘I don’t know how to do this’ or ‘what I am doing’, find a new sport all these and other ways of cultivating change help us to be change agents first to us then to those we touch.

Questions to ponder:

What have you seen in others that make them averse to change?

Who around me deals well with change?

How can I make the benefits of change be big in mind and experience constantly?

How can I build a reason for change that out weights the insecurity and instability I will feel, CHANGE is part of life, it is maturing, growing up and older it will not go away it will knock on the door of your life daily, LEARN TO EMBRACE IT.


Plan and eternal one at that!

images-9When we read the opening passage of Ephesians we really find an apostle that has been empowered and inspired, one has to ask I wonder what he is taking for that?    In the days of challenge we have to look at what it is that keeps people running.    What is it that has resurrected this once murderer  of the family of God?  or certainly one that engineered the taking of the church?   Through Paul’s writing we have a glimpse of who he is and what he sees along with his feelings and revelations.     Guidelines of that which is gotten hold of him. I would say we would do well to consider and focus our attention on what Paul focused on.

A fundamental change has taken place in our thinking that enables us to get onto the same understanding as Paul.   I remember as a young Christian when we were taught about the rapture, the decline of the testimony of God and the great darkness of this world. But today  it is settled, this world all of it is God’s world. God created everything, everything that happens God is to be found, Father, Son and Spirit, God in everything creation, humanity.

You cannot read Paul’s outline on Ephesians 1 without realising that it is a plan, a plan from the eternal but it was set in place long before creation. It included “ a lamb slain before the foundation of the world” amongst other things.    You could say this is  the secret behind all things, it is that which governs the movement of world, a movement towards the culmination of God’s plan. In this plan God is fully involved and God has designated One to bring about this plan.   The description of  Acts 17:31, ” God has fixed a day in which God will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” clearly paints the picture that this One is the horizon of all things, the reference point,  the culmination, the source and the beginning of all Gods’ aims.   The word “…appointed…” in this passage is ‘horizio’ where we get our word for horizon from.    This Christ has now fulfilled all the Father had in mind.

My appeal for every one of us is that we come out from the doldrums of self and come into to the great wide open spaces of the plan of God. Over the years we’ve all been challenged by an understanding of the gospel of God, moving us from a declining view of the church, to beginning to understand the Triumph of Christ.    I believe that along with the triumph of Christ, the celebration of God is brought into clarity, many need this message of the plan of God.   In motion, but not out of time, it is not  late or early but is being the fulfilled and being fulfilled.   Many are struggling with daily challenges, health issues and financial strain but the scripture  is clear it has been finished, this plan of God is complete,  we have the joy of bringing it to life today so that all of creation is impacted.

This day each one of us is being retrained through perseverance,  a term that has been around for many years and one that was used much in the old Pentecostal  setting where  I came to Christ, that is, we are learning to travail.   This  means I fix the nature of the Father Son and Spirit,  I set in my mind the call of God and become unwavering, as I persevere.

Christ, the Son has stepped forward and has worked out the eternal purpose. Paul  is captured, his preface taken away, his words he feels are lacking, his life’s goal and ambition, the course has been set, to the point that he compares beatings, points of near dying as “light afflictions”, he is overwhelmed in awe of what has happened as he tries to outline in the first chapter of Ephesians.  The work is finished and the plan on course it captured Paul, it should capture you and me, and maintain our advance and journey.   This Ephesians 1 is Paul’s attempt to wake us up!