Coping with Change
God is the only constant in our ever-changing lives
Everything that should change stays the same, and
everything that should stay the same changes.
A friend of mine has echoed that observation several times in the past few weeks. It reflects her struggle with all the changes and transitions she's going through. Newly divorced, a single parent, she's mother, caregiver, nurse, worker, taxi-driver, maid, cook, shopper, tutor, schedule juggler, mediator and on and on. While she's played all these roles before, she now has to manage them completely on her own. The transition is not easy, there aren't enough hours in the day and, at times, she is overwhelmed. I sometimes think about how she, and the rest of us, cope with all that is going on.
It seems that change is the one constant in our lives. Jobs, homes, cars, clothes, appearance and possessions all change. Health, hope and happiness. Philosophy, politics and beliefs. Morals, ethics and values. Even friends, families, spouses and/or lovers change. The world keeps changing, and so do we. Life is full of transitions and as we age, our lives and roles change, too. Before we know it, we've moved from youth to middle age to our "golden years." There are so many things in life that change and not always in ways that we want.
With these transitions, we are called upon to adapt, change, grow. It can be demanding, complicating, confusing, frustrating. We rely on our basic coping strategies. We use our wisdom, tolerance, flexibility and adaptability. We look to our friends and family for support and advice. We use our sense of humor and irony. Sports, recreation, hobbies, travel, fun, etc.offer stress relief. Sometimes, we work with a therapist or a pastor. And, of course, many of us rely on our faith to deal with life's changes. But even our spiritual life is subject to change throughout our spiritual journey. The way we believed in our childhood is often quite different from our spiritual beliefs as thirty-somethings, forty-somethings, fifty-somethings, etc. Oh, for the innocence and simplicity of childhood! Isn't there anything we can count on?
The friend mentioned above sometimes answers that question simply: God has been the one thing, the only thing, she knew she could always count on. And she's right. The one thing we can rely on, the one constant in this sea of change and transition, is God's grace and love for us. God is always there and always provides us with the love, support and strength to deal with life. Even when we "act the fool" or behave in the most un-Christian manner, God remains there for us. In our darkest hour, God provides us with light and love.
Paul once wondered aloud how God could possibly love him, such a miserable, worthless wretch of a human being. Sometimes, in the wee small hours of a restless night, I, too, wonder aloud, could God really love me? And the answer always comes back the same. "Yes." Incredible as it might sound to me, I am loved.
Change and transition don't always have to be bad things. God's love and strength can help us deal with them. Through faith and prayer, we can find opportunities for hope, growth and second chances in change. We can make our lives what we want to make them. Lives that better reflect our thoughts and beliefs. Lives more grounded in our faith and spirituality. A time of thanks for our many blessings. A time of applying the wisdom and insight acquired through our experiences and faith journeys. We can use God's love and strength in the most difficult of transitions. It doesn't mean that everything will go our way or that every transition and change will be painless or positive. But God is there for us.
Even as my beliefs change and evolve, I take comfort in the knowledge that God loves me. I rely on the strength that God and my faith provide me. Like my friend says, God remains the one thing I can count on throughout all the transitions I go through. God is the one constant in a world of change.
Copyright ©2004 Earle Donelson.