Change: Not Gradual Or Sudden, But Both/And

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Change.

Don’t we love change when it is our idea? At least initially, we welcome that move, anticipate that promotion, and feel exhilarated by a fresh page on which to write our story.

However, change that creeps up on us, is inflicted by another, or runs contrary to our expectations can be unwelcome and unwanted.

Pounds gained ounce by ounce, or, one morning awaking a decade older having not lamented the last 10 birthdays, but realizing this one finds you closer to middle or even old age; these are gradual changes that we are cognizant of but not attentive to until the little, seemingly subtle changes add up to a paradigm shift. I.e. I’m old! I’m overweight! I am not the person I thought I would be!

Note that last one. Changes in our character can be similar to subtle weight gain and the edging closer to the next age bracket on the census. We can either draw nearer to the person we desire to become-for some to become in Christ and for others in general-or we can, with one small decision at a time, recede away from our objective.

What about you? Where do find yourself today: at work, in relationships, with your self-assigned goals? Are you closer to the person you pictured yourself to be 5 or 10 years ago or are you farther off target than you imagined?

The continuity of change is that whether gradual or sudden, whether anticipated or shocking, whether welcomed or displeasing, it happens. In fact, change is not really gradual or sudden, it is both/and. Both gradual and sudden change is going to stare us each in the eyeballs as long as we live.

We should indeed expect the unexpected even while we anticipate the logical consequences of our everyday decisions.

Amidst all the change, one venue we possess control over is the character with which we respond to vacillating life circumstances. We can take the punches thrown at us in life from friend, foe, or our own bad decisions of the past and present and decide how we respond.

With every change there is a choice. 

We can choose to draw near to Christ or we can choose to run the opposite direction. We can choose to let our personal failures continue to knock us down the path we don’t want to go, or, we can turn on our heels and head back in the direction in which we initially aimed.

The truth of the matter is that regardless of our choice, God remains the same. He is the only unchanging factor that we can anchor our souls to. The only fixed point on which we can rely as on a compass in the wilderness of our subtle or drastic change.

Therefore, in the face of both gradual changes in our lives and sudden unexpected decisions that may send us reeling or, conversely beaming with joy, we have a choice to make. Will we let these changes, both good and bad, impede our ability to achieve the character we wish to develop? Or, will we utilize changes to improve our knowledge that ultimately our hope is anchoring our lives on the only fixed point in the universe–Jesus Christ.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. ~Psalm 90:2

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Constants for this Christmas Season

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Constant: it isn’t a word we encounter frequently in our society. A firm, fixed place to stand. A steady rhythm that continues after a whirlwind of events leaves the day-to-day landscape unrecognizable from last week’s norm.

Constants are fibers of the fabric of life that remain when the course of life’s changes, challenges, and struggles leave us with the thread bare remnants. Constants make up the backbone of life…of our faith.

Change is a natural and necessary part of life. Even good changes stretch us and cause us pain.

Therein lies another lesson; without pain there is no growth. Gains—growth—cost in the short term so that the rewards may be seen in the long term.

Perhaps you are a person who welcomes change like the mice, Sniff and Scurry in Dr. Spencer Johnson’s best-selling book, Who Moved My Cheese?  Sniff and Scurry are prepared to move on and forge ahead in the face of change. Or, maybe you are more like the mice, Hem and Haw, who lament reality and play the victimized mourners of yesterday gone by?

Continue reading at iBelieve. Click here.

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What a Difference a Year Makes

It is incredible what a difference a year makes isn’t it?

Last year at this time we were a foster-family to one incredibly endearing little boy. I frequently pounded Dunkin Donuts coffee with cream and sugar, and don’t forget the turbo shot, and we were a one-car family.

Fast-forward almost exactly one year and we are not currently fostering; I discovered in January that I am allergic to sugar, dairy, gluten, eggs, oatmeal; there goes the usual Dunkin; and, as of yesterday, my husband is the proud owner of an old-man, second-hand, Buick (complete with blue leather interior!). What a difference indeed!

Exactly one year ago I wrote a post at iBelieve entitled, Man Does Not Live On Coffee Alone. I hope you will read it below. Much has changed in the year since its original publication.

I continue to enjoy coffee twice daily–I drink it black now, or with a spoon-full of coconut oil added (don’t gag!). One thing always remains the same; the Word that sustained me then is the Word that continues to sustain me now. No matter what changes this year has brought for you, consider the words an older and wiser friend told me years ago:

He wouldn’t have brought you this far to leave you now.

God writes a story with, and of, our lives. He is outside of time so that the choices we make are not controlled by Him, but rather He sees us past, present, and future and knows the ways that we should and the ways we will take. He sustains us better than any substance ever could.

Please join me, perhaps again,or for the first time, as I recount how man does not live on coffee alone.

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The morning started out like most.  The alarm signaled the start to another day and, of course, I hit the snooze.  As the second reminder sounded, I obliged and turned the alarm off. Feet to the floor, my hand turned the worn knob, and an exhilarating smell greeted me like a welcome guest.

Ah, coffee.

This particular day brought the flavor-rich coffee to the desired boldness with the absolute perfect portion of added hazelnut creamer. Finishing off the last sip with a reading of multiple Psalms from my daily Bible reading plan – the one that I seem to always be behind on – I managed to complete my morning breakfast and Bible ritual before the kids awoke. Success!

I poured another cup, threw on my gym clothes, brushed my teeth and headed out the door to my local women’s gym. With three children and one car, my husband and I have set days to work out. I look forward to my turn each time.

Join me over at iBelieve today to finish reading this post. Click here.

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Gratitude Prompts a Change in Perspective

Gratitude Prompts a Change in Perspective

Have you ever found yourself in a new place in life and completely nostalgic for the comforts of familiarity?

A few short months after Ron and I were married we moved to his childhood home in Florida. Having lived solely in Alabama for the first 21 years of my life (18 of those in my small hometown boasting two red lights and a McDonald’s) I was excited about the move, but unaware of the challenges of change.

Moving to the beach intrigued me. Continuing my studies in communication disorders at a new university excited me. However, I was unaware of the differences in culture, accent, and even socioeconomic differences that awaited.

When change happens we crave the small, steady denominators that made home home.

I missed knowing the cashiers at the grocery store, seeing people in Walmart with whom I attended school, and familiar faces at church that held common memories in time and space. It took me many years to embrace my new identity as a Floridian.

I was focused on yesterday and the hopes of one day which would bring a return move home to Alabama. I had little desire to explore the greatness of the area in which God had placed me.

Unfortunately my inability to embrace the changes in my life perhaps robbed me of a portion of present joy.

Today, almost 12 years later, I love the area I live in. My family enjoys the recreational parks, habitat preserves, the beach, and the museums and sites near our home.

Within the last three years I have often wondered why I spent much time and energy trying to make my current home more like my childhood and less like the newness of life that God had placed me in. I missed opportunities to enjoy God’s creation in my own backyard because I was longing for the backyard 500 miles away in which I grew up.

Are you in a new location be it geographical, vocational, or missional? Maybe the novelty of your experience leaves you longing for the familiarity of yesterday. Take heart my friend! There is good to be gained from every new venture. Look around you today and purpose to find a good to be grateful for. Gradually your gratitude will give you a change in perspective. Your eyes will see not as a pilgrim longing to turn back, but as one set to forge ahead to the lasting pilgrimage of the celestial city. (See Pilgrim’s Progress)

*an edited repost

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The Challenge of Change

I am sure that you have felt it…that gentle push into the deep. The pressure to go further than you have gone before. More resistance.   A steeper incline…or a seeming free fall.

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When we are challenged to step out of the boat, into the ring, take center stage, or serve in the most humble of ways, it is all for the glory of God and the transformation of a spiritual life.

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Humans need change. We need to be pushed past our known limits so that we can achieve the unmet goals of good works that God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). This looks different in every life. Likewise, the cost of change will be felt somewhat uniquely by each individual.

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Routine and familiarity breeds comfort, but trust in the midst of change breeds faith and rejoicing.

In what areas are you being asked to make changes? Step up? Step out in faith? To endure beyond what you thought was possible?

Choose joy in this:

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6, NLT)

Take heart my friends and serve faithfully. In prayer, I will do the same.

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Gradual Gratitude

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Have you ever found yourself in a new place in life and completely nostalgic for the comforts of familiarity?

A few short months after Ron and I were married we moved to his childhood home in Florida. Having lived solely in Alabama for the first 21 years of my life (18 of those in my small hometown boasting two red lights and a McDonald’s) I was excited about the move, but unaware of the challenges of change.

Moving to the beach intrigued me. Continuing my studies in communication disorders at a new university excited me. However, I was unaware of the differences in culture, accent, and even socioeconomic differences that awaited.

When change happens we crave the small, steady denominators that made home home.

I missed knowing the cashiers at the grocery store, seeing people in Walmart with whom I attended school, and familiar faces at church that held common memories in time and space. It took me many years to embrace my new identity as a Floridian.

I was focused on yesterday and the hopes of one day which would bring a return move home to Alabama. I had little desire to explore the greatness of the area in which God had placed me.

photo (123)

Unfortunately my inability to embrace the changes in my life perhaps robbed me of a portion of present joy.

Today, almost 11 years later, I love the area I live in. My family enjoys the recreational parks, habitat preserves, the beach, and the museums and sites near our home.

Within the last year or two I have often wondered why I spent much time and energy trying to make my current home more like my childhood and less like the newness of life that God had placed me in. I missed opportunities to enjoy God’s creation in my own backyard because I was longing for the backyard 500 miles away in which I grew up.

photo (121)

Are you in a new location be it geographical, vocational, or missional? Maybe the novelty of your experience leaves you longing for the familiarity of yesterday. Take heart my friend! There is good to be gained from every new venture. Look around you today and purpose to find a good to be grateful for. Gradually your gratitude will give you a change in perspective. Your eyes will see not as a pilgrim longing to turn back, but as one set to forge ahead to the lasting pilgrimage of the celestial city. (See Pilgrim’s Progress)

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