Written By: Clarissa Mangaran
In every lifestyle choice, change is inevitable. For some lifestyles, however, (i.e., military life) change seems to happen much more frequently and in a dramatic way. Changing duty stations can mean moving across the country or even going overseas. It means changing communities, landscape, friendships, jobs, schools, etc. Uprooting your entire life every few years comes with a roller coaster of emotions.
Change = Growth
Sometimes when God calls us to something new we want to stay put and avoid change because we think we know what’s best for our lives, more than God does. We often look at change as losing something. But when God calls us to move it’s always for something better for us, for deeper connection with Him, and richer relationships with those around us.
When I think of change I think of water. When water is stagnant nothing is going in and nothing is going out. It gets disgusting, smelly, and dirty. But flowing water is constantly being renewed, constantly changing; fresh water continuously flowing in and flowing out. Flowing water sustains life. Change is a powerful thing. Our God Himself is unchanging, however, He is dynamic; always doing something new, creating, and transforming.
When God calls you to a new season He is taking you to a place where He has incredible things to show you and for you to do. Change also creates new opportunities to help more people. If God moves you to a new neighborhood or church or job it means there are people there that will need things only you are uniquely equipped to do.
Are your eyes on God or are they on your changing circumstances? Your answer will determine whether you embrace change or you resist it. The Lord gives you the beautiful gift and power to choose how you will react to change. Keeping your eyes fixed on God allows you to see your circumstances through His eyes.
In Exodus, the Israelites experienced a dramatic change from slavery in Egypt, to 40 years in the wilderness, to entering the Promised Land. As soon as there was an obstacle, the Israelites would grumble and complain and they would cry out to go back to slavery. What?! When God brings you into a new season and you face obstacles, do you find yourself complaining and wishing to go back to your old life? God is in the business of transformation, especially of your mind and your heart. You need to look forward and continue moving in the direction God is calling you to, even through trials. The Israelites never would have gotten into the Promised Land without following God’s lead, and embracing the change He had for them. Actually, the Israelites who didn’t embrace change never made it into the Promised Land. Their lack of faith in God’s authority meant missing out on God’s promises.
That time in the wilderness was actually a season of rest for the Israelites. They weren’t obligated to build for the Egyptians, and they didn’t need to worry about finding resources for their survival. All they had to do was to rest in God’s provision for all of their needs and follow Him. Sometimes you’re resisting change with all your strength and grit but God could actually be calling you into a new season to give you rest. And when you get there, it’s ultimately up to you if you will actually use that season to rest in His provision and follow His lead.
I absolutely love change! I see change as an opportunity for adventure and new experiences. I see change as an opportunity to grow and learn new things, meet new people, hear new stories, and expand my life experiences. My husband’s career in the Navy provided an abundance of new experiences in new places with new faces. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of hardships and struggles along the way, but overall we loved the constant change. I’ll be honest, it’s not moving frequently that I struggle with. I struggle with being still for “too long”. It’s when I know that there’s a new season around the corner, but the Lord hasn’t called me to move yet. Sometimes change for me is being still and waiting on God. I struggle with being still long enough for God to develop me and refine me and deepen my trust in Him. Sometimes that change is being still long enough to appreciate my current surroundings and the people around me. But you can bet as soon as the Lord gives me the green light to move….I’m off and running again!
God doesn’t call you to live in fear. God kicked off 2018 for me with Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid , do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” God used all that time in the wilderness to develop the Israelites’ trust in Him. He transformed their mindset from that of bondage to one of freedom and victory. He showed them over and over and over again that He was faithful to them. The Lord worked diligently to prepare the Israelites to go in and fight for the Promised Land which God had already given over to them. The Israelites did not need to be afraid or discouraged because God went before them and made a way. They just needed to obey when He called them to move. Likewise, you don’t need to be afraid or discouraged when facing change because the Lord already went before you and made a way. He won’t leave you or forsake you as Deuteronomy 31:6 says. He has already been preparing you to be able to do exactly what you need in order to have victory in your next season.
Without fail, every season of transition or change is guaranteed to come with some bumps in the road, but God is so faithful to remind you that He is always with you, ready in an instant to help you as you cry out to Him. The combination of studying God’s Word and heartfelt prayers helps you to (1) identify any problems or hurdles, (2) remember the Lord’s great power and faithfulness, and (3) know what He wants you to do. When you deal with difficulties with prayer you’re better able to have an eternal perspective on any situation and then have a better attitude to deal with them.
In Nehemiah chapter one, Nehemiah responded to hearing about the walls of Jerusalem in ruin with prayer. He asked the Lord for favor and success before asking the king of Susa for permission to go rebuild the wall. If you know God is calling you to a season of change, it means He already has a purpose and a plan in motion. Do as Nehemiah did and pray for favor and success for what lies ahead. When God’s plan is at stake you need to pray for it to succeed; not for personal gain, but for God’s glory!
Embrace change. Don’t fear it. God is always at work for your good and the good of those around you: Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 8:28.
Written By: Clarissa Mangaran