“I Choose Not To Run” And Other Ways We Deal With Change

Tired Maeby

On my way home from Starbucks my moped was working hard to get me up the mountain towards my home. Unless you’ve been to Kona you don’t realize that pretty much everything is going up or doing down the mountain. As I’m slowly working my way up I notice a beautiful woman in work out clothes holding something furry as she trudges up the mountain on the sidewalk. Thankfully it’s my beautiful woman so I can take a closer look. It turns out she he is holding our Shitzu Terrier Maeby Bruce Burgess. Cyndi had set out to take Maebe for a walk, but for some reason Maebe was now taking Cyndi for a walk. Cyndi put our dog down on the sidewalk when she saw me and we both laughed. She. Would. Not. Budge. No amount of calling or coaxing would cause this dog to move another inch. She was done! Maeby loved going for cool walks on even terrain in Seattle, but this was not Seattle, even or cool. Two days into her new life here in Kona and she had decided she had endured more change then any dog should have to. I yelled out “I choose not to run” and both Cyndi and I laughed again as it brought to mind one of our favorite Seinfeld episodes.

We all often feel this way when it comes to dealing with change. They say the only constant in life is change. It’s a true statement, but I still find myself surprised at how much changes in life. As if I can just choose to keep the things the same and somehow all of life’s circumstances must comply to my wishes. But, it never works out that way does it? Change is an often painful and poignant reminder that I am not God, I am not in control, and I have no idea what’s going to happen next. Like Seinfeld and Maeby sometimes we are just so overwhelmed by the change and potential failure it implies that we simply sit down and refuse to move. Go ahead life! Pass me by! I’m done. I’m toast. I’m through. I choose not to run. It’s hot where it used to be cold. It’s high where it used to be low. It’s sad where it used to be happy. It’s insane where it used to be peaceful. It’s tiring where it used to be refreshing. It’s difficult where it used to be easy. It’s loud where it used to be quiet. We expect these feelings of exasperation in the face of negative change like death or loss of a job. However, we are often taken completely off guard in the face of positive change because we don’t think it’s going to effect us in a negative way. Why am I sad, stressed or even depressed after a wedding, a graduation, a promotion to a new position or a move to a new location? Studies have shown that change, any change, even positive change, registers in the brain the same way we respond to the death of a friend or loved one. So, it makes sense that we try to avoid change like the plague, even changes that we need to make because, change feels like the plague to our brain.
There is another option to dealing with the inevitable change around us though. Instead of hiding, avoiding, ignoring, resenting, or refusing to acknowledge the change we can fully embrace the opportunity it provides. Like my dog Maeby, I have felt overwhelmed with the massive amount of change in my life since moving from Seattle three months ago. It’s been positive change, but change nonetheless. As all of my family, friends, positions of authority, reputation, and habits were left in Seattle I found myself rushing to find my “new normal”. I felt God challenge me in a prayer time recently to not seek a “new normal”, new patterns similar to the old ones, new habits that felt familiar, new escapes like those I had in Seattle, but instead to find a new abiding. To allow the change of all that was familiar to drive me to new and deeper connection in Christ is is to get the most out of the change in our lives. Both positive and negative change can be an amazing opportunity to draw closer to Him then ever before and in the process discover some new things about ourselves. So, instead of “I choose not to run” I invite you to say with me “I choose to run to Him.”

7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:1-11 (NKJV)