Raise Your Hand if You Don't Like Change
May 23, 2018
If somebody were to ask for a show of hands of who resists change, I’d immediately shoot my hand up with enthusiasm as if I knew the answer to a prize-winning question. Me! Me! No hesitation, no thoughtfully squinted glance upward, no internal hmm in contemplation. Definitely me. Or at least it used to be me. Now change and I are cautious friends, who occasionally bicker and avoid each other, but on most days have a peaceful, even pleasurable, coexistence.

Did I volunteer for this renovation? No, I went kicking and screaming, and along the way, I learned a couple of reasons why I put up such a fight.

Change Involves Hard Work
The process of change takes a lot of effort. Often we aren’t avoiding the change itself; we’re avoiding the hard work of change. We’re focusing on the effort we have to put forth and the pain it might involve instead of focusing on the positive gain. My revision of the “no pain, no gain” cliché: If I don’t push for the gain, I won’t feel the pain.

Take weight loss, for example. If we want to change our physical appearance and improve our health, we have to forgo the wonderful mixture of salt and grease in McDonald’s fries, the comforting ooze of butter melting on mashed potatoes, and the intimate bond of hot fudge with toasted almond ice cream. (Don’t go to the kitchen—keep reading!) And we have to exercise more, even when we’re already tired, when we’re overwhelmingly busy, and when increased speed and motion remind some of us of our jiggling ways. This is hard work.

If we want to heal from past hurts, change a character flaw, or maintain better boundaries, we are really in for a lot of work! To bring about true and lasting change, we have to dig deep, exposing wounds and weaknesses we have skillfully buried for years. We have to cry, journal, pray, and share our need for healing with others when we’d much rather keep it hidden. We have to let go of past wrongs, relationships, and routines when it would be easier to maintain the status quo, settling into what is comfortable and familiar.

Change Means Stepping into the Unknown
Perhaps the greatest reason we resist change is fear.

If we accept a job that seems above our capabilities, begin or end a relationship, or agree to responsibilities outside of our comfort zone, we don’t know what will happen. We don’t know if we’ll fail or succeed, be accepted or rejected, look foolish or intelligent. We wonder about God’s will. If we choose to make a change and the results are different than what we expected, we wonder if we heard God correctly. Did we make the right choice?

As I fearfully staggered into the unwanted devastation of divorce and then began the emotionally and intellectually challenging task of writing a book about it, I learned to take one step at a time. With each step, I cried out to God for strength, guidance, and healing. With each step, I sought help from friends, family, and support groups. Then I trusted God for the outcome, knowing God wanted the best for me and realizing the outcome was beyond my control anyway.
From Broken Vows to Healed Hearts
Seeking God After Divorce, Through Community, Scripture, and Journaling
This unique book covers topics such as depression, loneliness, forgiveness, hope, and even joy. Each of the twelve chapters includes five days of devotionals and journaling questions. From Broken Vows to Healed Hearts leads readers through the process of realizing that brokenness is a stage, not an identity. Mitchell encourages women to maintain hope for healing, to be patient with the time recovery takes, to be committed to community, and, above all, to seek God. 

In the absence of divine stop signs or closed doors, perhaps we need to lean into change instead of sinking into our worn, familiar chairs where we can get stuck. What if we settle for old comfort instead of new blessings? What if we don’t take risks and miss opportunities? What if we’re passing on the chance to see God work in miraculous ways, beyond our abilities and understanding? Maybe these are the what-ifs of change we should fear instead.

Change for me has brought healing and new opportunities. No, my change has been neither easy nor fearless, and it certainly hasn’t been without some failures. But it has been worth it. Change has brought me new friends, new opportunities, and a revived relationship with God.
Change can be very, very good.

Raise your hand if you’re ready to make change your friend.
Rebecca is an English composition lecturer at the University of California, Davis. For the past three years, she has led Bible studies in her home for single women through her church in Roseville, California. Because of her personal experience and heart for those recovering from divorce, she has written From Broken Vows to Healed Hearts: Seeking God After Divorce Through Community, Scripture, and Journaling, released May 22, 2018.