Unless it’s advantageously orchestrated by us, or randomly beneficial to us, nobody likes change. We like things to be the way we are used to having them. Nobody wants to be suddenly thrown off their game. Yet there’s a big problem. Change is always happening. They say it’s the only constant thing in life.
A baby grows every day, no matter how cute we wish they remain. So does a puppy. Friends come and go, as “twenty friends can’t play together for twenty years.” People die, others move away. Some get married and change friends, others simply outgrow the friendship. These are things we can’t control, and that’s exactly what unwelcome change is: an affront to our perceived power and control over our own lives.
I was a recent target of such affront. First of all, I’m a big proponent of avoiding unnecessary stress in life. Big changes, whether good or bad, cause stress. So getting married, changing jobs, having a baby, moving houses, and the like, are all good things that come with a big amount of stress. It’s thus wise to make sure that these stressors don’t occur too close together.
Unless you cannot avoid it, you shouldn’t be moving cities to go take a new job because you have to get married to a man who lives there and happens to be the father of your expected child. Too much going on there. Too much waiting to unfold. Too many life events clustered to produce more than enough stress for the ordinary person to handle.
Anyway, that’s why I decided to spread things out. I knew my wife was pregnant, and we needed a better place to live. In our living situation, we had no control over which neighbours we had and their choice of being cannabis puffers. So we knew what to do. In order not to have two stress events back-to-back, we moved out while she still had a good number of months to go. We decided that having the landlord as a neighbor, instead, assured us some long term stability too. All was well. Nothing much was going to change for a long time except having a baby, and the initial craziness that comes with that. At least we would have the bandwidth to handle that, with every other thing staying the same.
“No,” said Mr. Change as it made its bold affront to our perceived power and control. It threw us a curve ball. Make that two. First, I got reassigned at work; I was asked to join a team where I’ll be dropping my old, stable tasks to learn and do new ones. Second, our ‘stable’ landlord broke to us that he’ll be moving out soon and renting out the space, after initially promising us that he was there for the long term. How disappointing!
So we’re back to what we were trying to avoid. Having a baby, changing jobs, and changing neighbours/living arrangements. Only this time, it’s entirely out of our control. That’s what change does. It throws you off your game. It brings stressors your way. And it’s essentially up to you to decide whether you’ll stay off your game or steer yourself back on track. Whether you’ll allow the stressors translate to a stressful life full of complaining, whining and bellyaching or instead allow them to stretch and grow you into a much better version of yourself.
The stress that change brings is a result of the stretching that occurs — a stretching that leads to growth if we so choose. So we’ll welcome this change. We’ll strive to be the best parents, the best workers and the best neighbours that we can be. And with God —the unchanging one — on our side, we’ll be able to take on the little extra changes that may accompany these major ones.
After all, the more that things change, the more we must depend on things that never change. And as far as we can tell, the most dependable constant in life is God almighty, our steady anchor in a raging sea, and He gives the grace to deal with the most undependable constant in life: change.