How you react to change tells a lot about you. What do you do?
Different ways to react to change:
- Try to ignore it – I don’t suggest this. Usually, this becomes more and more difficult until it bubbles over until it must be focused on.
- Fight it – I also don’t suggest this. Before you feel like I am judging, know that I have used all of these ways to handle the stress of change. I know these all too well.
- Try to understand it – This can be dangerous because you can’t always understand change or why it happens. Sometimes things happen, and we don’t know why. We can’t kill ourselves trying to figure it out in order to be okay with it.
- Accept it – This is a good way to handle change, but it may not be enough. Change usually requires some kind of action. Accepting change can sometimes mean falling into a kind of slump, a sort of depression. Life is the way it is, and I can’t do anything about it.
- Own it – I believe that this option is the best one. I had such a difficult time with looking my fibromyalgia square in the face, calling it mine, and leaning into what God was teaching me through it.
One of the most difficult aspects of fibromyalgia is its unpredictability. How can I remain calm when I suddenly feel like my whole body is on fire or my joints are screaming in pain like they are being pulled apart in every direction?
One of my favorite discoveries has been that I don’t have to remain calm. It is a shock to my body, and I can treat it as such. There is no use trying to hold it in. Should I scream in the middle of a conference, probably not, but I can give myself the grace to slip out quietly and cry in the bathroom. There has been so much freedom in just allowing myself to feel the emotions that come from my body not being normal. In fact, I have found that it even reduces the escalation of my symptoms. It’s okay that I am in pain. I can acknowledge the fact.
There are two options for coping with change. It can make us stronger, or it can make us weaker. We are stronger when we run toward it. A while ago I was changed greatly by an article I read, Run Toward the Roar. This is an amazing post by Davey Blackburn about facing fears by using the analogy of how lions capture their prey. Did you know that the male lion intimidates his prey by roaring so that the prey runs away, straight into the female lions waiting, lethal paws? He points out that this is what happens when we run away from our fears. Instead of saving us, running from change can actually cause more pain.
It is good to remember that it is okay to lament lost time and comfort in the form of change, even David did so.
With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy the Lord. I pour out my complaint before Him; I tell my trouble before Him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. – Psalms 142:1-4
Change does not define us. It can help us become better people, but the change in our life is not who we are. If we remember who we are despite whatever change happens in our lives we will be more than conquerors.
We have been given a chance to become better through change. I hope we take it.