Repentance, turning around, growing, maturing, taking on new ideas, new journeys, new ventures, what do they all have in common. There is a thread that fixes these and other challenges of living together, it is called CHANGE. If we are to move forward and live our Christian life to the full we must be able to embrace change, knowing it is imperative for us to understand the full elements of change. Change brings about insecurity, emotionally. I like the picture from the sporting world in the area of boxing; the unstable time for a boxer is when the boxer changes their stance it is an unstable moment; change brings instability, which we have to negotiate. The church asks for change but very rarely helps us in the instability and emotional challenge of the change. Wise people understand that lasting change requires them as individuals to change first before anything around them will change, in the same way influencers or leaders know if they change that which they are responsible for in their stewardship of people or organizations will also change.
Your change won’t last, or disrupt your community, unless those around you personally embrace the change first, at least at some level. Let us try to understand why most people initially resist change.
There are processes that must be engaged in to bring and complete any change, often these are actions and thought patterns that are hidden. If we are to be Gods Change agents it is necessary that we become aware of our minds and people’s thinking. As we become more people aware we can devise ways of helping lasting change.
Here are some change blockers, hindrances we will have to deal with:
Assume the worst. We are wired to pick up threats and negative possibilities around us more than the positive. Before you say “I’m not like that”, 2/3’s of the brain cells are in the flight-fight part of our brain, the amygdala, are wired to pick up on the negative (Hanson, 2010). Generally people’s initial response to change comes from these emotional centers rather than from their thinking centers.
Knowledge gaps fill with fear instead of faith. The insecurity and instability about change does cultivate fear. The less information that people have to fill in the knowledge gaps, the greater the fear, which in turn brings about resistance to any change.
No second chances to make a good first impression. Neuroscientists have shown it to be true (Lount et al., 2008). Poorly introduced change will always start your change on the wrong footing.
Change is emotional. Just presenting facts without engaging positive and hopeful emotions will seldom move your forward. A large number of people make decisions based on emotion.
I can’t handle it. Trying to create too much change too quickly can engage the brain’s fear center and cause people to resist, thus hindering change (Hemp, 2009).
“Old habits die-hard” We all have a tendency to return to where we have been or what we have known, they say, as we get older we default quicker to what we know. How easy is it for us to think about other options. We have set up habits and it’s a tug-of-war between the familiar and easy
The nearer the change the more resistant we become. Peoples’ response to change, changes over time. Introduce a change a year ahead and initially the benefits are seen, the options look good. The negatives such as more work, recruiting more people more time needed don’t seem very large at that point. Neuroscientists have discovered that when the change is far away, the positives usually outweigh the negatives (Löw et al., 2008). However, the closer we think about the implications and the personal cost. Uninformed optimism gives way to informed pessimism.
Change is interpreted as a threat. We are told the brain is organized around a fundamental principle—minimize threat-maximize reward—that results in either resistance or openness. Change perceived as a threat produces resistance. Change brings uncertainty and we don’t like it, well our brain does not like it.
The bible quotes “who builds a house without first counting the cost” the counting the cost is not to prevent but to be realistic in the demands that will be put upon us, Abraham “counted his body as good as dead yet believed God” when the promise of a son was made. That is, he saw the impossibility, the change at the age he and Sarah was, yet believed a promise, believed God, a God word over the negative emotions of “you cannot be serious”.
We are to “set our eyes on the Christ”’ Paul encouraged us to forget what has happened and press on through to the gain. There is something so strong in seeing what God has said in all our change and holding on when the insecurity of the change comes.
Find a friend in time of need, that when we are in that place find others who are not in their negative but who have worked through the change and talk, tell of your patterns of thought and walk together learning from others who have changed and are changing.
FUNDAMENTALLY DEVELOP A CULTURE OF CHANGE, readiness to change and a willingness to constantly embrace change, some times keep flexible in making changes in your life to keep change alive, change room layouts, move your desk, change decoration, change your habit patterns, change eating try something new, try something uncommon to you, do something that demands you to say ‘I don’t know how to do this’ or ‘what I am doing’, find a new sport all these and other ways of cultivating change help us to be change agents first to us then to those we touch.
Questions to ponder:
What have you seen in others that make them averse to change?
Who around me deals well with change?
How can I make the benefits of change be big in mind and experience constantly?
How can I build a reason for change that out weights the insecurity and instability I will feel, CHANGE is part of life, it is maturing, growing up and older it will not go away it will knock on the door of your life daily, LEARN TO EMBRACE IT.