We live in the midst of change, and sometimes we feel overwhelmed. And yet, we are made to grow, and growth cannot happen without change.
Change is not often comfortable. And we are quick to judge it, good or bad.
When our daughter, Lydia, was in the third grade, each student in her class memorized and performed a fable for the class and all the parents. This timeless story became part of our family’s shared memories, from listening to her repeatedly as she practiced. The fable Lydia told is known in many forms, one of which is “The Story of the Chinese Farmer” (you can watch it here).
Years later, when our son fractured his wrist and was bitterly disappointed to sit out part of his soccer season, I was sharing this news in dismay with a Zimbabwean friend. He responded, “You never know what this might have protected him from. Perhaps by sitting out he is avoiding a greater injury.” I recognized the fable of the Chinese farmer in his words, and it helped me reframe my thinking.
Nick Tasler, writing for the Harvard Business Review, offers another helpful approach in the midst of change:
“Focus on your values instead of your fears. Reminding ourselves of what’s important to us — family, friends, religious convictions, scientific achievement, great music, creative expression, and so on — can create a surprisingly powerful buffer against whatever troubles may be ailing us.”
Honor your feelings but don’t rush to judgment. Focus on what you love rather than what you fear. These truths from folklore and from business are also found in this beautiful passage from Paul’s letter to the Philippians (4:6-8):
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
Change is not easy, but to live and to grow is to change.Rebecca Stoltzfus