3 Attitudes to Embrace Change

Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “The only constant in change.” Sometimes, life feels that way, doesn’t it? Even when the change is positive, it can still cause our stomachs to somersault.

In less than a month, I went from single to married and enrolled as a student for a summer class while juggling a full-time job. Exciting? For sure! Nerve-wracking? Maybe a little.

Along the way, I realized my attitudes determine whether I enjoy the change or let it cause undo stress in my life. Maybe these takeaways are simplistic, but I hope they’ll help you if you’re facing changes.

#1: Welcome the Newness

Usually, a few moments after my head hits my pillow, I’m out cold. I tell my now-husband not to worry about waking me when he leaves for work, because I can basically sleep through anything.

However, the night before my wedding, I couldn’t sleep. I may have managed 3-4 hours, and that’s a generous estimate.

There’s something about newness, uncertainty, and the unknown that unnerves us. At two in the morning on my wedding day, I realized I had two choices: embrace the newness, even if it’s awkward, or over-think it and make it even more awkward. I chose to laugh at my clumsy moments in the first few weeks of marriage and reminded myself that I will only be newly-married once. Why not relish the newness instead of cringe at it?

That’s what I decided to do, and as a result, I absolutely enjoyed those moments. Looking back on those first few weeks brings a smile to my lips and no regrets.

#2: Savor the Season

Here’s the other thing about change. It doesn’t last forever. The wedding day comes and goes. The honeymoon ends. The first day of class becomes a daily routine.

What if instead of dreading the unknown, we focus on the anticipation? What if instead of worrying about failure or making mistakes, we look forward to learning and an opportunity to grow?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (NKJV).

There are times for change, and each season brings its own challenges and blessings. Let’s re-train our thinking to forecast joy instead of pain and abundance instead of scarcity.

#3: Remember Tomorrow’s Change Becomes Today’s Comfort Zone

Stop and think about that statement. The event or situation today that has us on pins and needles might very well be our new comfort zone in a few months or even a few weeks. That new job won’t be new forever, and we’ll be the seasoned employee and not the new hire before too long.

Through all of life’s changes, we can fix our eyes on the One constant that never changes: Jesus Christ, “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV). Whether change makes us want to laugh or cry, if we’re God’s children, we have the assurance that He will always be with us (Hebrews 13:5).

What change are you facing that has you on edge? How might a change of perspective help you embrace it instead of lose sleep?

~ Kristen

I’m grateful that this post first appeared on DailyPS.com.

Tweetables

3 Attitudes to Embrace Change – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Forecast joy instead of pain and abundance instead of scarcity – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

2 Upsides of Uncertainty

I hate suspense, which is ironic since I write young adult novels packed with conflict. Relegating uncertainty to fiction seems safe, because I (as author) am in control. Uncertainty in real life, I don’t always handle so well. Please tell me I’m not alone here.

Uncertainty comes in all forms, including that four-letter-word wait. Maybe you’re waiting to hear back on an interview. Any day, you could get the phone call that the job is yours—or that the hiring manager chose someone else. Or perhaps you had a medical test last week and still haven’t received the results.

At other times, uncertainty comes when we’re facing a decision, and we can’t tell up from down or good from better. It could be choosing a college, deciding to move forward with a relationship, or wondering whether to rent, buy, or room.

The uncertainties of life are endless. Since they’re not going away, let’s learn to focus on the positives they present.

Click here to read the full post on DailyPS.com.

~ Kristen

Tweetable

2 Upsides of Uncertainty – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

The Season of Change

The fact Florida doesn’t experience foliage proves to be a sore spot for many residents. Personally, I’m happy to live with the trade-off of year-round sunshine since driving north a state or two lets me visit fall in all its glory.

However, I may be the exception. The other day, a friend shared a graphic of the current fall foliage, which met with nearly unanimous groans. The focus was my home state, Florida, and the key read something like this:

With some, I’ll never win the sunshine over foliage argument. However, there’s one season that proximity to the equator doesn’t determine. The season of change doesn’t discriminate like fall colors or winter flurries do.

In any given year, we may face changes in jobs, professions, schools, churches, or relationships. Maybe we made or didn’t make the team this year. Maybe our new commitments require cutting out other good things from our calendars.

How do we deal with change? As I thought about this question, I remembered high school science projects (of all things), because the scientific method takes a positive, proactive approach to problem solving. In many ways, change is a “problem,” but not in the negative sense of the word. It’s a challenge, something through which we can grow and learn.

That said, here is a semi-scientific approach that may help us deal with the unavoidable changes in life.

#1: Identify the constants.

Regardless if our world seems to be spinning, God and His Word remain solid.

  • “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV).
  • “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8 NKJV).

Though change can be uncomfortable, it can also drive us closer to God as we seek to understand His plan for our lives.

#2: Consider the variables.

“Ten years from now, will ______ make a difference?” My mom asked my brothers and me this question all the time when I was growing up, and I grudgingly came to realize she was right. Often, some perspective can help us realize that change isn’t the end of the world.

However, some decisions will have long-lasting consequences. Where we go to college, what career we choose, and who we marry will impact the course of our lives. We would be foolish not to bring these decisions before the Lord in prayer, seek godly advice from family and mentors, and consider how the options align with the calling God’s placed on our lives.

#3: Form your best solution.

Recently, I was talking with a friend and mentor whom God has called to a new opportunity and place. He told me he’d given God every chance to close the door, and yet, God hadn’t. Instead, after hours of prayer with family and friends, he believed God was calling him to move forward in faith.

The conversation reminded me of Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths (NKJV).

Change can be conflicting and even frightening, but when we’ve done our part, the times comes when we must move forward and trust God to do His.

#4: Accept the outcome, and let God work.

Sometimes, the results exceed our wildest dreams, and other times, we wonder if we made a misstep. I remember a period in my life when I felt God had opened a door, only to find Him closing it months later. Had I misheard His voice?

Looking back, I don’t think I had. Though that season proved difficult for me, I can see how I grew through it and how God used it to bring me where I am today. Without that experience, I would have missed out on greater blessings and opportunities.

Challenges and problems aren’t always the result of sin or misguidance. They can be God’s tools to bring us where He wants us to be.

Are you facing a change and feeling unprepared? Are you stuck on any of these steps? If so, what truths from God’s Word can help you grow through the circumstances?

~ Kristen

Tweetable

The Season of Change – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Faith that Moves

 

The follow post first appeared in the spring issue of Girlz 4 Christ magazine. I felt burdened to write it after moving at the end of last year and hope it will be a blessing to you, in whatever stage or place you find yourself. For more encouragement and inspiration on godly topics for teen girls, visit Girlz 4 Christ online.


Moving. I can’t decide what I like least about it: getting the boxes, packing, or unpacking.

Getting the boxes (if you’re thrifty like me) can involve borderline dumpster diving or soliciting the local grocery store. I felt like a puppy begging for food when I asked the clerk if she had any empty boxes. She threw me a bone and said I could check the empty pallet out back.

Since I’m a recovering perfectionist, packing boxes also poses a problem and takes forever. When I reach the unpacking stage, I empty the brown cartons with much less tenderness. They litter the hallway like landmines until I find scissors to break them down. Even once the dust settles, then begins the process of meeting neighbors, making new friends, and relearning the grocery layout.

Yes, I recently moved, and some of you can relate. Whether you’re moving with your family, into a dorm, or into your own place, relocating can be a stressful time. How do we respond to the changes when we prefer our comfort zones?

Thousands of years ago, God asked a man named Abram to move. His example shows how our faith can help us survive packing tape and uncertainty.

Faith obeys

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1 ESV)

As far as I can tell, God didn’t give Abram any advanced notice he would be moving. The previous chapter, Genesis 11, records his family’s genealogy and their one move to a place called Haran, where they all settled together (verse 31).

The word settled makes me imagine a community playground for the cousins, family cookouts by the campfire, and all the comforts of home.

Now, God called Abram to uproot his immediate family and leave behind his relatives. Doing so meant he would likely never see them again.

Has God asked you to make a hard choice? Sometimes, just “growing up” and moving out can bring mixed emotions. (Other times, both parents and teens can’t wait for the process to start!)

Often, we’re reluctant to give up the familiar, but when God calls us to go somewhere or do something, we can know He has our best interests at heart.

And so, Abram went. He packed up everything, even though he didn’t have an address to give the moving truck.

Faith obeys, even when it can’t see beyond the very next step.

Faith starts over

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (Genesis 12:4)

Moving at any age is hard, but can we even imagine what starting from scratch at seventy-five would have felt like?

Granted, life expectancies were longer in Abram’s day. His father, Terah, died at 205 years of age (Genesis 11:32). However, in many ways, life was harder. People traveled in caravans but not the mini-van kind. Horses and camels, not cars, provided much slower transportation.

When we think of moving, our biggest concerns are making friends at a new school, learning to live with roommates, or figuring out which aisle of the neighborhood Publix stocks Edy’s® cookie dough ice cream. (Yes, it’s my favorite.)

Abram had to worry about finding pasture for his livestock, digging a well, protecting his company from marauders, and keeping the peace among his traveling group. Turns out, his nephew Lot’s herdsmen didn’t like Abram’s, but that’s another story (Genesis 13:7).

When God asks us to “start over,” how can we make the best of the situation?

  • Focus on what we’ve gained, not on what we’ve lost. Practice contentment in “whatever situation” we find ourselves, like the Apostle Paul did (Philippians 4:11).
  • Put the “interests of others” above our own (Philippians 2:4). When we look for ways to bless others, we find ourselves blessed in return. No place feels more like home than one graced with hospitality.
  • Remember that God stays by our sides during times of change. “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (I Thessalonians 5:24).

Faith trusts

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3)

If you’re going through a transition, move or otherwise, the future can feel uncertain, even scary. More than ever, we need to cling to God’s promises.

That’s what Abram did, and God promised him some things that seemed impossible! After all, his wife Sarai was barren (Genesis 11:30), and though seventy-five wasn’t the end of the road for him, he wasn’t a spring chicken.

But Abram believed God would do what He said (Romans 4:3). Yes, at times his faith wavered and he made some poor choices, but he continued to trust God to accomplish what He had promised.

And guess what? God did.

What promises help strengthen your faith? Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Joshua 1:9
  • Psalm 32:8
  • Psalm 84:11
  • Psalm 138:8
  • Psalm 139:9-10

I challenge you to look them up … And please share some of your own in the comments below!  Your favorite promise might just be what someone else needs to hear.

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

Faith that Moves – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

When you can’t see the next step – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)