I am old enough to know that the word CHANGE is a bad word to some, or even considered a threat. So I decided to research the topic starting with quotations.
“Man has a limited biological capacity for change. When this capacity is overwhelmed, the capacity is in future shock ... Future Shock ... (is) the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time” (Alvin Toffler).
“Blessed is the man who has discovered that there is nothing permanent in life but change” (A. P. Gouthey).
The older we become, the more difficult it is for us to face changes. Why? For one thing, we seem to get our roots down deep and we don’t like them to be disturbed. The new fashions, the new ideas, new concepts and even new friend and social organizations are perceived a bit of a threat to us. We are very comfortable in our own little world, call it comfort zone, and we see no reason why anything has to change.
To the objective thinker it is accepted that life just doesn’t stand still. To put things in perspective, where there is life there must be growth, and where there is growth there must of necessity be change. This might surprise some people: the only things that stand still are things that are dead.
Let us not be naive; after all change is a part of life and you and I must know how to face change and profit from it.
We cannot help but wonder as we view events taking place around the world whether God is shaking things today – it seems at times that the very foundations of the world are being moved. That goes far beyond the political “wind of change” coined by the late Harold Macmilan alluded to years ago.
The writer of the New Testament Book of Hebrews seems to be telling, probably hinting, why God permits the world to be shaken when he wrote “That those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Heb 12:27).
Having read the Book of Hebrews, I get the impression that the book was written to a group of believers who were having a terrible struggle with change. Notwithstanding that they were Jewish believers and should have been accustomed to the sacrifices and ceremonies of Old Testament times, including Old Testament Law. But now they were Christians and everything to them had changed.
Indeed there was no more need for sacrifices, manmade temples and so on, because Christ had offered one final sacrifice forever and completely settled the sin question. Furthermore there was no need for a law written on tables of stone because God had written His law on their hearts.
CHANGE AND GRWOTH
Let us take a new look at change as an opportunity to grow. We need to grow intellectually and learn new things. Intellectual growth should lead to maturity of the mind. The idea here is that of being able to think clearly and deeply and rationally. Being able to figure things out and not accepting what is told by others hook, line and sinker as we say.
“Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive, easy to govern, but impossible to enslave” (Henry Peter Brougham).
Secondly, we need to grow emotionally and spiritually. It is said that about ninety percent of our lives is governed by emotion. The sooner we understand that we are not wood, we are not stones but human, the better.
With that said I hasten to add that life without emotion would be drab. Imagine if there were no joys and sorrows, no hopes and dismays, no triumphs and failures, human experience would lose its warmth and colour. Psychologists can bring any of these elements to life. I can’t, so I dare not make an attempt to do so.
However, for purposes of this article a few words would be in order on the matter of emotional development. Emotional expression like other complex behaviour develops through both maturation and learning. Emotions can cause problems, however, when we don’t have them in control. Out-of-control emotions can lead to high blood pressure, muscle tension, ulcers, and a variety of illnesses and so on. These negative results aren’t caused so much by the emotions themselves as by our inability to control them and use them constructively.
AGENTS OF CHANGE
Permit me to use as a back drop, these favourite lines: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change ... Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.”
As mentioned earlier, we are living in difficult times of change. It seems that God often permits changes to come to our lives to separate our metaphorical scaffolding from our main building. The most important part of a building as we know is the foundation. It is the foundation that determines the size, shape and strength of the building.
Scaffolding is important while the building is under construction, but once completed, the scaffolding must come down. Life is built in a similar fashion. The foundation must be Jesus Christ and as stated in Scripture, He is the Rock. God wants us to build on the bedrock and not on shifting sand. God never changes. “I am the Lord, I change not”. (Malachi 3:6). “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Too many people these days are confusing the function of scaffolding with that of the foundation. We are pretty good at erecting facades as if appearances are all that matter. No wonder God seems to be permitting the winds of change to blow so ferociously to disrupt status quo everywhere.
So as the continents of the world witness nerve-shattering and mind boggling economic, social and political changes, we are left to wonder what went wrong.
The mention or even idea of change is like castor oil to some citizens; but facing the challenges of change could be a good thing if dealt with rationally, dispassionately and objectively. Some reviews are urgently required, mainly attitudinal changes.
The conduct and behaviour (or misbehaviour) of some members of Parliament in the Honourable House is atrocious. Our young people are being badly influenced by what they see and hear. That is not good.
In addition, there is an urgent need to revisit our Electoral System process since our country is a laughing stock to the region, the diaspora and the world. Why it is, that after spending long hours to determine the winners, confusion and dissatisfaction results?
We need to mature as a people. We need to recognise that other people’s views could have merit if only we take the time to LISTEN, ANAYLYSE and be open-minded.
Let me end with this Sicilian Proverb “Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty”. Here is a nugget: “He loves his country best who strives to make it best.” (R.G. INGERSOL).