How should we respond to change when it’s difficult?
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)
There is a time for… everything. Beginnings, endings, and change. In what areas of your life are you experiencing change? It might be positive, exciting and celebrated, even easy to adjust to. But change can also be a big deal and can push you way out of your comfort zone. Sometimes it’s difficult and scary, and causes you pain, loss and regret. We experience change all the time—it cannot be avoided, even the difficult kind. Bad things happen and good things end. So how do we deal with change that we don’t want? Change that’s hard? Painful? Scary? Even… Right?
Our perception of change strongly determines how it affects us. We often see change as loss—we feel sad and want to grieve for what we no longer have. But when we focus on the loss that change brings, we can easily forget to be thankful for the blessings we had. The pain and uncertainty of change doesn’t feel pleasant, but it is good to express your sadness to God and grieve what you’re losing. Take a moment to really consider the changes occurring in your life right now, or perhaps one from the past that you haven’t processed. What have you lost? How does that feel? Tell God, pour out your heart to Him. Sure, He already knows, but it’s not for Him, it’s for you.
Next, shift your focus from what you’ve lost to what you’ve gained. What can you be thankful for? Think about what God has blessed you with, all He has taught you, and how He has transformed you. Even when change brings unwanted loss or an end to something good, there is always something to be grateful for. Don’t get me wrong, thankfulness isn’t a coping mechanism to cover the sting of loss that change can bring. But when our sadness becomes intertwined with thankfulness, it transforms not only our perception of the change, but our experience of it too. Being thankful increases our expectation for what is ahead—it brings hope, keeps our hearts opens to Him in the process of transition, and fills us with joy. Don’t let the pain of change blind you to the blessings you’ve been given.
So, what are you thankful for? Tell Him. Tell someone else. Make a gratitude list. Stick it somewhere to remind you. This way, we can learn to embrace those difficult and painful changes, and find life and hope and joy in the midst of it all.

Contributed by Gerry Schuil