Do you sometimes feel dizzy or a bit depressed by the magnitude and pace of change? Does it seem to you that you are continuously dealing with some form of change? The weather, your body, mood, finances, job-related transitions, sickness, death, or marriage of a family member require some form of action. Additionally, we must learn how to respond to the deteriorating societal values and the increasing intrusions of government and powerful corporations in our everyday lives.
In his book, Faithful Change, Dr. James Fowler states that each generation has felt they lived in unprecedented times; experiencing the full range of challenges of human living. To live faithfully, we must learn to make good choices in light of those challenges. Our need to change comes from at least three choices which he identifies as (1) developmental change,(2) healing or reconstructive change, and (3) change due to disruptions and modifications of the systems that shape our lives.1
Developmental change is the process of physical, emotional, and intellectual changes and challenges we face in the life cycle from conception, birth, young children, pre-adolescents, teenagers, young adults, and so on until old age and death. This process is ever-present as we deal with two additional areas of challenge.
The second area, which Fowler refers to as “healing or reconstructive change,” has to do with the need for healing from harmful patterns of emotion and thinking which we have adopted to help us feel safe and less vulnerable to the realities of life. This false sense of self and security is challenged when we lose a job, face a serious health crisis, lose a loved one or go through a divorce or other major disruption. Such a crisis presents an opportunity to reassess who we are and to make the necessary changes.
“Change due to disruptions and modifications of the systems that shape our lives” has to do with the challenges which come from our participation in the social, political, and economic processes of our society. Very often we feel the only control we have in these areas is how we will respond to the decisions those in power are making. We are in the midst of what is often labeled as a “cultural war.” One of the challenges a believer faces is in this postmodern culture is how to maintain a faithful, loving witness in a society we believe to be in a rapid downward spiral.
How can we live faithfully in a world that seems so chaotic and out of balance? I often ask this question but have no advice to offer concerning the solution to many of our challenges. But, I know where to start, and then it is a matter of trusting God to lead me daily in how to be faithful day by day. This morning as I wrestled with a sense of being overwhelmed and confused about what to do with all the change, I was reminded of the Anchor in the storm, the firm Foundation as I read these words from Psalm 1: 1-4,
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scorners! But his delight is in the law of the Lord. And in His law, he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in its seasons, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”
Psalm 46 is also a great encouragement if the pace and enormity of change are getting to you. Blessings, Cos
1. James W. Fowler, Faithful Change,(Abingdon Press, Nashville,1996), p.9-11.