Adapting to change

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by Lt. Colonel Marilyn MoultonMy entire life would change in a matter of a few weeks–at least, so I thought. I heard the voice on the other end of the phone telling me I would be moving, and would be going out of the country; then the voice proceeded to tell me where I would be moving and what my new appointment would be.

I have lived in Canada my entire life. I just received recognition for my thirty-five years of service as an officer in the Canadian Territory; I have never served out of my home territory.

Many questions flooded my thoughts and I wondered, “Why me Lord?” at this stage of my life. How was I going to tell my children and grandchildren? Especially when I have never been very far from them in any of my appointments.

In our last appointment, Ray and I had been divisional leaders for three years. We anticipated our stay would be longer. As an officer, my appointments seem to be longer than the normal. I do not find change easy and as I progress in my years, I find it more difficult to adjust. I am sure there are others who can relate to this as well.

I like my comfort zones. In reading an article on that topic, it gave this definition: “Comfort zones are an area in which we feel comfortable.” Our comfort zones apply to the way we dress, the emotions we can comfortably express, the depths to which we reveal ourselves, the new things we try and our openness to change. As long as we stay in our comfort zones everything goes on the same day after day. We don’t change, we don’t grow, our days all become carbon copies of one another. Somehow, it makes us feel very safe.

Change is something that takes place in our lives that can really “rock the boat.” However, it creates great potential for growth. Changes can and will determine how we live the remaining days of our life. Change can also bring about excitement. The excitement of meeting new people, living in a new location, finding new opportunities.

I did not anticipate this change in my life. It was very unexpected.

However, moving out of my comfort zone will help me stretch; it will help to expand my awareness of personal potential. This stretching will bring me a fuller life and a larger world.

John Powell says in his book, Seasons of the Heart, that there are two ways to stretch. “We can think our way into a new way of acting or we can act our way into a new way of thinking.”

Once we step outside of the old comfort zones and try new things we become a master of those fears. We stretch, our world becomes bigger, and we discover potential within ourselves that we never knew we had. This brings new rewards and changes in our life.

Prayer is very important in shaping our lives, in helping us to stretch. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” We can tell him what we think, how we feel and when we do this, he will give us a new perspective, a new attitude and new ideas. He will give us strength to move out of our comfort zones.

I realize I cannot be in control of every situation in my life. I ask myself, is it possible to adapt to change joyfully? Joy is really a process. It’s a journey. Our lives are constantly changing and with the changes come many new opportunities. Whether the change is something we have chosen or is one we have no control over, it can be a door to an exciting adventure through which God can reshape our lives. It can stretch us. It can help us grow. I believe that through God’s grace, he will equip me for the task that he has given me.

As Territorial League of Mercy Secretary, I urge you to step out of your comfort zones, to stretch and reach out to those all around you: in your neighborhoods, in hospitals, senior homes, in our social service centers. I pray that God will equip and use you and give you strength for the task that is yours and mine.

Let us be compassionately active in serving humanity as best we can. Let us be a people who care. Let us demonstrate our love for God by loving our neighbors, helping the helpless, offering hope to the hopeless and bringing healing to the hurting in Christ’s name.

We can’t always count on what will happen in the future. However, I know that I am able to count on three things that will last forever: God, his Word and his people.

Things around us may change but our God never changes. This certainly gives me a sense of security. It is encouraging to know he has placed me in an obvious appointment where I can serve him today. I know I am in his hands and no matter what changes take place in my life in the days ahead, I know he knows what is best for me because I am in his hands.

…We will continually seek to determine the unmet needs in [our] community…above all else, we will be people who care.

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