“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have – and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”
– James Belasco and Ralph Stayer
Flight of the Buffalo (1994)
Dr. Lisa Reed Hurff writes the following about the difficulty of change:
“Every human being knows about change; it happens in their lives whether they want it or not. And in truth, change is difficult for all of us. We would all prefer for change to happen more easily and with less impact on our lives. Unfortunately, change often requires us to deconstruct many aspects of our lives and what we hold to be true about ourselves in order for something new and better to take its place. Simply put, we must give up what’s old and familiar in order to be ready to take on something new and promising. This is especially hard when the old we have to give up includes our own limiting beliefs, mindset, attitudes, and accustomed ways of thinking and behaving that feel most comfortable. Deconstructing our own thought patterns can be so unnerving that we end up resisting change with all our might, preferring to remain in the ‘comfortableness of our own discomfort’ rather than to risk letting go of an old identity that no longer works for us.”
Dr. Hurff does an excellent job in describing why change is so difficult for most of us. The Israelites are a perfect example of a people who resisted change. They had to give up what was old and familiar in order to get ready to move into something totally new and promising, this was not an easy change for them. As Moses began to lead them out of Egypt, they had to deconstruct many of their limitations, mindsets, attitudes, ways of thinking and behaviors they had developed during 400 years of bondage.
Change was not easy for them. Imagine walking away from the only home and country you have lived in all your life; imagine not having a job, even if that job was the worst possible job. As the children of Israel exited Egypt with joy, they were forced to let go of the old slave identity and adopt a new identity as a free people. During the process, they grumbled and complained about the change. We should not be too hard on them because none of us has experienced change like they had to experience, and we are no different than they are because change is also difficult for us.
When the Lord wants us to make changes He always goes before us to make the change easy. As the Israelites began their journey to the promise land, the presence of the Lord was with them. “The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.” Exodus 13:21-22 (NLT)
This is the one assurance that has allowed me to make changes in my life, knowing that God is leading me. This assurance gives me the courage to make necessary changes. I am not saying that all changes have been easy, but knowing that God is before me, behind me and with me, gives me the energy and the courage to make a change. As David declared, He leads me, guides me, and follows me. If you have been fearful of making a change, let me encourage you, make that change!
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