We are turning over a new leaf, setting new goals, setting out for greener pastures, making a new me.
For many of us, 2013 will bring its share of change. Some of us will move, switch careers, get married, get in shape.
I have met a few people for whom change comes very easily. Change is more serious than trying new things. People who are good at change take hard right turns in life. They change careers with a devil-may-care attitude, or pack up and leave because they are sure something great is on the horizon. They are nomadic and adventurous.
And I am not one of them.
If there’s one thing that makes me dry heave more, it’s the thought of change. If you are anything like me, the prospect of life changing radically is threatening and frightening.
I realize two things in my head that my heart doesn’t want to acknowledge: that change is inevitable and change is necessary for our survival.
But why do so many of us struggle to cope with change?
Change Is Unknown
Life making a hard right turn represents unexplored territory. It’s about the unknown. And things that are unknown are usually scarier than things that are known. Most people are pretty set in their ways, even if their ways don’t make them particularly happy. That’s because we’re all more comfortable with the devil we know than the devil we don’t.
Change Feels Like Failure
I get really invested in what I’m doing. I realize that I am very deeply emotional about my work. It’s not just that the things I make belong to me. I actually belong to the things I make.
So the idea of change often comes feels like an attack on me and what I am presently doing. It’s like life is saying You’re a failure, Matt. What you are doing doesn’t work, and we have to change.
Change Feels Out of Control
It’s easy for me to feel like I am in control of my life when I can keep my routine, do my work, set my schedule. But when something disrupts any of that sense of control, that’s where you’ll find me having a panic attack. Change feels like an assault on my sense of control over my life. I can’t control much about the world, and I don’t ask to. I just want to be able to control my life. But when circumstances or people change around me, it infringes on my ability to control my life as I want to.
I’ll admit, I think I have some trust issues with God. Now, God and I have never been to couples therapy. But I know I’ve felt let down by Him, and something tells me He probably feels likewise (though He’s not always such a clear communicator about these things.) It is easy for me to trust God when I don’t really have to trust Him. When my life is all under my command, and all my ducks are in a row, it’s easy for faith to go on autopilot. But when something shakes things up, that’s when faith comes into action, and my faith muscles are just not as chiseled and sculpted as they should be. Maybe it’s because I spend too much time working my core complaining muscles and sarcasm muscles, rather than my faith muscles.
I know that sometime this year, something will change. I don’t know what it will be. But I know it will probably throw me into a bit of a tailspin, unless I prepare for the inevitable.
So, are you a person thirsty for change, who thrives on life taking unexpected turns, or are you like me? Why does change scare you?