Why People Hate Change

January 11, 2013

Road Sign 1The new year is supposed to be all about change, right?

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.

Trust Issues

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?

11 responses to Why People Hate Change

  1. I pop a double bubble in my mouth and I chew away. Within 5 minutes the flavor has waned and I have to spit it out or get a fresh piece. That is why i am a change junkie; when the change becomes a routine wanes I need something fresh.

  2. I love change so for me it’s more of a discipline to push through and complete the things God has called me to. Having said that I don’t particularly like to be out of control, so maybe I prefer change when I can be the instigator of it, rather than it being thrust upon me. … “controlled-change” I guess!
    “Uncontrolled-change” brings out my trust issues as it does for you! Thanks for the post.

  3. Love the previous two comments!

    Change animates me. I get bored in a routine. I much prefer to start something new and see where God takes me, than do the same thing day after day. The vast majority of changes in my life have led to something better, and God’s ideas are so much more exciting than anything I can dream up.

    The hard part for me is when responsibilities and commitments keep me in the same rut year after year. In some ways, that’s where we are right now. I’m ready to pack and go, but we can’t. It all comes down to trust and obedience, no matter where God has us.

  4. You are very ISTJ-like. I feel exactly the same way.

  5. I am not a big fan of uncontrolled change. Something just seem to work, and yet someone wants to go and change things. Harrumph. But then I look back over my life. I have been in places that I would never have guessed that I’d be. In the future I’ll think, “who would have thought I’d ever be here,too”. Sometimes it feels like I’m surfing on God’s waves.

  6. ‘Change’ is really the only true constant.

  7. I’m one of “those” people who really like change. However, sometimes this manifests itself in a compulsive desire for what’s next/new and it looks a lot like discontentment. While I’m grateful for being adaptable my heart needs to be thankful for what I have.

  8. I tend to be adaptable because am an extrovert and think randomly. I have problems with big changes and the control freak in me likes getting a heads up before big changes.

    Moving 1800 miles was more difficult than I thought it would be, but God is still doing some amazing things.