Lately I have had to deal with a lot of things that are outside my comfort zone. Sometimes I feel like I am being stretched beyond the breaking point. Even though change is uncomfortable, I realize it is still good for me. I just have to be willing to be gentle with myself in the process.
That does not mean that I should give myself a pass. I should not allow myself to stay where I am. I have to be willing to be molded by God into what He wants me to be. But I should also not beat myself up about where I am at now. I may not yet be the person I want to be, but neither should I castigate myself that I am not yet there. Change is hard, so I should not be hard on myself.
I’m sure you have found change to be hard. And you should not be hard on yourself either as you go through it. Allow God to work in you. Allow Him to mold you and shape you. It may not be comfortable at the time, but it will be worth it.
Here are three reasons why you should be gentle with yourself as you go through change.
1. Change is new.
Change is difficult because it’s new. You have never had to deal with it before. It pushes you and pulls you in uncomfortable ways.
I don’t enjoy working out. Lifting weights to the point of being in pain is not my idea of fun. But for some people it is. That’s because they can look past the pain to how they will benefit in the long run. They are willing to experience short-term pain for long-term gain.
That’s how you should look at change too. Realize that it is making you into the person that you can be in the future. And it may be uncomfortable as you are experiencing it now. So it is important to be gentle with yourself as you go through it.
Change can be difficult situations at work. Or it can be family dynamics. Or when crises hit. Whatever it is, it’s not fun to go through. But you can become better for having gone through it. But that’s your choice.
Chuck Swindoll talks about how life is ten percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it. When new changes hit, be gentle with yourself. Accept the change. Thank God for it. And don’t get bent out of shape by it. But if you do get bent out of shape by it, just forgive yourself and move on.
Even if you have not dealt well with change in the past, you can still decide now that you will change.
2. Change is a process.
Change does not usually have a definite beginning and a definite end. It’s a continuous process. And that makes it hard because you don’t know how long it will last. That’s why you need to be gentle with yourself when you’re in the middle of it.
When I am dealing with change, I have a tendency to worry about it. It takes a lot for me to trust God in the middle of it. But I find that He helps me navigate the change better when I trust Him than when I don’t.
God does not have you go through change so that He can abandon you in the middle of it . He wants to go through the change with you. He wants you to grow from it. And He wants you to trust Him more through it. The process of change gives you more opportunities to grow in your relationship with God.
Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) says,
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
When you are going through the hardest change, God is gentle with you, so you should be gentle with yourself too.
3. Change brings more challenges.
Change is not a one and done. Once you go through one change, another is around the corner. As they say, the only thing constant is change.
But that doesn’t mean you should worry about it. As I said before, you should trust God in the midst of change. I realize that is easier said than done. Oftentimes, self-pity can come in and keep you stuck where you are. It prevents you from being able to handle the other challenges. Being gentle with yourself does not mean giving into self-pity. Being gentle with yourself means that you do not condemn yourself for not handling the change well. As Romans 8:1 says,
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Keep pursuing God through the change. You will be able to make it through the change. And you will be able to make it through the challenges that await on the other side.
Even when things don’t seem like they will work out, remember that God works all things together for good for those that love Him (Romans 8:28). He will neither leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8) through the change. So be gentle on yourself as you go through it together.
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