Last December I decided to leave my job as a patient transporter to become a PCA(Patient care assistant, or nurse aide). Given the fact that my then fiance had just moved to the area and we were planning our wedding, this was a huge mistake. The stress of being an aide quickly caught up with me, giving me dreams of having to vacate my own bed for a patient who didn’t exist, making me loathe every single morning I had to be awake for work (not to mention nights; I felt like my entire body just rebelled against me). It was all just too much change at once; between prepping to marry the woman of my life, leaving school just 6 months earlier, and adapting to a new work pace, I was ready to crawl into a hole and never come out. Only through a few counseling sessions with my pastor and moving back to my old job was I able to come to a sense of normalcy in my chemical equilibrium.
Let’s face it though: change can really freak us out, even if it’s one we opt to make joyfully. It comes in all forms and it comes whether we like it to or not. Being the creatures of habit that we are, change freaks us out, and there’s nothing quite wrong with that. How we handle that fear, though, matters a great deal.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
It’s weird to me to picture Jesus’ disciples hearing this. It was hard enough in those times to eat, and if you lost clothing, there was no getting it back. Possessions were so much more valuable to people then than they are today, in this age of convenience where if you run out of something, food is just down the street, available 24 hours a day, same with clothing (given your proximity to a Wal-Mart; who DOESN’T need new underwear at 3 AM?). Still, we panic over little stuff like they did, be they bills, health, work, whatever. The point is this: sweating ANYTHING (not just little stuff; more on that in a bit) never got anything accomplished, and our heavenly Father will always take care of us, no matter what. You might not know where your next meal is coming from (hard to believe if you’re reading this on a home computer), or whether you’ll have your job tomorrow, but understand this: your needs are known by a God who loves you, and you are never beyond his reach.
Some of you may be thinking, “Man, you don’t know about the change I’ve had to experience. I just _______.” Fill in the blank with whatever you like. Death of a family member. Bankruptcy. Spouse left without saying a word. Terminal illness. If one of these (or something else) is you, know that I am here for you. Talk to me. Call me. Email me. If you haven’t reached out and need someone to reach out too, do it now, and I”ll take your hand. I can’t save you from the hell you’re in, but I’ll walk right next to you through it. No one should have to go alone through anything alone. The scriptures in question still stand all the same. They aren’t an admonishment, far as I can tell. They’re meant to bring peace to the concerned, relief to the worrier, hope to the hopeless. It’s not just some nice words to make you feel good, either; they’ll bring you down the path to healing, so you can look back and see where _____ took you and how it helped you change.
It’s not easy. I’m still mad at myself for where I’m at. I hated having to give up a job to go back to one I felt exceeded my abilities. It made me feel stuck. I still feel stuck, with only the hope of maybe drifting sideways. The will of God still calls me. It tells me to live out his words and actions everyday, just as it calls you. Anyway, let’s look at how we can cope with change.
1) If you’re starting the change, don’t take on too much at once. It’s a good way to get overwhelmed and feel like you made the wrong choice.
2) If the change occurring isn’t something you planned on, take your time, and adjust slowly. Eventually, it will become part of you.
3) Reach out. Don’t keep quiet. Rugged individualism is still dying a slow death, but still thrives in some areas. We are not meant to be alone in our struggles, so don’t punish yourself because you’re scared to speak up. Getting help is the first step to surviving.
Sorry if this came off as feel-good or preachy. Don’t know if this is really my style, but someone may have needed this one. If you’re there, give me a shout.