“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” Thomas A. Kempis.
I am completely okay with change. But there are some conditions I need to add to that statement. I am ok with change so long as the change does not take me out of my comfort zone, that change is not going to impact my life in any way.
This shift cannot demand me to be bold or courageous. And finally, the change cannot create any anxiety in my spirit. If you can promise me all those things, then go full steam ahead with your disruption in the universe.
I find it interesting that so many who are critical of others resist change. But place the options in front of them and their attitude changes.
Why is that? Why is change so hard for us to adapt to? It could be that most change initiatives fail. DeAnne Aguirre, a change expert, says that fifty-four percent (54%) of all change initiatives fail. With that “great” rate of success, we feel defeated even before we go down the change road. Today
I hope to help you find the tools needed and the courage required to achieve success.
My natural inclination is to give you some tried and true business principals. Figuring that will assist you in making those necessary changes. But as I sat here at the keyboard what hit me was a verse from Jesus. It is found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
In Luke, it reads,
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
Where Does the Courage to Change Originate?
Why did this verse hit me? It is possible that no change in your life will be more complicated than changing your entire mindset about God’s mission. Jesus has just explained to his disciples that he was going to, in his words, “…suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” What a kick in the gut for his followers.
- What kind of leader goes out and gets himself killed?
- Who wants a leader who displays weakness as opposed to strength?
That was a titanic shift in thinking. But Jesus did not stop there. He now goes further and requires His followers also to embrace weakness.
“Take up your cross. Give up your life.”
In other words, “Are you willing to put to death your wants and your desires?” Are you man or woman enough to take up this challenge? Do you have the courage to change? To be able to make any meaningful change in your life you have to put to death some old habits.
You must willing to kill that thing in your life that is holding you back. It takes strength that is outside of our being. If it were easy, you would already have accomplished that change you are seeking to make.
So, something to think about, do you have the courage to embrace weakness? Are you ready to let go of whatever it is that is holding you back? Because only by being willing to lose your life will you ever be able to save it. And here is a bit of comfort for you, you don’t take this journey alone. The Son of God is there with you every step of the way. Let’s go.
Rev. B. Keith Haney is Assistant to the President for Missions, Human Care, and Stewardship of Iowa District West. He has been an ordained pastor for twenty-seven years and has served multi-ethnic urban congregations in Detroit, St. Louis, and Milwaukee. He is the author of numerous devotionals, including One Nation under God: Healing Racial Divides in America. He is married to Miriam (Bickel) Haney, and they have six children and two grandchildren.