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Accepting Change

Change can be hard. Sometimes it’s good, like the color of the leaves in fall; sometimes, it’s not so good, like a cancer diagnosis. I’m not one to adapt quickly to change (ask my husband), but I’ve discovered that while change can be difficult, accepting it can be even more.

Knowing who we are in Christ gives us a stabilizing force when change blows into our lives. We can cling to the great I Am because he does not change. He is perfect. He is complete. There is nothing to be added or taken away. “For I, the Lord, do not change” (Malachi 3:6). We, on the other hand, are not perfect. Our circumstances change, our jobs change, our relationships, and our health change. 

Change prompts us to do one of three things: deny, resist, or accept it. Just because you accept change, it doesn’t mean you have to like it! Often the last thing we want to do is accept change forced upon us.

Why is acceptance so important?

Well, it promotes healing, allowing us to live more at peace. “Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God” (Romans 15:7). Accepting the changes in my life allows me to have a more positive outlook, creating a more favorable environment to motivate, strengthen, and empower.

Second, acceptance is an act of trust. In essence, you are saying, “God, I trust you to do with my life as you see fit. I don’t understand all that is happening to me, but I relinquish my inadequacies, fear, heartaches, and life into Your capable hands.”

Third, acceptance propels us forward, ridding us of things that may hold us back. By accepting, we are better able to look ahead. The act of acceptance filters out what you cannot change so that you can walk with grace and honor. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8). So what are some practical ways to achieve acceptance?

Pathways Towards Acceptance

  • Rationalization

When I was eleven years old, my family moved into a larger house across town. It was exciting but presented a dilemma: the home was in a new school district. I would have to forego the honor of becoming a coveted school safety patrol. For years I looked forward to being a safety patrol helping kids cross the street with my crisp, yellow safety flag or maintaining order in the wait lines outside the school doors. I had earned that privilege with my good grades, and I wanted to be able to flaunt my white safety belt for the world to see! But now I would go to another school that didn’t have safety patrols with white belts and yellow flags. I was heartbroken. However, I rationalized that our new split-level house with its two rock patios, downstairs family room, and freshly painted blue bedroom with a walk-in closet was worth the sacrifice. My rationalization worked.

  • Displacement

Shortly after Parky and I were married, I snagged my first job at the local hospital. Three months later, Parky was notified of a transfer to southwest Louisiana. “That’s Cajun country,” I balked. “They eat nasty crawfish and talk funny.” Besides, both of our families lived in Alabama. I dreaded the thought of finding another job and moving so far away, but solace soon came in the form of a mangy puppy. Parky agreed to let me keep the stray pup I picked up on the highway. Rosco brought immediate joy and comfort. With my new, ugly puppy, I could accept a new home, job, and culture. Rosceaux (our Cajun adaptation) displaced my sadness with joyful acceptance. Roceaux eventually turned out to be a beautiful dog. As for the nasty mudbugs, I eat ‘em every chance I get now!

  • Renewal

My cancer diagnosis put into action the hope I have always had in Jesus Christ but prompted a renewal of His presence and a fresh outpouring of His spirit. While I lamented the fact that I had cancer, I knew in my heart that the journey could bring me to a place of spiritual renewal, which it did.

  • Reward

Rewards are great incentives for acceptance. When I was a child, Daddy would take the family to Florida to see my grandmother. I enjoyed visiting her and going to the beach, but I despised the long drive to get there. Nothing could shorten the distance, so I focused on the doughnut, root beer, and sometimes boiled peanut stops I knew my daddy would make. The trip was still long, but it helped to have rewards along the way.

  • Other Pathways

These include restoring, reclaiming, revitalizing, and repositioning.

Three-Step Process

A three-step process must occur to ensure adequate and complete acceptance of any chosen pathway. The three steps are conformity, cooperation, and consolation. I won’t elaborate on each step, but suffice it to say that it is unlikely that acceptance can be fully achieved without all three.

An important concept I learned in achieving full acceptance was to do it in small increments. How you find acceptance is not as important as what you do. God will help. “And your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

Changed for Godly Good

Daniel, Job, and Paul all recognized changes from God. A puzzling question is asked in Job 2:10, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” Hmmm. Good question. Short-term changes, long-term changes, lifetime changes – God is there. He has always been there. He always will be.

Karen Allen

8 Comments

  1. Sharon Atwood on November 25, 2022 at 10:39 am

    I’m not one to like changes either. Good to be reminded that in small increments they can be stomached.

    • Karen Allen on November 25, 2022 at 10:51 pm

      Step by step by step is a good approach.

  2. Eddie Burchfield on November 25, 2022 at 10:54 am

    You are such a good writer and woman of God. I am so thankful for the change God wrought in me. Love you my Amazon friend

    • Karen Allen on November 25, 2022 at 10:50 pm

      And you are a great inspirer, poet, and man of God! I am thankful to call you friend. And yes, praise God for the changes He brings to my life, my heart, and my spirit.

  3. JD Wininger on November 25, 2022 at 11:13 am

    Like you ma’am, I can’t say that I accept change easily. I’ve long said, “I don’t have OCD, I have CDO. Because it’s arranged alphabetically as it’s supposed to be.” Have often thought about how accepting change is much like the grief phases we’ve all become far too accustomed to hearing about (DABDA). If I’m honest, I find myself following many of these same “stages of acceptance” in handling changes in my life. Currently, I’m facing some changes (some good and some not so good), but am reminding myself several times each day of Romans 8:28. Faith tells me that good will come from each change I face. I may not like it, but I will like the result if I let God have His way through it. Thank you for your inspiring thoughts ma’am.

    • Karen Allen on November 25, 2022 at 10:49 pm

      And thank you for sharing your thoughts as well, my friend. I found myself using some of my own words tonight as I was speaking to my mom. Trust can certainly become a major factor as you alluded to.

  4. David E Luellen on November 30, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    Having recently blown out 86 candles, I have experienced a passel of changes!

    The first telephone I remember in our home was a wooden box attached to the kitchen wall. On the side of that box was a crank which my parents wound to reach Sarah, the local operator, who performed incomprehensible miracles, connecting us to the world.

    Today my grandchildren use their smart phones to take and instantly send me pictures of themselves and their playmates. Sarah, that one-time operator, would be baffled. [As am I!]

    As changes escalate all around this 86-year-old, I have learned with increased understanding to trust in the faithfulness of my Sovereign Lord. “He’s got this!” I often remind myself. That’s not resignation; that’s growth.

    The easiest change to accept these days is when I have just filled my tank with gas, handed the cashier a one-hundred dollar bill, and she indifferently places $3.72 in my open palm! Ah, change!

    • Karen Allen on November 30, 2022 at 10:37 pm

      You make me smile, my friend. Your generation, the same as my mom’s, has seen an inordinate number of changes in this slow to fast-paced world. Every generation thinks life was easier when . . . don’t they? Somehow, I miss some of those bygones and count myself fortunate to have lived in a time when they existed. Yet, here we are closer to the coming of Christ every day! Thanks for sharing.

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