Fearing Change

by Bill Denton

"Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:).

"When it comes to change, there are three seasons of timing: People change when they hurt enough that they have to, when they learn enough that they want to, and when they receive enough that they are able to." - John Maxwell, Leadership Wired, June 2003.

Perhaps we can summarize Maxwell's "seasons of timing" in three words, each identifying a motivation for change: pain; information; and resources. We change when the pain is more than we can bear. We change when the information we have convinces us of something better. We change when we have the resources that make change possible. Whether or not those are the only three motives for change is debatable, but they are powerful motives.

Are you hurting? A lot of people are, and the reason they hurt is often because of their own behavior, or things they have allowed to happen. Hurting people can't keep on doing the same old things in the same old way, for they will keep on hurting until it becomes unbearable. Whether they know exactly what to do or how to change, they have a desperate need to recognize the need to change. Dr. Phil of TV fame would ask something like this: "How's that workin' for ya?" The implication is that a person just needs to do things differently.

Are you afraid of information? Do you fear thinking about, or accepting truths you have not known before? Are you stuck and suffering because you won't consider a different understanding than the one you have now? Sometimes, we need to learn new things, allow our perceptions to deepen, and to gain insight we've not had before. Fear of that new information or knowledge can prevent us from changing, but gaining new information and knowledge often opens the doors to change that is both healthy and productive.

Do you have what it takes to change? If a person truly does not possess the resources to effect change, then it is a fruitless and frustrating cycle of failure. What would it take for you to change? What resources would enable you to change? It is absolutely imperative that you answer those questions, for unless you possess the necessary resources, then most likely you not only won't change, you can't change.

The baffling thing is that often people refuse to change although the pain is intense. We know what we ought to do and how to do it, and we have the resources-but the familiar and comfortable has a powerful appeal. There is a misplaced sense of safety and security despite the fact that change is needed. Too many people choose to stay right where they are instead of opting to change so that their experience of life can improve.

I have no clue where you are in life, what your problems are, or the specifics that might be better. What I do know is that unless you are a truly unique human being, you need to change at least a few things. You are not what you can be. You are experiencing the negative effects of things that you could change. You are not serving God as completely as you could.


© 2007, Bill Denton

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