The Paradox called Change.

“See you later, Dora” Liz smiled as she waved her best friend goodbye. They had both grown up in Detroit together. They shared special memories – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Liz remembered the day they gave their lives to Christ. They attended a church that was on the same street they lived. During Sunday school that day, Miss Smith had explained to the children the reason why they congregated every week. They had heard it before, but their hearts saw the light of that message that day. Both decided to live for God and help each other in their journey to Him. They prayed together and for each other, studied the Scripture together, read Spirit-inspired books, and corrected each other in love.

“Thank You, God, for giving me Dora. We’ll be together forever”. As she passed the shops that were lined across her street, Liz waved, smiled and called out as she greeted people that had characterized her life since she was little. This was Detroit. It was her home. She was quite comfortable here. She couldn’t think of anywhere else she’d rather spend the rest of her days. Her life started in Detroit, and in Detroit will it end.

Liz sat to enjoy dinner with her family. She loved them with every fiber of her being. They were not just related to her by blood; her Dad, Mum and little brother were her friends. Dinnertime for the Richards was not only for eating; it was catch-up time. They discussed everything – memories, the day’s activities and future plans. Her little brother prayed over the meal and they dug in. Then, her father announced?: ‘I got a promotion today. Chief Financial Officer, Barney and Sons’. Liz almost choked on her food as she let out an excited scream, ‘Congratulations, Daddy!’ ‘Thank you, Sweetheart. The head office is in New York. That means we have to move out of Detroit to New York. I know change can be scary, but I don’t want you to be afraid, children. We’ll be alright’

Liz was taken aback. Move out of Detroit? Leave everything and everyone they know and love behind? Fear gripped Liz’s heart. What will a new environment hold for her?

One way or the other, we have all been where Liz was. Change is a regular part of our lives. In a few words, to change means to make something different. It means to alter or replace the subject matter with another. The interesting thing about change is that while it conceptualizes variation and evolution, itself remains constant. Change will never change. That is the paradox.

Many changes take place in our lives on a regular basis. For example, as we grow older, our bodies are altered as puberty sets in. Our formerly skinny bodies begin to round out around the hips, genital hair starts to grow and the cycle of menstruation begins. Change also occurs as we climb the tiers of education. We change classes and schools as we move from primary to secondary and then tertiary institutions. After that, we make the transition from dependent children to independent adults. Our marriage, ministry or job might require we move from one town, state or country to another. People around us change as time passes by. We evolve to become newer versions of ourselves. Change is inevitable.

Typically, the human soul does not easily relinquish what he has been familiar with. This is why, except he has an assurance that the new is much more better than the old, intense emotional turmoil comes with the idea of change. These emotions could move the heart from the equilibrium of peace that it ought to have in God.

The most common feeling associated with change is anxiety. Since it is an entirely new environment, the uncertainty and endless possibilities often causes worry in the heart. This worry can breed fear and unbelief, and these are some of the enemy’s most lethal weapons against the believer. Worry, fear and doubt often makes one hesitate in taking steps of obedience to God.

On the other hand, the prospect of newness could cause excitement. This is good, as it often provides the energy to forge ahead and face whatever challenge comes our way. However, extreme excitement can cause one to hastily take steps without seeking God’s face. This is also dangerous, because our safety is in following God’s will. Excitement could make one hasty and rush ahead of God’s timing.

So I’m a young teenage girl who has her whole life ahead of her – important decisions to be made concerning career, marriage, ministry, etc. How do I handle the pressure that comes with change?

1. Calm down and trust God:
The heart must first be brought to a place of assurance and rest in God’s faithfulness. When faced with anxiety, we must be able to tell our souls to ‘hope in God, for He is the health of my countenance and my God’ (Ps. 43:5). The writer of Proverbs admonishes the youth to ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He shall direct your paths’ (Proverbs 3:5-6). Our first action point should be to take our worries, fears, doubts or excitement to the Lord in prayer. We should also rest on His promises as revealed by His Word. He is too faithful to lie, and He has said He will never leave nor forsake us (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5). In the book of Isaiah 41:10, 13, He says
“10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you”
One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 46. I particularly love the fifth verse;
“God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early (on time)”
I love how Mary, the mother of our Lord, answered the angel Gabriel when he came to her with the news that will radically change her life (and the whole of humanity). Her response ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word’ came from a heart that has yielded completely in trust of her Lord. This should be the posture of our hearts, as ladies whose lives are dedicated to pleasing our heavenly Father and Lord.
Trust God, Sis. He loves you too much to leave you, and His thoughts towards you are only good, and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11)

2. Acquire as much information as possible:
We live in the jet age where information is at our fingertips – our phones through search engines and the Internet can bring answers to our questions in seconds. Find out as much about the new environment/development as you can. Read books, watch videos, meet people who have been through the same experience or situation that is confronting you. Talk to your Mum (or any other older, godly and trustworthy female) about the hormonal changes. Be aware of the challenges at that new position and how to tackle them. Read about the new area where your family will be moving to. Read and listen to godly books and messages on marriage and relationship. Oftentimes, trepidation is as a result of lack of information

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
24:6 For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.
Let me add that we should allow Wisdom to guide us even as we seek to be informed. Foolish counsel will bring one to destruction. Every information/counsel should be weighed and compared with God’s Word as the standard.

3.Take your time to plan the move:
A popular adage states that ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. We should make proper use of the information/counsel received to plan and prepare adequately for the next phase.
Luke 14:28 ‘For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost…’
If the situation that brought about the change was a sudden, tragic occurrence (e.g. the death of a loved one or termination of work appointment), take your time to grieve and recuperate. Let the Lord comfort your heart and fill you with His peace.

4. Execute the plan: step out in faith
As mentioned earlier, what makes us dread change is the uncertainty that is associated with it. Nevertheless, we ought to give life our best shot, even if we don’t know for sure what the outcome will be. The new environment might be better suited for you than what you currently know, but you’ll never know if you don’t take action.

The process of change is quite scary, but it doesn’t have to be so, because we have a Father who deeply loves us and wants the best for us.

Have you ever had a transitory experience? What was it like? Do you think you’re better or worse off because of the change?

About the Author:

Ojo Oluwatoyosi is a certified microbiologist and budding content developer whose life ambition is to please God, see His Kingdom and righteousness expressed in and around her. She never gets tired of writing, reading and listening to good music. You can connect with her on the following platforms:

Facebook: Ojo Toyosi
Twitter: @hephzi_yosi
Instagram: misstyssie

How to Journal.

I started keeping a journal at age ten and I have at least a journal to show for each stage of my life. Each of my journals shows me areas in which I have grown. I write anything and everything in my journal. Things from random thoughts and observations, to notes on books I’m reading, to goals I want to work towards, to how my day/the week/the year went, to list of books I want to read, places I want to visit, my prayers, etc.
A journal is a personal record of significant occurrences, experiences and reflections kept on a regular basis while journalling is a process of writing in a journal or diary.

Journalling is a form of therapy that helps you to open up to your feelings without the pressure of being judged. A person who journals is able to gain mental and emotional clarity, validate experiences and come to a deeper understanding of him/herself.

The following are different forms of journal you can keep:
*A gratitude Journal where you intentionally write at least ten things you are currently grateful for. It is basically an act of counting and naming your blessings. This helps you to keep the right perspective when you are going through difficult times.

*A prayer journal where you pen your prayers. It helps you to pray consistently and see God’s faithfulness in answering your prayers. It also helps you to concentrate better if your mind tends to wander while you pray.

*A Bible study or sermon journal. It helps you to keep track of the things you are learning daily in God’s word. It also helps you to refer back to them and evaluate your life based on God’s word.

*A memorial journal( this is more like the memorial stones God instructed the children of Israel to pick as they crossed River Jordan in Joshua 4).

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord ’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”
Joshua 4:4-5, 7, 21-24 NLT

The idea behind a “memorial stone” is simply to recognize a significant event or change (either pleasant or otherwise) in the previous week/month/year and put it in the context of God’s work in your life. It affirms both gratitude and faith. It shows you all the ways God has being faithful to you.

I’ve had people say to me that they don’t think they can keep a journal because they are not writers. My response to that is “you don’t have to make a living from writing before you can journal. If you can talk, you can journal.” There is no right or wrong way to journal; just do what works best for you and start with baby steps. Associate your journalling time with the things that give you joy like lighting a scented candle, drinking hot sweetened tea or listening to music(provided you won’t be distracted) and enjoy the experience.
Never forget that your life is worth living well and your story is worth telling (in this case journalling about). Your story will one day inspire someone to live his/her life well. Leave a good legacy!


Let’s Chat.

• Have you ever kept a journal or diary?

•How have you benefitted from keeping a journal?