If you’ve lived on this planet for very long, you’ve probably noticed that things never stay the same. Everything changes. Our bodies change. Our families change. Our communities change. Even the earth is changing at this very moment, though at a slow rate. One of the fundamental truths of life is that everything—and I mean everything—changes.
Everyone has an opinion on change. Some people really like change. They jump at it every chance they get. They like change just because it keeps things interesting and new. Other people hate change. They don’t care if the change is good or bad. They want things to stay the same no matter what. Of course, both of these are extreme reactions to change. The truth is that change can be good or bad, depending on what kind of change it is and the motive behind it. While contemplating change and its value, I’ve compiled a list of what I would consider good and bad kinds of change.
Changing for the Sake of the Change
Some people are thrill-seekers. They are attracted to new things simply because they’re different and they offer a rush. This may be acceptable when it comes to small things like the way you wear your hair or your computer background, but if you look for change simply for the sake of change on major things, you can get yourself into trouble. Not being able to stick with a job for long or maintain a healthy dating relationship for an extended period may be signs of seeking change for the sake of the change, and this kind of change is bad. The truth is that some of the less interesting things in life may be the greatest if you’re willing to invest time in them. You may just have to accept sameness for a bit first.
Changing to Fit Someone’s Expectations or Preferences
When it comes to dating, people always say, “You shouldn’t change for anyone.” I partially agree with this statement. If you’re changing things about yourself just to fit someone else’s preferences or what they expect of you, this is a bad kind of change. It is true that everyone changes, but in that process of changing, you have to stay true to yourself. Changing just to please someone else is unhealthy, and it could end in a serious identity crisis, which would be disastrous. We must each learn to be ourselves as we grow and change.
Changing for the Worse
I know terms like “better” and “worse” are subjective, and it’s up for debate what changes may be for the better and what changes may be for the worse, but I’d say there are some changes that are universally for the worse and that should be avoided. If you find yourself going against your own moral standards or acting in ways that are offensive and hurtful to others, these are probably changes for the worse. Most of these are temporary and due to out-of-the-ordinary circumstances, but one-time things can quickly become habits if we don’t stay on top of them.
This is the argument that I use when talking with people who hate change just because it’s different. I tell them that change isn’t always good, but it can be good if it’s progress. Changes in technology and medicine that improve people’s lives are good changes. If a church decides the update the look of the sanctuary or incorporate some more modern worship songs in order to be more relevant, that’s progress. Change for no reason is bad, but it’s just as bad to resist change just because you don’t like change. If a change is a step in the right direction, then it’s a good change, even if it’s uncomfortable.
This is the flip-side of that “You should never change for anyone” argument. I think that sometimes changing for someone is good, if it’s done the right way and for the right reasons. I believe that God puts people in our lives who inspire and encourage us to be better, and I think that’s great. You can still be yourself while working to improve yourself. That’s really what the Christian life is all about: slowly but surely becoming more and more like Christ. We all have areas that we need to improve (or rather, change) in, and these self-improvements are the very best kind of change.
I don’t really have an overarching point in this blog post other than this: Embrace the good kinds of change and resist the bad ones. Change is both good and bad, depending on the circumstances and what kind of change it is. Don’t resist change just because it makes you uncomfortable, and don’t embrace change just because you’re looking for something different. Let’s take a reflective, middle-road approach to change so that we can improve and progress while keeping the things that don’t need to change. Thanks for reading, friends, and I hope you have a great week!