Archive for the ‘Change’ Tag

Life changes   13 comments

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Well, it is time for me to get back on track.  The move is completed, many of the boxes are unpacked, and I am starting to develop a new daily routine.  So it is time for me to get back to writing on a regular basis.  For those who have missed my blog posts, you will be glad to see my return.  For those who have not realized that it has been over two weeks since I posted, hopefully you will become more regular in reading my posts.  For those who read but do not comment, I hope that you start commenting because my goal is to create a dialogue on here.

What a roller coaster ride the last few weeks and months have been.  Some of you know that I have gone through (and continue to go through) significant life changes.  There have been some very positive moments, some very challenging moments, and some very confusing moments.  I have received support through these changes and am very grateful for all those who have given words of encouragement, hugs, and on-going support.  I have also received negative comments and had to deal with rumors and lies.  Throughout all of this however is the reality that I continue to move forward day-to-day and my faith provides a undergirding that carries me throughout.

Whenever a person experiences significant changes in their lives, the person is faced with a few choices of how to manage those changes.  One choice is to feel defeated and retreat within themselves, a giving up on life.  Another choice is to recognize the sources of support that are available and use that support to make it through each positive and negative change.  Still another choice is to ignore the true impacts of change so that you can fake your way through each day.  As I mentioned before, I have the honor of having a strong support system.  So the choice that I have made during this time of transition is to recognize the sources of support available to me and use that support to handle the impacts of change.

Changes may appear to be drastic and sudden.  However, change is something which is ongoing and the seeds of change are planted long before the actual change takes place.  When we witness change in someone’s life, we can often wrongly assume that it was drastic and sudden.  In reality, outside of catastrophic events, most change has been an ongoing process.  People respond to change in other people’s lives in very differing ways.  Each of us have to determine what to share with others and when to share it when change is occurring in our own lives.  What I have found is that unfortunately other people can sometimes want to know all the details of change in a another person’s life and when they do not receive those details, they create their own theories which they can believe to be the truth.  When this occurs, rumors, false statements, and judgment soon follow.  This can be very hurtful and often times very inaccurate.  So my suggestion to all who read this blog is to realize that individuals make decisions regarding what to share and to whom to share information about their own lives with others.  Respect those decisions.  Do not spend time guessing at or creating your own rationales for changes in other individuals’ lives.  Even if you do choose to create scenarios or rationales for change, keep those to yourself.  This is how we respect one another.

So, a rather long first post after a hiatus.  What I want to communicate the most to you today is that I am grateful for the support and love that has been expressed to me through my transition.  I want to thank the Lord for always being there and helping me to face each day not with a sense of defeat but a sense of acceptance for what the day may hold.  I want to remind us all that respecting one another and supporting one another even when we do not know the details is paramount and I believe honors the second greatest commandment that the Lord has given to us, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Transfigured   Leave a comment

Today on the calendar it states that it is the Feast of the Transfiguration.  This is a day for Christians when we are to recall the events which occurred on Mount Tabor as recorded in Mark 9:2-13, Matthew 17:1-13, or Luke 9:28-36.  They tell about an event in Jesus’ life when a few of the apostles witnessed Jesus being transformed by the glory of God.  I will let you read the story yourself.  However, this has led me today to think about how I am allowing the Lord to transfigure, or transform, me.

It is true that as our lives progress, we change.  Sometimes those changes are significant and evident.  At other times those changes are unnoticed.  The event recorded in the Bible passages which I listed above is one that was very significant and evident to a small group of individuals.  I think most transformations occur in a cumulative manner.  Over time a person is changed.  There are occasions where dramatic events cause major changes, such as accidents and/or tragedies.  Yet, this is not how a person usually transforms.

As I reflect upon my own experience, I have come to see that I have experienced a cumulative transformation.  Since I am a believer, I credit this transformation to the Lord.  The Lord has provided me experiences and challenges which have caused me to adjust my perceptions, opinions, and truths.  These adjustments have led me to changes in my life.

I am grateful to the Lord for continually transforming me.  I am pleased that I am not the person who I used to be but instead am becoming the person who the Lord wishes me to be.  I view this as a lifetime process.

I encourage you to take time today to consider how you have transformed in your life.  What has caused this transformation?  Are you allowing the Lord to be the transformer?  Where might transformation be occurring in your life right now?

Boldly Go   Leave a comment

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I grew up watching episodes of the TV series, Star Trek.  As I was pondering what thoughts to share, the opening declaration of the mission for the U.S.S. Enterprise came into my mind:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

I think that the reason this came into my mind is because lately I have been giving a lot of thought to what it means to be a leader and person living in these times.  First, let me say that I do not think we are that unique in having to live in changing times.  Yes, there is some uniqueness regarding the particulars of the changes during our time but this is not the first time there have been significant societal shifts.

As I ponder these words from a 1960’s television series, I am drawn to the final words in the statement, “to boldly go where no man (sic) has gone before.”  I would naturally change it to say “where no one has gone before.”  The key here for me is “to boldly go.”  So many people just allow the time and the changes to take them along.  However, I think it is important to change the way we maneuver through these times.  I think that we need to have the courage to go boldly into these changing times.

For me, the only way that I can obtain that courage is to realize where my hope and confidence finds its source….. the Lord.  I believe that the Lord is more than capable of handling whatever changes take place.  I believe that my strength, courage, and ability comes directly from the Lord.  I believe that my only true hope is found in the Lord.  So with these beliefs, I strive to boldly go where others may not have gone.

Back to the Original   2 comments

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One of the realities that leaders have to accept is that not always is a group willing to be led.  This can be a very difficult reality for a leader to get their arms around.  However, if a leader tries to deny this, the leader will become frustrated and may even doubt her/his leadership abilities.  A leader is not a leader without people who are ready to follow the lead.  Sometimes you must guide a group with a gentle lead and other groups require much stronger leads but ultimately either approach is only successful to the point that the group is open to being led.

This is not a new concept in any way.  I think this is exactly the point that Jesus was trying to make over and over again.  He even told his disciples as he prepared to send them out:  “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”  (Matthew 10:14, NIV)  Jesus was a great leader but also realized that sometimes people do not desire to be led and there is nothing a leader can do at that point except to move to another group of people.

The other reality that a leader must accept that if a group does not wish to change, they may present an image of change but the minute the leader moves on, everything returns to the state in which they were prior to the leader’s arrival.  This also can be very disheartening because it can cause a leader to think their work was all in vain.  The image that comes to mind is that of a 1970’s toy called Stretch Armstrong.  This toy was made of a material which could stretch but as soon as you let go of it, everything would return back to its original form.  So a person could pull the toy’s arms or legs in all kinds of directions and create what appeared to be changes to the toy but as soon as you let go of those extremities, the toy returned to its original shape.

I think the lesson in these situations is to realize each of them can and probably will happen during your tenure as a leader.  However, do not let them discourage you.  Learn from each situation and determine if there was something you could have done differently to have a more lasting and clear impact on the group.  Sometimes the answer is that nothing different could have been done.  Also, remember that while the group as a whole may not have truly changed, there are individuals within the group who may have changed.

Reflecting   6 comments

Dad at ChristmasI have had some time to reflect on life over the past week.  With the death of my dad, I spent time looking back on his past and my own.  I also had opportunity to see the lives which he touched.  Preparing a video presentation for his service and an obituary, I was able to connect with parts of his life which I did not know or had forgotten.  All of this allowed me, and others, to take time to celebrate the life which my dad lived.

As I reflect upon my own life, I am amazed how much I have gone through and all the changes which have occurred in my life.  I am sure that all of us can say that we are not the same person we were 30 years ago, 20 years ago, maybe even 10 years ago.  Overall, this changes and adaptations are good and part of the growing process.  Yes, there are parts which we regret or wish had not occurred, but the truth is that even in those parts, there is something positive that has resulted.  I am glad that I am not the same person that I used to be.  The way I look at life and respond to life is better as a whole.  The joys far outweigh the sadness.  The opportunities seem greater instead of limited.  The hopes and dreams change but are not gone.

I am grateful for my dad.  He was not perfect but he taught me how to live even though I am imperfect.  He had a quiet approach to life which is generally opposite from mine.  He observed more than he ever told anyone about.  When he spoke, he was listened to because he did not speak a lot.  He was humble and was satisfied with a humble living.  I can continue to learn from him.  I will try to use his life as a guide for my life even though I am not the same man as he.

Thank you Dad!  I love you and will always love you!  Thank you for the lessons that you taught me and the many lessons I will still learn as I remember you far into the future.

Posted February 10, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Family, Life

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Locomotive versus Horse   Leave a comment

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Back in the 1830’s there was a competition between Peter Cooper’s Tom Thumb locomotive and a horse-drawn railroad car.  This was a time of great change in transportation in the United States.  People were skeptical of this new invention called a locomotive and most preferred the familiar mode of transportation that used the power of a horse (or horses).  Peter Cooper wanted to prove that his Tom Thumb would help to increase the speed and efficiency of transportation for humans and freight alike so he staged this competition to win the support of the people.  Cooper’s locomotive lost due to mechanical failure but prior to the break down, the locomotive definitely was winning the race.  Over time, the horse-drawn trains were replaced with the locomotive-drawn trains and another step in transportation advanced.

I share this story because of some of the work that I am doing with two different organizations.  These organizations are in the midst of transition.  Both of them have individuals who are very dedicated to the organizations and the goals of the organization.  Some of them have given many years of blood, sweat, and tears for the organization while others have just begun their adventure.  Much like in the race between the locomotive and the horse, their is a division among the people regarding the introduction of a new idea or invention.  There are some who are skeptical about taking different directions and steps.  There are some who want to remain with the familiar.  There are others who have a great passion and energy who wish to help the organization move forward in new ways to achieve the goal that all of them share.

The lesson that I think those with new ideas can take from the Peter Cooper’s story is this….  you need to win the people over.  This means that you cannot create something new and unleash it on the people without helping them to experience how it can bring a benefit.  You need to allow time for conversation around the new idea.  You need to create opportunity of experiments and demonstrations.  You need to receive input and allow people to adjust to the ideas.  By taking these steps and going at a pace which will allow people to experience and adjust, you will be much more successful than if you go full force.

Flowing Water   Leave a comment

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I want my life to be flowing water and not a stagnant pond!

Let me give a little background into that statement.  One of the realities of life is that change is going to occur.  In a conversation that I was having today, we both acknowledged this reality.  I think there is always a part of each of us that hopes that things do not change.  This is most often true when there are a lot of positives occurring in our lives.  Just as much as there is a part of us that wishes to avoid change, there is an equal part that hopes for change.  This hope arises most frequently when there are a lot of negatives taking place.  However, we often have limited impact on change other than our ability to respond to, and at times, guide change.  We cannot stop change.

As I reflected on change this morning, the image of water came to my mind.  If you stand by a flowing creek or river, you realize that there is constant motion, constant change.  This movement provides opportunity for life and can be very refreshing on hot day.  Through the flowing water, we can capture some energy.  We see forward progress of everything caught up in its flow.

Another scene with water is one that takes place at a pond which is neither spring feed or receiving the flow of a stream.  When you stand alongside one of these bodies of water, you often detect an unpleasant odor.  Many times there are all forms of algae or other plant life covering the top of the water.  This pond is stagnant.  There is no movement and often no lasting life.  The reason is there is no change occurring with the water.

So if I carry the water image into my thoughts about life, I would prefer that my life be flowing water and not a stagnant pond.