Change is hard, but change happens whether we like it or not. Most often we don’t like it, but we should learn to say “yes” to change for a very important reason—so we can have a hand in directing that change.
A year or so ago, my little town had an opportunity to have one of those big, bright, digital billboards erected alongside the main highway through town. When our mayor asked for citizen’s opinions on Facebook, the feedback was overwhelmingly negative.
While I understand where many people were coming from—a viewpoint that the billboard would “change the atmosphere of our small town”—the most troubling aspect of the rejection was the complete closed-mindedness I witnessed.
The thing is, our small town is in a high-traffic, high-growth corridor. The population to the south and east of us has exploded exponentially in the last decade, and the growth has nowhere to go but north and west. My family are fairly recent citizens as well. We’ve been here a little over a decade.
Change is coming whether the current citizens want it or not. What they should be doing is saying “yes” so that they can direct the change rather than resisting until it’s too late.
Another community south of us—a fairly affluent city—has had it’s own resistance to growth. The electric company has installed some pretty huge electrical towers along one of the main roads just north of a pock of large subdivisions. The residents hate the way it looks, and want the electrical lines to be buried underground and hidden.
This is possible, but at an added expense to the residents—an increase in their monthly bills. The residents are resisting this extra cost, yet still insisting the electric company bury the lines—threatening to sue or otherwise take action if necessary. It’s a typical “not in my backyard” reaction to growth and progress. They want the benefits of electricity, but how dare the provider do it in the most cost effective way possible!
NOTE: Admittedly, this issue is more complex than what I’ve laid out here, and I’m sure that I’m grossly over-simpifying the entire fiasco. Either way, my point remains that there is some responsibility on the resident’s part to compromise and pay at least part of the cost for the benefit of burying unsightly, but necessary, electrical lines.
At my church over the weekend, we launched a new theme for the next year—More Than Conquerors. As our pastor introduced this theme, this was one of the paragraphs he shared from his notes:
“Life sports serious and difficult battles that make strength and courage requisite for victorious living. Every single one of us is plagued by fears. Every person faces difficult situations. Yet by God’s grace, we can be infused with inexhaustible courage. We can face our fears and serve as agents for genuine change.”
What does it mean to be an agent of change?
Last week, I had the privilege of addressing the members of our combined worship and tech teams at church during our annual meeting. I’ve taken on a new role as the church’s worship associate, basically overseeing elements of production and helping our worship director get stuff done.
One of my major points during my portion of the meeting—indeed, it was an idea woven throughout the entire night’s presentation—was the necessity of change.
Without change, we are incapable of growing. Almost all of us would say we want to grow as people, but rarely do we intentionally embrace change. Then we step back and wonder why we’re not growing!
Humans instinctively resist change because it can be uncomfortable—even painful. This is why we need to intentionally embrace change, because that allows us to be a part of the change process in a way that not only challenges us to grow, but also put us in a position to shape the change that’s occurring.
This is what it means to be an agent of change. Not being passive and letting change simply happen or having it forced upon you, but rather being active and participating and guiding change in an intentional manner.
Now, I’m obviously not advocating change for change sake, nor am I saying you should change in ways that go against your beliefs, principles, or ethics. What I am saying is that since change is inevitable, you might as well embrace it whole-heartedly so that you can guide the change so that it does not go against those things you hold so dear.