How can we navigate through changes in life? 

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve read how I’ve processed a significant change in our family’s life. Hubs and I drove our youngest son to college halfway across the country. Launching our oldest into adulthood last year opened the door of my heart to the reality that changes in life impact more than one facet of our lives. 

My heart had to learn how to say adieu to our oldest. But saying goodbye to our youngest on his college campus was harder. 

Not because I love him more (I love both of our sons with my whole heart) but because his last hug closed the door on a facet of parenting I’ve cherished. The privilege of mothering our two sons has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. And now, I’ve had to give them back to God. 

Launching a grown child into adulthood is a major change in life! And it’s not an isolated, one-dimensional event. 

About changes in life

We will face changes in life. Whether they’re small, like from one weather season to the next or a child advancing from elementary to middle school, or big changes like a move to another state, a new job, a health diagnosis, a child leaving home, or the death of a loved one, change is inevitable.

Often, we can’t stop the change. Control it? Can’t do that either. 

Two things we can do are trust God and choose how we’ll respond when life tilts us out of our comfort zones.

Changes in life impact every aspect of who we are, especially those big life transitions. Some impact us physically. Most changes shift us mentally, emotionally, and maybe even spiritually. Some changes in life affect our identities. 

Ways to respond to changes in life

When significant changes in life come, we’ll walk through them more healthily if we acknowledge how the change affects us as a whole person. 

Some changes cause a sense of grief. Changes almost force an emotional response. When placed in an unfamiliar situation (health, job, family situation, etc.), our emotions will react. 

It’s healthy to acknowledge the emotion, process it, and discover the Why behind our feelings. It’s essential to give ourselves time (maybe after the shock of the change has worn off) to feel the emotions and to work through them. 

Change may also cause us to rethink our identities. For Christians, our ultimate identity is found in who God says we are:

7 of the Best Ways to Weather Changes in Life—We're God's kids, loved completely, perfectly, and passionately #tellhisstory #changesinlife #lifechanges Click To Tweet

We’re His kids, loved completely, perfectly, and passionately

But as a mom who just returned to an empty home, my identity of “Mom of boys” with the connotations of the chaos and fun boys add to a mama’s day has shifted. I’m still a mother but of grown sons. I no longer get to know the ins and outs of their days. Though this reality grieves me some, my ultimate identity remains: I’m a beloved daughter of God. 

When we find our identity in who God says we are, life’s changes will not shatter us. To understand this truth is possibly the most important foundation for navigating change.

7 of the Best Ways to Weather Changes in Life—When we find our identity in who God says we are, life's changes will not shatter us #tellhisstory #changesinlife #lifechanges Click To Tweet
Image of a door that's partially open, symbolic of the invitation to trust God during changes in life
7 of the Best Ways to Weather Changes in Life 5

Ways to respond to changes in life

Changes in life don’t have the power to force us into passive acceptance. We make choices about how we’ll respond. Here are some tips to steer through life’s changes. 

Thought shifts

Spend time with God

The Author of our stories isn’t surprised when change happens. He only allows circumstances into our lives that prepare us for His purposes. Our Father knows what we need. And He wants to walk through the difficulties with us. Will we trust Him in the process?

Shift our mindsets

As I spoke with a friend in this same season of life, something she said spoke to my heart. Though this may be an ending, it’s also a beginning. I love that thought. This change is permanent, but it’s not all “bad.”

Gain a fresh perspective

Talking with a friend helps us to process the change. Safe people who listen and offer a different perspective help us view our life change in a more balanced way. And let’s also ask God for His perspective on this change.

Action shifts

Practice gratitude

As a good friend of mine walks through cancer—a huge life change—I’ve admired the way she continues to choose thankfulness. Whether for big or small things, she expresses gratitude for the ways God shows up.

Be honest about your feelings

It’s easy to dismiss my feelings when a big, especially unwanted, change barges into my life. I figure I should deal with it and move on. But we come through healthier if we acknowledge how we’re feeling

Emotions shouldn’t rule everything, but accepting our feelings as a part of the working-through-change process is essential. Sometimes, writing in a journal helps us release emotions.

Self-Care

Especially with complex changes, we must be kind to ourselves. That may mean we say no to some commitments. Take a bath (it really can help). Nap for a little while in the afternoon. Give yourself permission to read a good book. 

When profound change enters our lives, we can’t live as though it’s business as usual. Because “usual” just fell by the wayside. Become aware of what you need physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and give yourself the gift of meeting those needs.

Keep a routine

Setting and maintaining a daily routine keeps us grounded when our lives shift. 

Image of a gateopening to a meadow, a symbol of what our hearts can be toward God during changes in life
7 of the Best Ways to Weather Changes in Life 6

Conclusion

I don’t have this “master the changes in life” thing nailed down. Teary moments hit unexpectedly this week. I still can’t clean out either of our sons’ rooms. But the most helpful aspect of walking through this life change has been 1) believing God holds our sons in the palm of His hand. He loves them even more than Hubs and I do. And 2) knowing God has good things and new adventures for Hubs and me. 

I’m excited to see what doors God opens in each of our lives.

What about you? What’s helped you the most when you’ve walked through changes in life? How have changes in your life deepened your relationship with God?

Donna has decided to step back from co-hosting the Tell His Story linkup. So, for the time being, we will meet here each week. 😊

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