In Live more simply/ Purpose

How to cope with change

I’m in a transitional year.  At Orchard: Africa we are finishing up a five-year project and getting started on the next one.  Our objective and purpose is still the same but we’ll be using new methods and implementing new tools.  The thing I’ve noticed about times of transition is that they can be unsettling. The ground shifts and you find yourself feeling unbalanced.  What you do with this feeling makes all the difference.

Mountainous route full of stones

When our feet are on unsteady or uneven ground, our natural response is to grab hold of a stable object and hang on.  Initially, this is a good plan.

  • In transition, the dominant feeling is often fear.  Fear of losing the familiar and fear of the unknown.  Here’s a thought to hang on to – the thing about feelings is just that; they are feelings.  They exist only in your heart and mind.  You can choose to feed fear with a bunch of “what if’s” or you can starve fear with trust.
  • When your world is moving and wobbling, hang on to trust. Trust in God. Trust those that God has brought alongside you.  The scripture says to “believe the best of all people”.  Choose to trust – it is a stabilizing force to hang on to.
  • See yourself as God sees you. He sees you as immensely valuable.  This is not based on the success or failure of your current or future projects or plans.  You are immensely valuable to Him – period.  No conditions.

When the ground shifts, hanging on is smart.  But, there will come a time when you need to let go and move on.

  • Press in – don’t give up.  Fix your eyes on the new horizon, strap on your boots and, with a healthy dose of faith, press in.
  • Reach out – collaborate with others, join in, be the community that God wants you to be.
  • Rethink – your work, your influence, your strategy.  Be willing to change.
  • Build – build bridges, don’t burn them.  Include as many of your friends as possible. In the wake of new and exciting ventures, don’t abandon those with whom you have travelled to get here. The scripture says not to forsake old friends.  They were sent to you especially for times like these.  They are God’s gift to you.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”  – Proverbs 3:5-6

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  • Sibongile

    Hi Michelle
    I am going through so much. I really needed to hear those words. U are sent by God. May He bless u and keep using u in His Kingdom.

  • Michelle Tessendorf

    So glad these words were of help to you Sibongile. May you experience God’s joy and peace.

  • Jeff Doornbos

    Excellent advice and perfect timing. Thank you so much

    • Michelle Tessendorf

      You’re welcome Jeff. Always glad when there’s a ‘word in season’.

  • Paola Tuniz

    Thank you Michelle, your words always reach to me in a special way. I’m passing this note on to a person who is dear to me. Until know she’s been hanging on very smart but know time has come to let go and go on.

    • Michelle Tessendorf

      I’m so glad my writing is meaningful to you Paola. I trust it helps the one you are passing this on to and that she finds peace during her time of change.