In yesterday's devotion, we discussed routine and finding contentment in the same old, same old. Today, I'd like to talk about the flip side of that topic: dealing with change. The word "change" evokes different reactions in people. For some, it is the doorway to exciting new opportunities and a chance for a fresh start. For others, it provides the pathway to uneasiness, fear and even stubborn refusal. So, is change good or bad? If God is calling you to it, it's definitely good though there may be a few pitfalls along the way.
For the sake of example, I'll use my personal experience with changing my website. I know to some that may seem like an easy thing, but if you've never done it, you have no idea how tedious, time-consuming and frustrating it can be. . . especially when you've decided to do something new. I started my blog on the Blogger platform in 2008. Since then, I've done all of my blogging on that platform. I've played around with several website platforms, but I've been using the Weebly platform for many years. Now, I've made the decision to combine my blog and website into one, and to do so, I'm using a completely new platform. The process has been both exciting and exasperating for the following reasons:
Change requires us to leave our comfort zones.
The whole point of change is to do something new and different, and while that can be fun, it can also be scary. I knew the Blogger and Weebly platforms so well that I could make changes in my sleep. Yes, they were time-consuming because that's just the way it is, but I knew the how, when and why. I knew what the platforms could and couldn't do, and I had come to know what to expect.
Now, I'm in an entirely new territory, and I have no idea what I'm doing. Instead of being a pro, I'm a novice, learning a little here and there as I go, which brings me to my next point.
Change requires a learning curve.
More often than not, that new location, career, relationship or whatever will require a new level of education. The familiar is gone, and in its place is a lot of questions and confusion. Where is the nearest gas station? How do I work this crazy machine? Does he prefer coffee, hot tea or both? And in my case, where do I even begin?
Yes, when I went to post my very first blog on my new website, I found myself staring at the back office screen and scratching my head. Step by step, I guessed and mistaked (new word) my way through the process. Once I understood how things worked, I decided I liked and appreciated the interface, but I also knew it would take me some time to get adjusted to it. And the more I study the platform, the more I realize I'm going to be learning for a VERY long time.
Change takes time to master.
Only on rare occasions do we step into a change flawlessly. On the contrary, there is often a lot of trial and error and unfortunately some wasted time. (Well, it's not technically wasted since we learn from the process, but when we don't see the reward from the hours we spent, it feels like wasted time.)
Let's take my latest web page. Early this week, I had a stretch of uninterrupted work time, and I was able to complete the "About" page for my new website. Unfortunately, before I could save it, I accidentally deleted a large block of text. In the process of trying to figure out how to recover it, I somehow signed out of the program. The result? The entire page was GONE! Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!! I spent yesterday afternoon rebuilding the page and was fairly satisfied with the result as I hit the "Save" button. But then, I received an email from an expert on this web platform. In the email, she shared the "secret" to creating these awesome creatures called "index pages." As I read through the information and looked at the examples, I realized what was missing on my "About" page. I wanted to make it look like those in the email. The only problem is I'll have to start all over again. Time, time, time! No wonder I only have three pages on the site.
As you can see, there are some serious drawbacks to change, and I believe it is these negative features that make some of us approach change as if we were approaching a rattlesnake. But we mustn't forget that change has some positive features as well.
Change provides the opportunity to do something new and exciting.
Sometimes change is a good thing because it gets us out of a rut. By giving us something to look forward to, it puts a spring in our step and a new hope in our heart. In the case of my website, my reason for changing things up is because I was unable to do a lot of the things I wanted to do because the platforms I was using didn't provide those options. That's the downside of "drag and drop" or easy to use platforms. They're easy to use because there are only so many things you can do. In the end, they aren't very customizable, and for me, that just wasn't working anymore. Now, I am open to so many new options and opportunities that it makes my head spin. I have control over every element of every page (except for the blocks I accidentally delete, evidently). Each time I learn something about this platform, I find myself saying, "Oh, now that's cool!" And change is what made it possible.
Change provides the opportunity for growth.
Not only does a change in job, relationship, location, position, etc. give us the chance to learn new things, but it helps us to grow in other ways as well. Moving to a new location allows us to create new friendships and find new "favorite places." Changing jobs creates an atmosphere to boost our confidence or tweak our motives. When God leads us to something new, it is often for the purpose of helping us grow, whether that be intellectually, financially, spiritually or something else entirely.
For me, I see this new website platform as a chance to grow the ministry. Because of its customizable nature, I can use it to do what I need it to do and can offer many of the features and services that I've only been able to dream about up to this point. Awesome!
Change can make things easier in the long run.
We've already established that change can take time and often requires quite a learning curve. For that reason alone, many of us are content to stay in our predictable comfort zones. While things may not be ideal, at least we know what to expect, right?
But I have news for you. There are many occasions where change will actually save us time in the long run and make our lives smoother. Say what? Let's go back to the new website. Before I made the change, here's what a typical blog post entailed: (1) Write and edit the post in Blogger. (2) Create and post the picture in Blogger. (3) Complete all the meta data information (labels, tags, scheduled date, etc.) in Blogger. (4) Copy the post and paste it into the newsletter software. (5) Edit the format so the post looks right in its new "home." (6) Upload the picture in the software program. (7) Schedule the newsletter to go out the following day. (8) Copy the post from Blogger and paste onto my website. (9) Upload the picture to my website. (10) Save the changes. (11) Share the post on social media manually. All of that. Every week day. For a single post.
Fortunately, my new platform is not only blog and website in one, but it also gives me the option of interfacing with my newsletter software and my social media networks. What does that mean? It means I save a lot of time and effort. Here's my current blogging method: (1) Write and edit the post in Squarespace. (2) Create and post the picture in Squarespace. (3) Complete all meta data information in Squarespace. (4) Tell the platform "Yes, share to social media." (5) Schedule the post. That's it! I'm done. When the new post publishes the following morning, the platform automatically shares the post with all my social media accounts and sends out the newsletter on a template created specifically for such a cause. Do you have any idea how much time that saves me on a daily basis? Yes, it took time to learn how to do everything and how to set up the interactions, but now, posting is a breeze!
Change. Routine. Both have their pros and cons. The thing to remember is to follow God's will. If you're obeying His command (whether it be to stay where you are or to try something new), He will work all things out for your good. It may not be easy at first, but hang in there. God has a purpose and a plan.