[NOTE: if you read these occasional blogs, you already know I am a follower of Christ and you may know, among my various vocational roles, I consult with and coach churches and their leaders. So, although this post is about a personal CHANGE, I am working my way up to it from my vocational context…]
I have often heard it said, “People don’t like change.”
- If you buy a $1.59 cup of coffee at the convenience store, but only have a $20 in your wallet, I bet you will like some change
- Babies love ‘change’, passionately pleading for it every 4 hours or so
- I don’t know anyone with 100+ HD cable channels who want to go back to the pre-change days of rabbit ears, aluminum foil, and 2 snowy channels
You get the idea.
I think what people are actually saying is: I don’t want change forced on me by someone outside of myself
I know a guy. We used to hang out sometimes.
He was and is the stereotypical change AGENT… leading a STUCK IN THEIR WAYS local Church to not only change something, but to adopt a paradigm of changING as a way of living!
He wrote a book cleverly titled Transitioning [which is the uptown word for change] to tell their story.
They implemented an ancient model articulated from the fascinating story of a guy named Nehemiah (that whole story is in the Bible).
The Church did so by putting in place these 8 simple steps for leading through (or walking, personally, through) change:
- Prepare yourself to see things anew (vision)
- Define that new way of seeing things (contextualize)
- Plant that vision among other influencers in your life (getting mentoring input)
- Share that new dream with people around you (those you influence)
- Implement the change
- Expect and deal with opposition
- Make adjustments
Pretty simple; right?
One of the things I’ve always admired about this process is the fact that you don’t actually implement any change (which is where the stuff you do starts somehow affecting other people) until you are halfway through the cycle!
Which brings me out of the vortex of vocation and to the personal point.
Over the last 10+ years Adele/I have been downsizing.
Just those few years ago we lived in a 2700 square foot house plus an office suite at work. And, like anyone else in our consumer society, we sort of grazed our way into filling up our space.
It is, frankly, embarrassing to confess and was extremely embarrassing to live [I moved myself once in those years and, after filling up every inch of a 24’ moving van, had to rent another 16’ truck for the outside stuff and my office!].
In time, our hearts began to hurt as we started to peek through our way-too-often-closed eyes to actually see other people around us.
We began to wonder aloud just how could we change this?
At that time, we were introduced (we would say led by God) to a set of disciplines collectively called simplifying.
And, in response to the divine promptings that came as we exercised these disciplines, we began to simplify the way we lived which (as promised) helped us to better see the things we didn’t really need at all.
As that list of unnecessary items grew, I started seeing dollar signs $$$…just imagine how much I could “save for retirement” by selling all this stuff? (Craig’s List? eBay?)
The same VOICE that guided us all along whispered loudly, “Give it away.”
My spiritually mature response was: well that sucks!
So, it has taken over 10 years but we are far enough along (though I’m not sure we are at that halfway mark mentioned earlier) to go public with our change!!
A couple weeks back we sold our townhouse and are now temporarily living with a storage unit and in one bedroom at our oldest son’s house (thanks, Josh, Elena, and Kaylee!!).
The pace of our change to date has been slow to be sure:
- I’m not always as responsive to those urgings from God as I ought to be
- We had almost 40 years of our stuff
- During those same years we inherited stuff from other family members
- The organization we work for went virtual, which meant moving my ‘extra moving truck’ office, home
But – here we are – on the edge of a brand, new tomorrow!!
And, where do we go from here?
I’ll write a bit more about the process and an answer to that question in another post to come. But, suffice to say, the answer can be summed up like this: