Big Changes


Life is different today than it was a year ago. And, with so many unknown curves ahead, things are likely to keep changing. So what can you do to manage what lies ahead?

We are all facing big changes that cause stress and give rise to emotional reactions that affect us personally, as well as how we relate to other people. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind as you cope with the stress of impending change.

In 2019, life felt more predictable. How could we have known what was ahead? Working at home seemed like an impossible, but desirable dream. Now a lot of people are doing just that. But homeschooling kids while you try to work at home? Who saw that big change coming?

Normal used to be …

  • Going out for dinner & a movie.
  • Hanging out with friends.
  • Attending church.

Now “normal” wears a mask.
Anxiety & depression are increasing.
So are domestic violence & suicidal thoughts.

And we don’t know what is just around the proverbial curve for us. So let’s be mindful as we move forward & learn to take charge of our responses.

1. Big Changes make us more emotional & more defensive.

Big Changes – whether pleasant or unpleasant – are fraught with Feelings … in Floods & Flurries. It’s part of being human, you know. We are designed to respond to/interact with our environment. How dull life would be if nothing ever changed!

Feelings are like gauges or thermometers that tell us something is going on around us & inside us. But we need to learn what to do with those feelings. (I’ll say more about that in a minute.)

Because personal experience – especially when it’s been traumatic – has the power to make us overly cautious. Consequently, our emotions can quickly make us Default. Pulling back into shame and self-protection as a way to survive. Whether the threat is real or only imagined.

The purpose of most of today’s news channels is to elicit enough fear to keep us watching obsessively. We become hypervigilent, and fear starts driving even more fear.

2. Sometimes fear takes us by surprise.

If we’re not mindful and have a system for processing our thoughts and feelings, we can get hijacked by them. We always need to pay attention to them, but we do not always need to ACT on them!

  • Notice something is wrong.
  • Identify the actual feeling (sad, hurt, angry, afraid, guilty, ashamed).
  • Ask yourself what need is being triggered as evidenced by the feeling.
  • Seek a solution to your need. Ask someone who loves you to help by doing something specific, such as holding you or reassuring you that you are not alone.
  • Receive and replay (in your heart & mind) any positive response to your request. If you did not get what you asked for, ask The Lord to meet your need through His infinite resources

The fact is that our brains are always collecting “evidence” to keep us focused on fear … especially painful reminders of past rejection & failure.


3. Big Changes have Rumble Strips to keep us on track.

When we’re driving down the highway, rumble strips are there to warn us that we’re out of our lane, possibly even veering completely off course. Tires suddenly hitting the rumble strips make a loud and distinct noise that’s designed to alert the driver to an adjustment that needs to be made. In fact, the noise can even wake someone who has fallen asleep at the wheel. That’s the whole purpose of rumble strips on the road.

If we’re not mindful and have a system for processing our thoughts and feelings, we can get hijacked by them. We always need to pay attention to them, but we do not always need to ACT on them!

  • Notice something is wrong.
  • Identify the actual feeling (sad, hurt, angry, afraid, guilty, ashamed).
  • Ask your self what need is being triggered as evidenced by the feeling.
  • Seek a solution to your need. Ask someone who loves you to help by doing something specific, such as holding you or reassuring you that you are not alone.
  • Receive and replay (in your heart & mind) any positive response to your request. If you did not get what you asked for, ask The Lord to meet your need through His infinite resources.

What Big Changes are you facing today?

Whether those Big Changes include something you’ve wanted for a long time, or something you have dreaded, you get to choose your response to your own emotions.


What if unpleasant emotions are like rumble strips? Signals that evil is trying to pull us off the very course that Our Creator wants us to take?


  • Evil’s intention is for us to DEFAULT to freak-out mode.
    • Doubt our identity and the Goodness of God.
    • Derail. Over-correct. Drive completely off the road.
  • The Lord’s intention is for us to RESET to who we are in Christ.
    • Run toward Him as Much-Loved Children.
    • Refocus on The Father’s Love. Be restored to A Higher CallingOpens in a new tab..

Default or Reset?

It takes mindful practice. Lots of practice!
Tough? Yes. And so worth it!

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” ISAIAH 30:21Opens in a new tab.
https://youtu.be/R0eXlEV18TM
click here for more videos on stress reliefOpens in a new tab.

DrDebiSmith

Dr. Debi is passionate about helping Christian couples & single adults learn more effective ways to apply Biblical principles & the findings of psychological research to everyday life. She is an author & former *professor, as well as a California Licensed Psychologist (21711) & a Texas Licensed Psychologist with Provisional Status (38600). At this time, she is not accepting new patients so she can devote more time to writing & creating educational programs for couples. * Dr. Debi has taught psychology courses at MidAmerica Nazarene University, Azusa Pacific University, & Biola University.

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