A few months ago I walked into an office and saw the quote just as it appears in the picture frame. If I composed that quote, I probably would have said, “Change or Die.” 

Suffer vs Die (not physical but emotional death), we can talk about later, but for now let us keep the main thing, the main thing.

Change, a six letter word that could make all the difference in our individual lives and ultimately in the world. Much has been written on the subject by those far more learned and eloquent than I. I will therefore not attempt to be philosophical about it but instead speak/write from a practical and personal stance.

Life’s circumstances have forced me to become a changed human being and then again, there are those changes that came because I sought them, i.e. I researched, read, studied, asked questions, observed, and/or sought counsel.

Change does not happen overnight; it is not instantaneous, and it does not manifest simply from a desire or wish. Let us be clear, it can start with a desire or wish, but results will only be produced through due process. The process usually requires or comes about as a result of work (commitment, stick-to-itiveness), pain, trauma, or a new set of circumstances (job, relocation, marriage, death, separation, health, financial).

Change can be messy, shameful, and painful. It can literally break a person, which is why the tendency is to avoid, side-step, delay, or ignore the need. Change requires us to turn aside (like God asked Moses to) and to see/do things differently—not one time, but repeatedly until the new way of seeing (perceiving, judging) or doing the new thing, becomes the new response.

After suffering a recent emotional blow, a friend sent one of those text messages meant for encouragement. The relevant part of the message read, “There are going to be very painful moments in your life that will change your world in a matter of minutes. These moments will change YOU. Let them make you kinder, smarter and stronger. Don’t become someone you’re not.”

In processing my pain and assessing the situation, I had to take the actions, expectations, and responses (mine and the other wounded soul) into consideration, and in doing so, I kept going back to the part of the message which said, “Don’t become someone you’re not.” The more I thought about it, the more I disagreed with it.

Change—360° or 180°?

Yes there will be instances when it will be enough for the Change to make us kinder, smarter, and stronger. Perhaps also wiser too. However, there will be those situations or pivotal moments in life when we will NEED to become someone or something else—when only a radical change will produce healthy/functional results.

It is in the absence of such a radical shift we suffer. We suffer when we find ourselves on a merry-go-round of ups and downs, highs and lows. We fool ourselves into thinking we are well when we are on the top, but because this is a cycle, the downward trajectory will come, and when it approaches, we get tense, and inevitably, we  hit bottom. And then, we’re up again – whoopi!

Unfortunately this cycle is not sustainable; it may function for a while, but if it is not re-engineered, eventually it will crash. You see, our lives are not merry-go-rounds. We were built/created to function, flourish, grow, and thrive in healthy stable environments.

No Man Is An Island

God did not create us to be alone. We were meant to live in familial unity; marry; have a sense of safe belonging in the home and within various groups; share, exchange, and laugh; strengthen and encourage each other. “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend (to show rage or worthy purpose),” Proverbs 27:17. However, if we live in isolation and convince ourselves that we are perfect as we are, then we won’t experience the blessing of another’s ability to help sharpen our rough edges.

When we fail to make sustainable changes in our lives, we run the risk of wounding those around us with our sharp edges. If we lived and existed alone, it would not matter—we could make executive decisions to remain unchanged, suffer alone, and ultimately die. But because we have the blessing of sharing our lives with others, in the home, on the job, or in social groups, we should give careful and objective consideration to the benefits of change—radical or otherwise—for our good health and wellness and that of those around us.

Earlier I wrote, “Change can literally break a person,” but on a more positive note, change can also make a person.

Metamorphosis – A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means. (Online Dictionary)

What will it be? Will you continue the cycle of suffering? Will you allow the dysfunction to slowly suck the life out of you? Or will you give yourself the gift of a metamorphosis? The caterpillar in itself is a beauty, but could only crawl. After the process of metamorphosis, it becomes even more beautiful as a butterfly. It develops wings of the most magnificent color patterns and now has the ability to fly and soar—a whole new world opens up because of that change.

Go ahead, what will it be?

Cheryl David is a new blogger and publishes inspirational articles through her Brown Bread for the Soul blogs. Cheryl recently published the book Brown Bread for the Soul, a collection a poems and prayers and dishes up daily inspiration through the Brown Bread for the Soul website.


Image courtesy of Matheus Bertelli.