Written By Kara J Lovett, USA
As a business consultant, my job specialty is emotional support consulting.
Of course, there is a more professional name for it: organizational change management. My team helps companies manage the effects of new technology on their people, processes, and policies. In other words, I hold hands, smile, and let the impacted stakeholders know that everything is going to be alright.
I also specialize in needing emotional support consulting myself. Like my clients, when I am faced with change, I feel a combination of anger, frustration, and fear.
During the biggest changes of my life—moving to college, living abroad, starting a new job—I would have liked someone to walk through the change with me and assure me that everything would be alright. I needed someone who was always faithful, so that when they said everything was going to be alright, it was something that I could really believe.
When I realized that, as a consultant, our hand holding and smiling—while comforting—can’t guarantee a certain outcome, I was reminded of the One who has kept every promise. The faithful person I’d been searching for was beside me all along—God, my Heavenly Father. He has been my “emotional support consultant” through every change, and has encouraged me along the way. For the latest change in my life—my new job—God has revealed to me three specific things that I want to share with you about who He is and why He allows change.
1. Sometimes God won’t tell us why things are changing.
During our client engagement meetings, my consulting team always makes a point to give the overarching “Case for Change.” The “Case for Change” presents a compelling argument for why the company should make the change.
God, on the other hand, doesn’t always give us a “Case for Change,” nor is He obligated to do so.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55: 8-9).
Whenever I’m faced with change, I ask God to reveal His purposes for me now. Yet oftentimes, it’s not until much later that I realize why He allowed a change in my life—if He tells me at all!
God tells us to simply trust Him and trust that He has already thought through the “Case for Change.” His ways are just far higher than our ways, which means sometimes we won’t understand the logic behind the change. Although it is always a battle to accept change without knowing the reason, the other two things I’ve learned about God and change help give me peace about the situation.
2. I need change in order to grow.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced was moving to the sixth-smallest country in the world to be an English Teaching Assistant for a year. Thousands of miles away from home in the co-principality of Andorra, I faced an ever-growing list of major changes. Having to navigate a new culture, a foreign school system, and a new job while knowing no one in the country and not even speaking the official language—these changes were unlike anything I’d ever experienced.
When I look back on one of the toughest years of my life, I realize that every challenge I faced allowed me to grow in new and powerful ways. Not only did I return home speaking a new language—Catalan—but I brought back refined communication skills, experience working with international teams, and a stronger understanding of why I need to rely on God. With my own human limits constantly being exposed in Andorra, I quickly recognized my weaknesses, and instead of looking inward for strength, I turned toward God.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1: 2-4).
Even though James was writing to Christians who were facing persecution, you and I can relate this passage to circumstances in our own lives where our faith is being tested. For me, moving to Andorra was a “test of faith,” and according to James, those challenging circumstances and situations have a godly purpose. We can be confident that God is using them to develop us so that we are “mature and complete” as people who are more like Christ.
3. Even though there is change, God is always constant.
My change management consulting team focuses mainly on what’s changing. Yet, more often than not, our communications about the coming changes usually result in even more questions about what’s saying the same.
I’ve learned that it’s easier to accept a change if I can be assured of what is constant. For Christians, that constant is God. We can be assured that God’s character never changes, no matter how much change we see in our day-to-day lives (Hebrews 13:8).
I am so thankful that even as things are shifting around us, and we, ourselves, are changing too, God’s character never wavers. God forever remains powerful over all things, trustworthy in what He says, and faithful and compassionate through change.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).
When I first moved to my new job location, I was convinced that I wanted a consulting project that required me to travel, and I tried my best to force my way into the doors that God had firmly closed. Yet, even though I was angry to be placed on a local project, God showed compassion to me and gave me the strength to thrive there.
So, God’s faithfulness and compassion are not dependent on our faithfulness. He is faithful and gracious to us because of His character. That’s just who He is, so you and I can be assured that God will always be faithful and that His compassion for us will never fail!
As an emotional support consultant, I have a lot to learn. As a child of God, I have a lot to learn as well. But my teacher is truly the best in the business; no amount of change will ever surprise Him.
I hope these things help you the next time you are faced with unexpected (or expected) change. Reach for the one forever constant and trust God!