The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the position of ZU Media or APU.
Why it is imperative to embrace the change
2020, Need I say more?
A global pandemic occurred. Churches closed. Racial tensions reached an all time high. A Supreme Court Justice passed away. Countless heroes left us. Peace broke out in the Middle East. Natural disasters occurred around the world. On top of it all, a presidential election took place.
I am not one to be a fan of change. I hate not knowing what is coming next and not being prepared for it. However, this year has been an exercise in both faith and patience, regardless of how much of either you have.
If you have been on social media at all in the last couple of months, you are aware that everyone cannot wait for 2021. Before that, everyone could not wait for the election to be over. The world has put their lives on perpetual hold, hoping that one day things will get back to normal. The question remains: what is normal?
I would suggest that there is no such thing. Nothing has ever been normal. People change jobs, lose loved ones and have their lives upended every day of every year. To be clear, I am not downplaying this pandemic; I am merely suggesting that we need to learn to live within the change, not just settle because we are overwhelmed by it.
“Excellence is a place where people who refuse to settle for mediocrity live,” writes Ashley Fern, Director of Content and Strategy at Elite Daily. When things get tough it is definitely easier to relax in what is known, it is imperative that during these moments we push even harder.
Life cannot be put on hold simply because we are not ready to deal with it. As John Lennon suggests, “life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”
Yes, an extraordinary amount of change has taken place this year. Yes, things may look different for the foreseeable future, but we cannot simply get comfortable and hope that eventually things will return to the way they were.
Perseverance is not simply about ‘getting through.’ It is about sticking to your life plan amidst hardship. This year is about realizing that even when things look like they cannot possibly work in your favor, you should not get comfortable with reality because it is easy. Don’t simply push off your plans and put your dreams on hold because it is easier than persevering.
Instead of settling, adapt your goals to your environment and stick to them. A record 32% of high school graduates changed their post-graduation plans because of COVID-19 this year. While that number is relatively high, that means that 68% of the graduating class found a way to push through. This is what we should be taking note of, as there is no guaranteed tomorrow.
There’s no reason that you should sacrifice life today because there might be a more clear path forward in the future. Things are never going to stop changing. There might be something in your way today, but what if there is something new in your way tomorrow?
In the short term, it is in our own hands how we respond to the smaller challenges. But every journey begins with one step. I would argue that the smaller hurdles are the easiest, but most significant. Just putting on some clothes and creating a small check list for the day can create the world of a difference for your mental health.
It is hard to tell what the effects of the pandemic — as well as everything else that has happened — will be on our lives. From washing our hands more often to changing our entire routines, there are going to be many different long term effects. When looking back to the Great Depression, people were impacted for decades to come. It is impossible to tell if COVID-19 will last as long.
That begs the question: are you ready to put your life on hold for another year? Five years? 10 years?
James 1:12 (NIV) reads, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
So often in the Christian faith, it is easy to remind one another that God has a purpose for our suffering. We have faith that we should not fear because Christ is fighting for us. This can be a challenge as sometimes the hardships of life can be overwhelming.
While we should remember that God is fighting for us, that does not mean we must simply ignore what is happening around us, nor am I suggesting that is a good idea. I am suggesting that we accept the pain for what it is, realize that things are difficult, scary and uncertain, but recognize that we can get through these changes and be productive.
If the last seven months have taught us anything, it is that we cannot settle for just getting by. We have to create our own goals, find our own drive and discover our passions and own them.
Nothing can get in the way of a driven person.
You are more than capable of accomplishing your goals in the midst of chaos. In the middle of the unknown and change, there is progress to be made. That is what perseverance looks like: finding your purpose in the storm and sticking with it. Don’t settle for just surviving because life threw a curveball; adjust your swing and hit it out of the park.
I am not a fan of change; however, there is a beauty to change as it is a new opportunity to be better. I am learning not only to accept the change, but embrace it for all its new chances.
There’s always going to be another hurdle to climb, another reason to push off that goal or another excuse for why you shouldn’t start that book. Let the last half of this semester be a reminder to you of that. The world is not waiting on you, so you should not wait on it either.