Several days a week I work in masonry with my father’s company, Fran Overholt, Inc. This week as I was laying block, another mason on the job commented that he preferred to do things the way he was taught rather than to change. Evidently at one point another mason had tried to show him a faster way to do something, but he refused to do it; the way he knew was preferable to change, even if the change would have made him more productive.
Several years ago I was the worship leader at a church that had two styles of worship – traditional and contemporary – and it had been that way for about 15 years. The leadership decided we should do an experiment and lead one style of worship during our five week purpose series. Needless to say, many people from both styles struggled with the decision. Leading worship during those five weeks, and particularly during the first three, was more difficult than any other I had ever experienced in worship leadership up to that time. Knowing that people in the congregation were angry and possibly even resentful towards me and the leadership over the song I was leading at that moment was brutal.
Prior to that experiment I had always said I liked change. I liked to do new things and experiment. I still do. But I have made one small change to my statement. No longer do I simply say I like change; I now realize that I like change only when I initiate the change. Ever think about that? Some people do like change regardless of it’s source, but I would wager that the majority of people only like the change they initiate.
When I made that realization, suddenly I had a lot more compassion and understanding for the older members of our congregation who were struggling with all of the changes. Suddenly I found that I was often just like them, struggling with the change that someone else initiated without my consent.
I like to think that I interact with the older generations in a completely different way than I had before that change, and I like to think that I am much more honest with myself. Yesterday I talked about learning to know yourself; well, this was a big step on that path for me, and it keeps me thoughtful when I am proposing changes.
Proverbs 3:13 (ESV) states, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, . .” Wisdom and understanding do not come to us naturally or by some bestowment from God. We have to seek wisdom and understanding. “Blessed is the one who finds . . ., and the one who gets . . .” We must choose to accept and learn from change, to remain teachable. God made Solomon the wisest man who ever lived, but only after he requested wisdom and understanding to lead Israel (2 Chronicles 1:7-12).
To dig deeper, read this post by Michael Hyatt: The Primary Difference Between The Wise And The Foolish.
How about you? How do you respond to change? How do you remain teachable?