Change is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
All of us have been through a year of tremendous change. Some of those changes have been joyfully anticipated, while others have been painfully unexpected. Some of the changes have been political and cultural, others have been personal and professional. The age of COVID introduced change to every aspect of our lives: travel, work, school, worship, recreation, healthcare, and personal habits. But, even without a COVID pandemic, life is never static. It is always changing. I am finding the decision to retire from pastoral ministry to be a big change for Mary Pat and me. The past ten years at St. Luke have been some of the best and most joyful years of our ministry together, and they have flown by. Now, important questions arise about purpose, direction and meaning, for us and for St. Luke Church.
Some years ago I asked one of our retired South Georgia ministers, Dr. Aubrey Alsobrook, how he seemed to navigate all life’s changes so graciously. He responded, “I remind myself every day that while change is inevitable, growth is optional, and I opt for growth!”
His words are true. While change brings a certain sense of grief and loss, change also brings the opportunity for newness and growth. So much depends on our mindset and perspective. With every change we have a choice. We can choose to cling to the past or we can choose to embrace the new growth to which God is calling us. It’s ultimately a matter of faith and trust.
The prophet Jeremiah said well: “The steadfast love of God never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23) In a world and in lives of inevitable change, the steadfast love of God is constant. God’s inexhaustible mercy meets us at every change and gives us a life enriching option.
I am thankful for the leadership of St. Luke’s Staff Parish Relations Committee. Each member has embraced this transition in the life of St. Luke as an opportunity for new vitality and new growth. Mary Pat and I embrace this moment of change in the same spirit. By God’s mercy, we can all opt for growth in new dimensions of our life and discipleship.