I walked through the security gate and heard the sound of a buzzer go off and watched security officers scramble to contain me. In an instant a wand went over my body and detected something in my pocket that had not made it into the small plastic bowl provided for passing small metal objects through the x-ray machine. I had inadvertently left .32 cents in my right pants pocket. Forgive me, but it is easy for me to forget about a few nickels and pennies when I am trying to keep my pants up, my socks clean, and an eye on my stuff going through the conveyer belt. My bad, but loose change just doesn’t demand my attention.
Loose change. Why bother? I long for the day when all transactions will be rounded up or down and solid/whole dollar bills or electronic transactions will be the way we do business. For all I care, we can eliminate loose change from my pocket, my floorboard, my dresser, and my desk. Loose change doesn’t matter to me.
Loose change doesn’t matter to anyone really. Right?
Loose change is overlooked and forgotten. It is rarely saved or kept safely. Loose change is destined to rarely (if ever) enter into the exchange for goods and services again. Once change gets loose, its use is over. Finished. Caput.
I think that is the problem with change. There is too much about it that is loose. I am talking about change in behavior, attitudes, feelings, plans, routines, even change in our faith. We want to change something. We decide to change something. We feel good about changing something, but we don’t really change anything. All that has happened has been a temporary alteration or adjustment before falling back into the routine or pattern that preceded our so called change. Change like that will not last and will only make it more difficult the next time we feel led to make a change in that area. Our change is far too loose, way too often.
Maybe we need a philosophy (or a theology or at least a plan) of change to help us get our minds around what change is really about and what it might mean to us. That way we know what we are getting into, understand the cost involved, and enter into changes with a conviction that what we are doing is not to be considered cheap or loose, but necessary and crucial to being a better person and living a better life.
Ahem…here it is.
One sentence. Consider it a mantra for change, or perhaps a mission statement for you business types.
“True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” (Leo Tolstoy)
Does that mean that all changes in our lives should be small ones? Maybe. It is true that even the big things that need to be changed about us are built on a foundation of many small things that must be changed, too. Change enough small things in your life, and you get big change back. See how that works?
The greater truth here is that life is all about change. We only enter into true life when we recognize that changing is a regular part of life, so we should not only accept change as a reality, but we should learn to change well and not loosely. Moving to an understanding of change as a natural occurrence from having seen change as “the enemy” frees us to see the world differently than we did before – even better.
…as I age I must change what I eat, how I sleep, what I do for exercise because, quite frankly, I am not 17 anymore and can’t survive on Big Macs, three hours of sleep, and constant games of pickup basketball. Change will offer me a healthier life.
…as my marriage matures I must change to coincide with the changes going on in my home, my job, and my wife’s life. Change will offer me a truer love that honors God and fulfills our hopes and dreams for life together.
…as my children age I must change because they aren’t wearing diapers and going to bed at 8:00 PM anymore. They don’t need someone to keep them clean and/or organize their toys. They need a daddy who will love them, protect them, provide for them, put their needs ahead of my happiness, and position them for success in life that might take them far away from me and way beyond my greatest achievements. Change will offer me a chance to not only bring children into the world, but to walk with them long into their lives and enjoy the creation God has gifted to me.
…as my faith grows it must change, because God is drilling deeper into me. What I said and thought as a child about faith has to be more solid and serious as an adult because I have adult-sized spiritual issues. My faith can be simple like a child but must be sustainable in the face of crises, questions, and quandaries. Change will help me not to be surprised by how God is working in my life – in new ways beyond what I expected or required of Him.
Change. Like it or not, it is necessary. Change will either break you in half or it will form you more into the creature God had in mind: a creature ready to take on the image of Christ and continue the work of kingdom building in everything that we do and with everyone with whom we are connected.
Don’t take that too loosely.