We’ve moved more than 50 times during our 40 years of married life. I say more than, because I decided to stop counting after the 50th. Most likely we’ve moved an average of once a year. Downright crazy, isn’t it?! But it’s played a big part in making me who I am, and in my relationship with God.
I was thinking about change because Mario teased me about the latest big changes on the blog. Until he saw it was bothering me a bit. (I was already feeling bad about it ). So he pointed out that it was really his fault that I’m so addicted to change — he was the one that moved us around so much! Which is odd, because he’s quite a methodical, habitual person. He doesn’t even like it when I move his books!
I’m the one that likes change, other than moving. Redecorating and moving furniture are my hobbies! Of course, my redecorating consists of moving stuff around. I’m not into shopping or buying new stuff! It had always been my dream to own one cute little house and live it in forever. You know, 2 bedrooms, a little garden, and a white picket fence. Instead, I’ve lived in everything from big homes to a tent and camping trailers. And from tiny apartments to ex chicken coops!
Change can bring a lot of good. Like the changing scenery below, it can bring fresh perspective, renewed hope, and a certain amount of exhilaration. But on the negative side, I’ve come to see that it can also cause addiction. If things haven’t moved or changed in a bit, something feels wrong or missing. Stationary no longer seems normal. (But then, what is normal?)
I figure, sadly, that my blog has undergone nearly as many changes as we have moves — in much less time!
So I’m trying to examine the negatives of change too. To help me make decisions and choices with more objectivity — especially relating to blogging. Even though objectivity is often hard from the inside. But I found good food for thought over at Ron Edmonson’s blog: 7 Times When It is Not A Good Time To Change. Yikes, I’ve been guilty on all 7 counts!
So I’ve decided to write out my own Change Manifesto, based on this article and other thoughts.
#1 Do I have a valid, compelling reason for making changes?
If not, perhaps it’s motivated by boredom, a need to create something new, or writer’s block. Perhaps I just need a new hobby!
#2 Will the work involved be worth the pay off?
Otherwise, I’ll spend a lot of time, effort, and money needlessly, and for no good reason.
Change is not made without inconvenience, even from better to worse. (Richard Hooker)
#3 Is my leader (husband) behind it?
I need to learn to ask advice before making changes. And in regards to major changes even here on the blog, I need to learn the value of getting reader’s input!
#4 Consider the wider and extended effects.
Things like broken links, confused readers, etc.
#5 Will it contribute to success, or will I lose more than I gain?
Not that I’m interested in building a successful blog. But I do want more success in self-discipline and better stewardship. Too much change can hinder that.
#6 Will it add to or detract from the message?
I don’t want to distract from the message I believe God has given me. A message of his goodness and grace. What a shame to hide it under frivolous changes!
#7 What, if any, emotional reasons do I have for changing?
Looking at this one more squarely, I do know that some of the change has been fear motivated. It’s hard to put oneself out there publicly. Early on in blogging, I experienced some cyber bullying, and it’s always left me with an uneasy feeling. That, plus the fact that on the Myers Briggs indicator, I am an INFJ. And INFJ personalities are guarded, don’t like to be looked at, and are somewhat easily frightened.
I’d much rather hide than become public. So perhaps I thought jumping around would hide me better. But I’ve finally decided to come completely out in the open. I’m Sheila Scorziello, wife to Mario, missionary since 1989. A person who makes a lot of mistakes, but learns a lot from them, and always strives to do better. And so glad to make your acquaintance!
#8 Is there too much other change going on?
In times of major change, problems, or crisis, adding more changes will not help create a feeling of stability.
#9 If I must make major changes, no more “Surprise, surprise!”
Big changes will only come after announcements, hints, and even previews, if possible. I need to remember that not all readers share my enthusiasm for change! Of course, please keep in the mind the matter of time zones. It’s earlier here than in the USA/Canada. The changes may already be in place by the time you learn of them!
My goal in conquering too much change:
When you are through changing, you are through. (Bruce Barton)
Yet all in all, I hold to the fact that change has also done me a lot of good.
It’s pushed me out beyond myself, and pushed me to trust God more. Many of the moves we’ve made have been extremely hard ones. Jumps into the unknown. But beneath the unknown I’ve always found God’s strong and loving arms waiting there to catch me.
Through it all, I’ve learned that he is the God of Reckless Abandon, and that even when we fail, he is ready to pick us up and help us start all over again. So I’m going to concentrate, with his help, at making changes that help me learn those lessons better. That will help me know him more, and become more like him.
Change is good, but I want to work more at change for a purpose! How about you?
[Images ©Mario Scorziello]