Most of us don’t like change. We cling to what we know – our old familiar habits, friends, and places.
When was the last time you ordered something new at your favorite restaurant? Most of us like to stick with the same thing every time because change makes us uncomfortable. It’s hard. And it’s painful.
As TCKs, we face even bigger, life-shattering changes. We move halfway across the world. We say goodbye to beloved friends and family. We leave everything we have ever known for a country with new cultures and languages. We’re surrounded by unfamiliar places and people who don’t understand us.
That is scary. And while I think we all recognize that change is good, we have a hard time really believing that when we’re in the middle of it.
As Christians, we have a unique view of change.
The Christian life is all about change.
Salvation radically transforms us from people dead in our sins to believers alive in Christ. Trusting Christ as Savior leads to a huge shift in attitudes, beliefs, and lifestyle. A healthy Christian should constantly be analyzing their actions and beliefs and changing them to make sure they are in line with Christ.
If we don’t change, we don’t grow. And if we don’t grow, we stagnate and wilt.
Evidently then, change helps us to grow more Christlike.
Not only does change reveal our sinful tendencies and beliefs, but it also strengthens us into wiser, more mature, and more patient people. Change teaches us to persevere, to not give up even when the going is hard. It teaches us to accept whatever comes along in life with an open hand. It teaches us to hold loosely to the people and things we love on this earth and to focus our eyes on our eternal home in heaven.
Most importantly, change pushes us closer to God.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned from living overseas is how weak I really am and how much I need God every moment of every day. I would have caved under the pressure long ago if not for the steadying, comforting presence of the Lord and His promise to never leave me nor forsake me. Because of my TCK experiences, I understand 2 Corinthians 12:9 better now: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (NIV).
Next time you experience change, look for what God might be teaching you through it. Does He want you to let go of something you’ve been idolizing? Does He want to teach you patience and perseverance? Does He want you to draw closer to Him through it?
While it can be difficult to see any good in change, I can guarantee that you will come away with at least one truth God is impressing on you.
But that doesn’t mean change isn’t still hard.
Change creates so much upheaval. It can leave you feeling lonely and out of place as the “new kid.” It can leave you feeling frustrated and angry because your life seems to be spinning out of control. It can leave you feeling sad and even depressed because you had to say goodbye to everything you love. And it can leave you feeling anxious for a future that is uncertain and frightening.
These are feelings many of us can relate to. I’ve experienced all of these emotions at some point in my life.
But when you start feeling like that, take it to God.
Cry out to Him and pour out all your emotions. He can handle it. He already knows what you’re thinking and feeling. So don’t be afraid to come to Him with everything.
After all, Jesus truly understands what we go through as TCKs. He left His home to come to a hostile earth where men rejected and abused Him and eventually killed Him. He knows what it’s like to not have a home. He knows what it’s like to be rejected by others, to feel out of place because you’re different. He knows what it’s like to be uprooted from everything you have ever known. Jesus knows, and He understands.
And yet, He promises that He will never change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8 NIV). He will never reject you. He will never forget you. He is a faithful Friend who will never fail you.
Whatever change you’re facing right now, remember that you don’t have to handle the pain and uncertainty on your own. Rest all your fear, frustration, and doubt in the Lord’s hands. Trust that He really does know what He’s doing.
Because even though you might not see it now, I can promise you that in a few years you’ll look back and see the beautiful story He’s writing with your life.