Recently I blogged about how the changes we face can expand our lives. I also posted about the fears we often encounter when we consider following God through a change. Today I am going to share with you six principles for navigating change.
Many of you may be facing some changes that God is preparing for you to make. My oldest son is preparing for his Freshman year of college. He is facing big changes that will impact every area of his experience. He knows these changes are of God and is thoughtful about how God wants to use him in this new chapter of his life.
You might be facing the need for change in your family, school, work, or ministry. You might even be faced with the task of leading others through change. By the way, leading others through change is one of life’s most difficult endeavors. I have been spending all my adult life helping people navigate change. It is tough stuff.
Let’s look at the Old Testament leader, Joshua, to learn principles for navigating change. Joshua was the God called successor to Moses. His task was to lead the people to cross the Jordan and conquer and inhabit the Promised Land. It was a daunting task and would change everyone’s life. They had to step out of the familiar, risk, and enter into the unknown.
Principles for navigating change. (Joshua 1)
1. The purpose principle. Ask the right question: Is the change you see before you meant to fulfill the purposes of God? When Joshua considered his task he saw that the change was God’s plan. God even said, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5) Is the change that is being made being done to do God’s will? If so, move forward.
2. The trust principle. If the change is of God and is for the fulfillment of his purpose, then it is your task to trust God and step ahead. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21) What God calls you to do he will empower you to do. Trust him.
3. The obedience principle. When God calls you to do something and you are sure it is of God, then it becomes a matter of obedience. The Lord told Joshua and the people, “be careful to obey all the law” and he said, “do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth…be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:7-8) For the people of God, success is obeying the Lord.
4. The courage principle. Follow the command to be strong and courageous! Over and over again God calls Joshua to “be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:9) We must realize that doing this is a choice we make. We say to children: “Be a big boy or be a big girl.” We are asking them to choose to be bolder and stronger. This is a command and we choose to follow it or not. God knew Joshua was afraid, that is why he gave this command. He said, “Be tough, after all I will never leave you or forsake you. What is there to fear with Me on your side.” Obeying the courage command is key to navigating through change. It can make the difference between being steady or panicked. The courage principle is really all about starting with changing yourself. Adapting to change is 100% about making the change on the inside.
5. The team principle. When changing, it is good to do it as a team. Many of you will face changes in the organization of your business, school, or even at church. When such changes are happening, are you a team player in the change or are you simply a resister. When Joshua led the people to take the Land, he called all the tribes to help each other secure their portions of the nation. Everyone was to help everyone else. Are you working to help the entire team navigate the change? When an organization is going through change you can carry a bucket or a gas can. When there is a fire (negative talk or gossip) you can choose to add fuel to the fire or to douse the flame.
6. The “Just Do It” principle. Make the change. With Joshua and the Israelites there came a moment when the people just decided to make the change. They said, “wherever you send us we will go.” (Joshua 1:16) Just do it! Be a leader and navigate the change. You will grow and gain, though the way may be full of twists and turns.
Question: What change is God calling you into? Which of these principles most encourages you in making the change? You can leave a comment by clicking here.