Response: November 2014 Issue

Responsively Yours: Change Brings Disruptions—and New Possibilities

Responsively Yours:  Change Brings Disruptions—and New Possibilities

Sometime this past summer I started getting information from the bank that issues my credit card about a change that was coming. Some features are being eliminated for security and some are being added. All new cards will be issued with new numbers, and all payments and other connections set up with the old card will need to be recreated.

I tried to ignore this. I ignored the familiar envelop with no identifying marks that had the new card in it. I passively resisted.

This was not a change that I had requested. I had seen the reports of security concerns, and I even knew people who had experienced a problem with their cards, so I knew that a disclosure of data could create all kinds of problems. But it hadn't happened to me, and I wasn't motivated to change.

In fact, all I wanted was for the card to work the same way without me having to take the time to work through setting up new operating systems. I wanted things to stay the same.

When change comes to us, and we have not personally experienced the need for the change, or when we say we want change but not the disruptions that necessarily come with it, then the person initiating the change brings a very unwelcome message.

As I was fuming my way through the various notifications just before my old card was phased out, I realized we often treat change in this way. We want to continue doing the same things, with the same networks and we want results that are different, even better than past outcomes. In the case of my credit card, I wanted the bank to protect the security of the card without involving me. In the case of our lives, we want to lose weight, or get more sleep or keep up our relationships with family—but we want to do these things by following the same daily, weekly and annual routines that don't support the results we seek.

Isn't that what happened in the Exodus story when the Hebrew people began to experience the rigors of the journey through the desert? They forgot their complaints of oppression and unfair work and began to yearn for the familiar settings and familiar foods of Egypt, despite the degradations. Even the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud was not enough to reassure them that God was present in the unfamiliar.

For United Methodist Women and for our congregations, we want new relationships, we want to have an impact in the community, and we want others to know about all our great work. But do we want this to happen in a way that doesn't require us to make the changes we want to see? Of course, unlike my card issuer, United Methodist Women's national office can't prescribe a guaranteed process to grow your unit or increase your visibility or amplify your reach into your community. So, for us it's even harder. We each must experience some trial and error, and we might need to change our patterns multiple times.

However, we do know that God is with us, in us and before us. We have confidence that God is still calling us to build relationships, to live out our discipleship in the world and to testify to God's faithfulness. So, what will we try today that will express this confidence and help us to see new possibilities rather than limits? I can't wait to see where God is leading us!

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women

Posted or updated: 10/31/2014 11:00:00 PM