Change is difficult

Dan Rowlison 
Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) California

Dan Rowlison Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) California

Pastor Dan Rowlison

Jan. 1, the new year has begun, and that means making a "New Year’s Resolution;" that time-honored practice of consciously deciding to change. We resolve to give up a bad habit/behavior or begin a good habit/behavior. It recognizes what men have known for more than 5,000 years; that we all have the ability to change.

There is a recent fad, which many have embraced, that says we are not able to change; we are who we are, you should learn to accept me as I am. I would note that this plan calls for me to make all of the changes and you to make none, but enough of that.

My real question, in keeping with the time of year, is can we change or can’t we? Some, in search of a compromise that relieves them of the burden of change, would answer, “Some things you can change and some things you can’t.” Yet, when I press them for examples, they usually fall back upon skin color and gender.

When my cousin recently passed, following a lengthy battle against cancer, her latest radiation treatments had a profound effect upon the pigmentation of her skin, giving it a decidedly dark bronze color. In the later years of Michael Jackson’s life, the singer wore heavy bronze toned make-up to disguise an affliction of his skin that lightened its color significantly. Though the cause is neither common nor healthy, skin color can change!

A clinic in Trinidad, Colo., is home to one of the few “gender reassignment” practices in the world. They change human genders, in a biological sense, on a daily basis. Obviously, biological gender can be changed.

I would suggest that if these areas of life can be changed, there are no areas of life that cannot be changed. The excuse should not be, “I can’t change” but rather “I find it too difficult to change.”

That’s the point, isn’t it? Change is hard! When we are encouraged to make a change, we are never told how hard it is to do! We are told that all we have to do to change is just decide to do it.

A wise man told me that anytime someone uses the word “just” to describe a difficult action, it means they don’t have any idea and want you to stop asking them.

One of the most common “New Year’s Resolutions” is to lose weight and get in shape. Health club memberships are purchased most frequently in early January. By mid-February, most have given up. Why?

In the past eight months, after 40 years of failure, I have successfully lost 150 of the 260 pounds I need to lose. There are clearly seen causes for the newly found success, not regarding weight loss, but regarding change.

During the month of January, I intend to write about the process of change and what makes it so difficult to do. If you need to lose a substantial amount of weight, I can steer you in the right direction; but if you need to make any type of change, the process is the same.

Be sure to read next week, when I will begin the discussion with Dreams, Decisions, Deeds, Disappointment and Discouragement. Learn how a pessimist is really an optimist at heart!

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