March 2023 – Chaplain Newsletter

The Power of Change

Greetings Everyone, this month’s Chaplain Newsletter message is from our very own Chaplain Ryan. I am glad to say that he is now rotating with me in providing these words of encouragement to you from the Sheriff Chaplaincy each month. Thank you, Chaplain Ryan! God Bless, Chaplain Robert.

Recently, I heard a quote that said, “The two things we hate the most are change and the way things are.” This quote struck a chord with me because it is so true! We often crave change, yet at the same time, we despise it because it takes us out of our comfort zone and makes us look at things differently than we’re used to.

Many of us want more money, nicer cars, the newest gadgets, and an easier life. We want to lose weight or get in shape. We may want to have significance or make a difference. In this age of social media, it’s easy to feel envious of those who seem to be living better lives than us. In some ways, we all want change. We never seem satisfied with what we have – striving instead for more and better without being willing to put in the effort required for real change. Yet, when change is thrust upon us, we resist it outright due to fear and anger. We struggle to leave the comfort of what we know to experience what we don’t. In the end, we constantly find ourselves wanting something different and seemingly better but we don’t want the change that has to happen for something different to occur! In many cases, we’re downright afraid to change.

The truth is, change is inevitable. No matter how much we attempt to resist it, change is coming for us whether we want it to happen or not. Change can happen through losing a job or getting a new one. Change can happen through the birth or loss of a loved one. Change is everywhere where look. We can’t avoid it, we must experience it because our world constantly changes. We have a choice in change, though. Do we look at change through a positive lens of opportunity, or do we look at it through a negative lens of fear, anger, and regret? Do we embrace change and evolve with it, or do we stay stuck, mired in the memory of what was?

History is filled with examples of those that resisted inevitable change and paid the price. One example that comes to mind is Blockbuster. What was once upon a time a thriving business with 9,000 stores is now a fond memory because of stubborn resistance to change. A nostalgic part of me wishes that I could walk into a Blockbuster tonight and rent a movie but a more practical part of me is thankful that I don’t have to leave my couch to watch a great movie. I can pick from a myriad of streaming services. Blockbuster had something very successful going and they were so worried about compromising it that they lost it altogether. In the end, it was the fear of and resistance to change that did them in. 

How can we deal with this perpetual internal struggle between wanting something new and shying away from stepping out of our comfort zones? The answer lies in having an open mind and trusting that God has set each one of us on a unique path leading toward something great. We may not understand every change that comes in our direction but when we know that we’re on a journey toward God’s will, every change becomes a tremendous opportunity to lean into Him and look for Him and his greatness in our lives. In Hebrews 13:8, we learn that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus is the constant in our lives that allows us to embrace change. No matter how much things change, we don’t have to worry, fear, or be upset because we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) It is that fact that no matter what is changing around us, Jesus is the steadfast, constant, and unchanging rock that allows us to embrace change fully and completely without fear.  With Christ, change does not need to be feared. Instead, change is an opportunity to bring us closer to Him and His will; we can embrace that with pure joy!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for being unchanging. In a constantly changing world, thank you for being the constant that we can count on. Please walk with us, guide us, and give us the wisdom to see and embrace change. Help us see the positives and cast aside the negatives. Help us to know and see your will in every area of our lives. Thank you for being a rock we can lean on. In Jesus’ name, amen.

– Chaplain Ryan Stemkoski (V507)

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