“Coping” is effectively handling difficulties and disruptions in your life to reduce unpleasant emotions.
Strategies to cope with change are beneficial, but most of us aren’t particularly enthusiastic about learning how to cope with change.
Some people appreciate and even embrace change, so how to cope with change is more comfortable, but most of us resist change at all costs.
Whether a change is positive or negative it is often unsettling to flip the switch to a new path.
The bigger the transition the more difficult it is to cope with change. But for some of us, even small changes like changing your order at a restaurant or changing your ‘assigned’ seat at church can trip you up and lead to triggered emotions.
I’ll be the first to admit change is hard. Some of my friends like changing things up but that is not how I usually roll. I like certain foods, certain activities, certain rhythms, and certain people. My comfortable favorites.
But a world surrounded by unchanging favorites remains small and rigid; an unchanging, stagnant life often leads to a selfish, stale heart.
Evolving through change or transition helps you love better. It makes you aware of your vulnerability and need for a savior.
Learning how to cope with change leads to a new kind of freedom which helps you become more open, authentic, and selfless–basic ingredients for loving others as yourself. (Mark 12:31)
But whether you like to change or avoid it like the plague, change is part of life. And change is good and needed because when we learn how to cope with change, we grow personally and in our dependence on God.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
John C. Maxwell
How to Cope With Change in Life
5 Common Changes in Life
Marriage is a huge change. Strategies to cope with change are important as you move from independent agents into a lifelong, loving covenant with another person.
My husband and I had to adapt to new day-to-day rhythms while sharing our time and space. While enjoying the many benefits of marriage we also had to release expectations and embrace new challenges.
I think my husband learned to cope with change in marriage quickly (it took me a little longer)!
The hardest part of marriage is becoming less selfish. If both people don’t cope with change by loving and respecting each other in a selfless union, a marriage will struggle to thrive.
Gripping my newborn son in my arms, I realized the gravity of the situation…what had we done?
Did the nurse realize we didn’t know what we were doing? Learning to cope with change after the birth of my children has been the most difficult and rewarding journey of my life.
Just when you get a system going, your children change, and in comes a new season.
Moving is one of the biggest stresses in life that can cause anxiety. Coping with change during a move is important in helping you release the past and look forward to the future.
Besides the logistics and work involved when you move, you also have to manage the nostalgia and emotions associated with your home.
It is easier to cope with change when moving by realizing you don’t have to completely release neighbors or memories, you can just add more relationships at your new location.
The hardest part of a work change can be leaving friends behind and stepping into new skills and responsibilities. It is scary to leave the comfort of a good job and trust that your next step will be better.
Relationship transitions are some of the most challenging times to cope with change. When we are blessed with good friends and family it is hard to lose a connection due to conflict, distance, differences, or death.
How to Cope with Change and Grow Closer to God
Just like many things in life being able to positively cope with change takes intentionality and help from God.
6 Strategies on How to Cope with Change
- Focus on gratitude and what you have gained instead of on what you have lost. It is hard to think about your blessings and your loss at the same time. Try to let positive thoughts chase away the sad, negative ones. Be generous with your resources to take the focus off of your situation. To best cope with change this exercise needs to be repeated often.
- Talk about your feelings before, during, and after a change. Find an empathic friend who will listen and comfort and encourage you.
- Breathe in God’s grace and breathe out your sorrow, disappointment, or frustration. I do this exercise multiple times a day.
- Meditate on scriptures and stories about change.
- Pray often and specifically about your reservations and fear. The spirit of God will comfort you and bring peace. Jesus specializes in helping us cope with change and life in general.
“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me!”
Jonah 2:2 NLT
- Establish new rhythms and connect with new people to replace what you lost through the change. This will help you surrender to God and move on with renewed enthusiasm.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”
What does the Bible Say About Change?
When wondering what does the Bible say about change, you can read stories of how a change impacted people and nations.
Abraham and the Israelites had to cope with change. Noah had to cope with change. Jonah had to cope with change. Ruth had to cope with change. Daniel had to cope with change. David had to cope with change. Even Jesus and his disciples had to cope with change.
Reading what the bible says about change and how the characters handled change despite fear, obstacles, and resistance provides wisdom to help you persevere and grow confident in your identity as you strive to cope with change in your world.
Bible Stories about How to Cope With Change
Many of the bible characters resisted change but our sweet, loving God was faithful despite their shortcomings.
Reading the bible can provide direction and purpose as you cope with change and realize how gracious God is to humanity and to you.
Here are a few Bible stories about change.
4 Bible Stories about How to Cope With Change
1. The Bible Story of the Israelites
The Israelites teach you to trust God while coping with change
Under the leadership of Moses, the Israelites, God’s chosen people, left Egypt. Although slaves of the Egyptian people this major change was not easy for the majority of the Israelites. The Israelites were lonely and feared they made a mistake and were wandering aimlessly.
Instead of teaching us how to cope with change, the Israelites teach us how to resist change and frustrate God!
But they did learn to trust God through their mistakes in small increments along the way. When they complained about the food in the desert, the Lord showed He was worthy of their trust by providing daily manna.
God demonstrates that the best way to cope with change is to remain faithful and trust him.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning, you will have all the bread you want.
Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”
Exodus 16:11-12 NLT
2. The Bible Story of Jonah
Jonah teaches you to draw closer to God while coping with change
Jonah’s mission was to travel to Nineveh and let the people know God was not happy with them. Jonah was not happy with this directive or change. Jonah runs away instead and ends up in the belly of a whale.
Jonah did not cope with change! While avoiding change and experiencing discomfort, he calls out to God and is spit out and given a second chance.
This is where the lesson in change comes in.
If Jonah would have accepted God’s call and learned to cope with change instead of running away, he would have avoided discomfort but not drawn closer to God.
“Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh”
3. The Bible Story of Daniel
Daniel teaches you to maintain your identity when coping with change
Daniel was deported from his home and exiled to Babylon. He was stripped of his home, his customs, his food, and even his name. Losing any one of these is an unsettling and unwelcome change, but losing your complete identity is devastating.
Daniel and the Israelites had no choice but to follow the demands of Nebuchadnezzar and leave their home or face sure death.
But Daniel remained true to God and his true identity and bravely refused to follow every demand from his new leader. God had great plans for Daniel’s life and it all began when he courageously held onto his trust in God in the midst of learning to cope with change.
“Daniel made up his mind not to let himself become ritually unclean by eating the food and drinking the wine of the royal court, so he asked Ashpenaz to help him, and God made Ashpenaz sympathetic to Daniel.”
Daniel 1:8 GNT
“…the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He doesn’t …we will never serve your gods.”
Daniel 3:17-18 NLT
4. The Bible Story of the Disciples
The disciples teach you to face change with expectant joy
The disciples were called to change their vocation, activities, and relationships. There was not much preparation or time to cope with change.
They were called by Jesus to follow Him immediately and dropped what they were doing to spend time with Jesus.
“Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing…It was their regular work.
Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.”
They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed. A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons.
These two were sitting in a boat…Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.”
Matthew 4:18-22 MSG
Coping with change with expectant joy was not easy for the disciples and it is not easy for us.
When we have peace about a change and have prayed and sought wise counsel, changing with expectant joy is a refreshing way to transition.
Bible Verses About Change
One of the most important aspects of change is how it ushers into us fresh qualities more like Christ.
It is tempting to be fearful and refuse change but studying Bible verses about change helps you cope with change and come out stronger and more Christlike.
9 Bible Verses about Change
Romans 12:1-2 MSG
“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.
You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, and develops well-formed maturity in you.”
1 Corinthians 15:51 AMP
“Listen very carefully, I tell you a mystery [a secret truth decreed by God and previously hidden, but now revealed]; we will not all sleep [in death], but we will all be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed”
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 GNT
“That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.”
Psalm 32:8 NLT
“The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
Isaiah 43:19 TLB
“For I’m going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it? I will make a road through the wilderness of the world for my people to go home, and create rivers for them in the desert!”
Jerimiah 29:11 GW
“I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster plans to give you a future filled with hope.”
Joshua 1:9 GNT
“Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 AMP
“There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven”
Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Are you in a season of change? I hope these scriptures and strategies will help you cope with change while drawing closer to God.