All human relationships include change and conflict. The key is to learn constructive methods for reaching a resolution when change happens.
Whether it’s work or family, marriage or friendships, health matters, our culture, or the many conflicts in our war-torn world, it is more productive to tap into identifying our emotions in times of change, and then accept them – to seek God’s direction in what we are feeling – rather than bottle it up.
I share this from experience. And most of this article is what I have personally learned about, and from, change in my life. You may want to share your own experiences in the comments section below.
Dr. Gary Chapman asks “Is your personality an asset or liability to your relationships and the world around you? The Psalms show us how to express our feelings and emotions, and the Holy Spirit plays an important roll in this. While our personalities are developed in childhood, they are not set in stone. We can change.”
“The message of the Bible is that God loves us as we are”, says Chapman, “but he loves us too much to leave us as we are.” We all need to grow and growth requires change. We can be influenced by our personality, but we need not be controlled by it.
Instead, we are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 4, St. Paul tells us, to “be renewed in the spirit of your minds.” When we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit significant changes in our approach to life and relationships will become evident. But the key as men is to leave it with the Holy Spirit and not take it back as soon as we feel it out of control, or the situation not going as we think it should. But most of all, don’t lose hope.
As Catholic men who are task minded, our deeper question might be where is change? Where do I want to end up? It’s not only the change but considering the thought of change. In seeking a deeper understanding, I may have to drop what I believe to accept something new.
Responding to change means to spend time in the quiet presence of the Holy Spirit, to consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible, and learn from the magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church – which is the church’s authority or office to give authentic interpretation of the Word of God.
Responding to change does not mean to listen to what others or our culture say what’s important, without mentioning the (sources from the) Holy Spirit. The thing about (men’s) spirituality is that it cannot be measured. Thus some forms of spirituality can deceive us if we’re not tapped into the Holy Spirit seeking wisdom and direction for the truth.
In other words, I’m sure you are aware how there are people in circles of the church who share their own theology so to speak, who don’t provide the sources of church teaching from what they are saying about the Holy Spirit, meditation or contemplation, etc.. (do an internet search on them and see if there is much controversy and what is said about them). This can be compared to how a news reporter may say ‘sources tell us’ without sharing who those sources are (this no longer means what it used to) – don’t listen to them!
For example, some people I follow on Catholic Manhood are (not in any order): Matt Fradd, Bishop Thomas Olmstead, Fr. Larry Richards, Randy Hain, Sam Guzman, Brian Caulfield, Bill Dodds, Hector Molina, Patrick McCaskey, Fr. Burke Masters, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, and of course our own Bishop Joseph Perry. Many Catholic men also follow: Dr. Gary Chapman, Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr. Tony Evans, and Dr. Meg Meeker, to name a few. You can also consult our growing Catholic Books post.
Change Begins With Me
Begin by changing your own attitude. Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle in your own heart. Say to God “If you give me a vision of what a spiritual change in my life will look like, then I’m willing to make the changes.” Then read the Bible and other Catholic resources and look for passages that tell you what this change should be.
Think. Prepare. Action. – It happens with focus. It doesn’t happen with information, from head to heart.
Every day do something that will make you better, and ask God to help you live up to this model. The fastest way to success, is to replace bad habits with good habits. If we hear but don’t change our behavior, we’re then essentially fooling ourselves. It’s when we put God’s guidance into action that transforming change can take place.
Say to yourself: “To see changes happening in my life, it begins with me.”
There is always something left to love. And the worse things are, the more there is to love. In Christ, God has assured us of his love, his acceptance, his understanding, his peace at all times – especially when times are the dreariest and the most hopeless God asks us who would be his holy people to be as ready as God is to lift up, to forgive, to support, to love every man.Bishop Joseph Perry
The hope is in that of having a positive attitude. Not to focus on the problem but the solution. This focus of seeking the solutions, and reaching out to others, will lead to the answers in responding to change and conflict in your life.
God give you peace.