An old proverb says, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Every now and again it seems like I find myself inadvertently testing this “theory.”

“Change” can be a scary thing, although it’s frequently something we want and even demand particularly when we don’t like something about our current situation. Oftentimes we don’t even know the change we’re looking for nor prepared for it when it comes. We just wish for something to be different.

You only have to look as far as the past presidential election, the uprisings in the Middle East or even in the mirror once in awhile to find a situation where change is desired without understanding the probable outcome or the ramifications. 

When we become discontent (or led to believe we are dissatisfied with what we have or disenchanted with where we’re at), we will accept almost anything (along with its own inherent problems), as long as it’s something new, even though it may be no better than we have it, sometimes even worse.

It’s easy to look at someone else’s situation and perceive it to be so much better than our own without even knowing whatgoes along with what we see. Author and humorist Erma Bombeck captured some of those moments in her book titledThe Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank. I would amend Erma’s book title with “… and we don’t know how it smells until we get over there.”

Although we try not to compare ourselves and our situation to those around us, many times it’s difficult not to. The whole premise of our billion-dollar advertising industry is meant to convince us we “need” what they have, and we’ll be out of touch and incomplete without it.

I was reading through the book of Genesis recently and re-examined the words the serpent spoke to Eve.

“Really?” he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden?” (Knowing full well that is not what God said). “Of course we may eat it,” the woman told him. “It’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat” (Genesis 3:1-3).

Eve knew the guidelines God laid out for her and Adam and accepted it, until the serpent led her to believe they were “missing out” on something and God was not being truthful with them. 

Have you ever encountered a (non-malicious) “serpent” in your life who may have asked, “Aren’t you married yet?” “You’re how old, don’t you want to settle down?” “Do you want kids?” “Are you still working at that same job?”

Many times these questions are usually posed by family or friends, not made in a cruel or insensitive manner, just inquisitive or even teasingly asked, yet it still plants a seed in our heart and mind, and makes us question ourselves and our situation. Add to the fact that it may be something you’ve been struggling with and wanting for yourself, throw in the inherent pressures from society and all you want to do is scream for “Change!”

Don’t get me wrong, I am PRO-change. I’ll force myself to experience something in a fresh way, alter something in order to learn something new, or throw myself off so I can train to adapt, but there is always an underlying reason for it, not because the world expects I should or because everyone is telling me to.

Many of us miss some amazing opportunities right in front of us, fail to engage ourselves with interesting people and situations, and neglect what God has blessed us with because they don’t “fit” into what we “think” we are looking for or what others around us have led us to believe.