To Change or Not To Change

Mar 27, 2024 by Colleen C Orchanian

My sister Theresa just changed her hairstyle. A few months ago she got a new car. A couple of years ago she moved into a new house. I, on the other hand, have not changed my hairstyle in 30 years. My car is 8 years old, and I’ve been at the same address for over 20 years. I don’t like change. Theresa seems much more comfortable with it.

That got me thinking about the nature of change – and how willing or unwilling we are to make a change. I think I don’t like change, but I have embraced change in some areas of my life, especially when it comes to my faith. Is it possible that we are open to change in some parts of our lives and resist it in other parts? If that is the case, do we sometimes resist changes God wants for us and embrace changes driven by the enemy?

Many years ago I was consulting with a manufacturing plant. My job was to help a team of toolmakers become a self-directed work team. They were told that they had to succeed or the department would be outsourced and they would all be unemployed. One of the team members, I’ll call him Joe, was a very difficult person to work with. He yelled at customers and was very argumentative. So in a weekly team meeting, we had to discuss the problem.  A few of his teammates explained that he couldn’t talk to customers that way. His rudeness was a problem. Joe responded that he was not going to change his personality for anyone. I told him that nobody was asking for a personality change. Just for him to speak differently to people. He insisted he was not going to change. I reminded him that if he didn’t change his communication, the team might be outsourced and he would lose his job. Joe replied, “I can get another job.” I asked, “What about your teammates, these guys you’ve worked with for 15 years? They will lose their jobs, too.” He said, “I don’t care about anyone but me.” Here’s where a moment of grace came in. I said, “I don’t believe that about you, Joe. These are your friends. I know you’re a better man than that.” It was about that point that I ended the meeting. I knew nothing else needed to be said. I found out later that the next day, as he carpooled to work with one of his teammates, he said, “I need to change, don’t I?” And he did. The whole plant noticed.

Joe resisted, but finally realized the need for change. He made a change and became the kinder and gentler Joe.

Scripture tells us that God wants to change our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. Jesus criticized the Pharisees by telling them they were whitewashed tombs. The outside looked nice but inside they were disgusting. Paul tells us that we become a new man when we follow Jesus. What is different? Who is this new man – or woman – that we become?

When we fully embrace the Gospel message, we see things and people differently. Our worldview changes because we know there is more than the visible world. Our values change because we aren’t enamored with things of the world, especially when they are contrary to the Word of God. We see others differently, with more compassion. As we mature in our faith, we can love others better because they are our brothers and sisters made in the image of God.

With faith, our identity changes. We realize that we are children of God, that we are beloved, that we were created for greatness. Our needs and goals change. We no longer chase after fame and fortune but seek to give glory to God. We want to know His plans for our life so that we can serve Him. As we encounter God in prayer, we begin to experience the joy of communion with God, and that stays with us no matter the external circumstances of our life.

These are all internal changes that happen when a person travels the path to God when they allow God to transform their heart. Change doesn’t happen overnight; it’s gradual. We may not recognize it while it’s happening, but one day we will know that things are different.

When I was being transformed by God, the thing that I noticed first was a change in my interests. I had been steeped in politics and had tons of books on different political topics. I listened to my favorite talk show hosts, argued for the positions I held, and criticized the idiots who disagreed with me. That was before. As I grew in my relationship with God, politics became boring. Instead, I wanted to read about God, whether Scripture, a Bible Study, or a spiritual book.

I used to watch my favorite television shows and movies. As I grew in my faith, those shows were no longer entertaining. I wondered how I found them so funny before. I can see now that my heart was turning more to God, and that made me less interested in things of the world.

My prayer life has changed over time as well. I began, like most cradle Catholics, by saying my prayers. Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. That lasted for years – even decades. Sometimes I would ask for something or complain about a situation. Then I started talking a little to God. The conversations were very one-sided and self-centered. As I began to study scripture, I learned how to talk to God differently. Scripture was a jumping-off point for a conversation. I would read a passage, meditate on it, and talk to God about what it meant. Now my prayer time is a mixture of all of that plus some quiet time sitting in His presence and listening for His voice. My prayer time had to change if I was going to make progress in the spiritual life.

As my interior life changed, I behaved differently. I became the “kinder, gentler Colleen.” I wasn’t so pushy; I tempered my assertiveness which often crossed over into aggressiveness. I argued less. I became more patient. I still have a long way to go, but I am grateful to God for the progress. I know that I am a better ambassador for Christ now than I was before.

As we draw nearer to God, we become less attracted to sin. We can resist temptation and our sinful behaviors begin to disappear. That doesn’t mean we stop sinning; rather our serious sins are overcome and we start to work on the less serious ones.



Managing change is difficult. Sometimes we change for change’s sake and not to make anything better. We might reject the old and embrace anything new without considering the value of the old and the cost of the new. So we have to be wise about change.

If your prayer life is dry, it may be time for a change. If you tend to be self-critical and have difficulty receiving compliments, it may be time for a change. If you are so busy making changes that you don’t have time for prayer, it may be time for a different type of change. If you make a lot of external changes but avoid the internal changes, it may be time to consider why.

The devil doesn’t want us to change. He wants us to stay right where we are – or move us to a worse situation. He is happy when we don’t advance in prayer, when we are abrupt with others, when we are impatient and critical, when we get caught up in the world. He says, “Don’t change a thing.”

God, on the other hand, is always challenging us to change for the better. Change is hard but beautiful. God wants to change us, not because we’re bad people, but because He wants more for us. He wants to give us interior peace. He wants us to be instruments of His peace in the world. He wants us to use our gifts and talents to help others come to know Him. He wants us to become the person He created us to be.

I encourage you to humbly go before God to find out what change He wants to make in you today.

Questions for prayer:

How do you feel about change and why? Which changes are easy and which are difficult for you?

What is God calling you to change at this moment in your life?