The Risk and Reward of Change
Lobsters, of all things, taught me a valuable lesson about risk and change. As a lobster grows, it gets to a point where the hard shell encasing its body is cramping it. It can’t grow anymore. The lobster must find a relatively safe place, shed its shell, and then wait while a new and larger shell grows. Of course, while the shedding and new growth is occurring, there is considerable risk to the lobster. It is vulnerable and in constant danger while its protective shell is forming. The lobster must risk its life in order to grow.
Have you ever felt your life’s “shell” start to feel too limited and restrictive? Sometimes this manifests as a restless, inner urging that whispers, “What if I made the change toâ€¦a new career, new relationship, etc.?” This is our inner voice telling ourselves that it’s time to grow, that we’ve learned the lessons needed in the present environment, and that it is time to move on. Dr. Ernest Holmes calls it our “inner urge” when he states, “There is an inner urge in our own minds to grow, to expand, to break down the barriers of previous limitations and to ever widen our experience. This persistent urge is a Divine influence, an irresistible force, and constitutes the greatest impulse in human experience.” In other words, it is quite natural to experience this desire to grow beyond where we currently reside in consciousness.
Growth and change require moving through uncomfortable, and sometimes even painful situations. We have to risk leaving the old, familiar ways and jump into the unknown future good that is calling to us. This leap requires courage and commitment, and seeing it through, no matter how difficult it becomes. John-Roger and Peter McWilliams write, “When people don’t understand that being uncomfortable is part of the process, they use the discomfort as a reason not to do. Then they don’t get what they want. We must learn to tolerate discomfort in order to grow.” Like the lobster, we move to a place in consciousness of knowing that this, too, is for our highest good.
Sometimes when we make a change in your life, we find that the situation temporarily gets worse. It is at this point that most people throw up their hands, promptly admit defeat and run, scurrying back to their “shell”. I look at this phase as if the universe is saying to us, “Is this what you really want? Do you have the commitment to grow through this change?”
Years ago, I was treating for greater prosperity in my life. To my chagrin, my boss announced that he was laying me off. Here was my opportunity to move from what I knew through studying principle to what I embodied by using principle. I realized that I could go back to the old way of doing things, i.e, working on the conditions in my life, by just getting another (better) job. Or I could uplevel my consciousness by knowing that God was my only Source, and that unlimited channels of supply were flowing through me. I chose the latter. This required my moving through the discomfort of the appearance of lack, as well as my shedding of old beliefs in limitation. My hard work paid off. Within months, I was in a new line of work in a new environment, which allowed me to grow beyond that which I had envisioned.
When we fully commit to our growth, even at the risk of vulnerability and pain, we are propelled forward and break the barriers of our old comfort zone. Increased levels of self-esteem and self-confidence emerge. A deeper trusting in life happens. Whatever is needed through the journey will be provided, if we just trust.
Change is a necessary vehicle to move to a new and greater level of living. Life is not meant to be stagnant. Nowhere in nature do we find stagnation. Even so-called “stagnant ponds” are teeming with life and the growth of all sorts of creatures and insects. Change and growth are necessary for our survival. We must have the courage to walk through the initial discomfort of change, knowing that it will be worth it when we get to the other side. As Louisa May Alcott notes, “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” When we embrace change, we are learning how to sail our ship.
The risk of change is definitely worth it. Alan Cohen states, “Risk is the corridor to true transformation. We must go beyond our history to arrive at our destiny. We cannot be the person we were and the person we are to become.” You are not meant to live the same life, over and over. You are a divine being whose purpose is growth and expansion, expressing Spirit in ever-greater form.
Examine the “shells” in your life: those situations in which you are no longer are growing. Like the lobster, understand that risk is just part of your growth process. Break out of your self-limiting barriers and risk unfolding into the Divine Being that you are. Take the leap! Only greatness lies ahead for those who welcome the risk of change!