Throughout my career, I have witnessed three key behaviors lead to the slow fade and decline of many. These are resisting change, pessimism and complacency – and these negative behaviors have destroyed more than just careers. However, there is good news in knowing these self-defeating traits can be changed and even avoided. For the opposite of these are adaptability, optimism and developmental improvement . In other words, in life, there are “downers” and there are “doers” – and we definitely want to strive to be among the doers for very obvious reasons:
Pessimism: Someone once declared, “I have never met a successful pessimist“, and when we think about it, that is very true, especially when we define success from a Biblical perspective. For knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, means we know He is victorious and that He has plans and purposes for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Therefore, as Christians we don’t have any reason to possess pessimistic outlooks. Rather our optimism is based upon our faith and hope in God’s promises. We can then take this optimism in the workplace, our homes, our communities and the church to be better encouragers and reflections of Christ wherever God leads.
Resistance: We know change is inevitable. Therefore, if we fight against it, we are in a constant state of conflict and resistance. This of course can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, anger and all other sorts of negative consequences. Rather, we must learn to adapt to change. This doesn’t mean we compromise our convictions and truth, but it does mean we don’t embrace stagnation. In fact, our faith is our greatest strength when faced with changing circumstances. For these are some of the best moments we get to turn to Christ for His guidance and direction and seek His wisdom on how we can best manage the change in a way that honors and glorifies Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Complacence: A complacent person is one who doesn’t seek to improve. Rather they settle for stagnation. As Christians, there is no room for complacency, or stagnation. For God is constantly refining us (Psalm 66:10). In addition, there is beauty, joy and rewards in learning, improving and developing ourselves, our business and others. Any loving parent desires to help their children learn, develop and prosper as contributing members of society, the church and any organization they may be a part of. In addition, complacency is not the same as contentment. For learning to be content in Christ highlights the very fact we aren’t being complacent in our faith.
Application: “Change Agents” – Philippians 4:13
We will most likely have to struggle with any, or all of these traits from time to time, but the key is we don’t allow ourselves to stay in these danger zones. However, perhaps even more difficult is when we cannot escape the pessimistic, complacent and resistant people that surround us in life. For we might be forced to interact with them on a daily basis. This of course is difficult because their negative state can begin to rub off on us. However, this is why we must always be aware to our own behaviors, which means we must be the change agents in order to adapt to the situation so that we don’t allow this person to zap our optimism and desire for growth. To do this well however requires God’s strength and as a result and by His grace, we get to serve as better testimonies and witnesses to the power of His gospel.