When you’re in a season of transition and change, how do you navigate people? Do they make you anxious? Do you gravitate toward people during change? Do you withdraw? Do you think about the process or steps pertaining to transition?
We all go through seasons and changes – that’s the nature of life. Maybe some of us go through changes with more grace and maybe some of us go through transitions with gritted teeth and white knuckles. In last week’s blog, we talked about the importance of our internal orientation related to change and in this week’s blog, I’ll talk about people. I’m also using the beginning of the book of Joshua to help us gain wisdom and grace for navigating change, particularly with people.
To begin, when we go through transitions, people are on that journey with us, whether actively or passively. In the scenario with Joshua, there were some interesting characters who journeyed through change with Joshua. For starters, Rahab was a very unexpected participant in Joshua’s journey. Indeed, she’s one of the first people that we read about in the book of Joshua, as he seeks to spy out the Promised Land for conquering. In Joshua 2, we learn that Rahab lives on the wall of Jericho and she’s a prostitute. We meet her when Joshua’s spies need to hide, and she protects them from being discovered by Jericho’s “police.” While she protects Joshua’s spies, she tells them that Jericho is afraid of the Israelites, and she boosts their confidence that they will conquer her city.
I’d like for you to think about the reality that Rahab was a prostitute, a sex worker, and she helped the spies of Israel. Generally, it’s possible that we don’t have much interaction with sex workers and maybe we have some negative perspectives about “these people.” But it’s important that we don’t dismiss nor look down on people just because we may not like or find their profession to be righteous or pure.
For Joshua’s spies, they appreciated Rahab’s support, information and protection. Did they ignore her contributions because she was a prostitute? Obviously not, since we know about what she did and said. Furthermore, because of her help, the spies promised to protect her and her household when Israel conquered Jericho.
If we step away from the immediacy of the conversation between Rahab and Joshua’s spies, it’s helpful to consider that Rahab was an unlikely character for Israel’s possession of the Promised Land. At the same time, she’s the first person the Israelites meet in their future country, and she encourages the spies by telling them that her city is afraid of Israel and anticipates that they will conquer Jericho.
So how do you navigate people in your life, when you’re going through transition? How do you navigate people who are drastically different than you? If you’re an upstanding Christian and you’re going through a season of change, how do you interface with people who don’t hold your values and morals? If you’re a liberal person with broad values and perspectives, how do you interface with someone who is more conservative and “pinched” with their morals and values?
When we go through seasons of change and transition, we would be wise to think about how we perceive and interact with someone who is “other” or different than us. It’s possible that God could use different people to encourage us on our journey with change! People are definitely part of the journey with changes and transitions!