The sigmoidal (or S-shaped) curve has been variously applied to the reinvention of organisations that find themselves levelling out. When levels of success are plotted against the passage of time, it can chart growth and decline. This approach can also apply to individuals and the change they undergo in new seasons of life. The key to optimising such pathways is in understanding how best to respond to life as it unfolds. This can be aided by answering three important questions when we are considering change.
1. What is really going on at the moment?
The factors leading to a present state of flux can tell a story. Is the present situation a reality check? Is it perhaps a season of correction in which minor adjustments are needed? Is there some personal attitude that needs a tweak or maybe a team dynamic that needs amendment?
Emotions play a large part in our response to life and these will often be fuelled by past experiences that link to present challenges. Our response to life is often more telling than that which seems to be happening to us.
Nevertheless, Christians often need a prophetic insight to circumstances to ensure a diligent and decisive response that also doesn’t overcorrect.
The sigmoidal growth may not always need the new trajectory of wholesale change. Sometimes it needs us to push through the present by discerning exactly what is needed. This may need objective feedback and data as well as what some call a ‘sixth sense’ and the latter is enhanced by spiritual perception.
2. Where is God right now and am I being faithful to what He is saying?
Understanding what God is doing within our circumstances needs us to turn toward Him and not to run from Him. Just as Jonah fled a clear call, we can often misinterpret adversity through the lens of fear, rather than the lens of faith.
Times of challenge or plateau in life may feel like a natural opportunity for change, but first finding a spiritual perspective on the circumstances and hearing the voice of God within life’s uncertainty is critical to sound decision-making.
For me, this means understanding that success is always aligned to my faith-filled response to God and not to my natural perceptions. Often, God wants us to lead through difficulty because of the good that He then brings out of it for us and others.
A stormy passage is often a necessary precursors to finding calmer waters ahead and when the journey is the right one we need to navigate it responsibly and with the calm confidence that Jesus remains the captain of the ship.
3. Am I being responsive and not reactionary?
For Christians, the call of God may ultimately find new expression in fresh strategies or ministry contexts. Then again, it may not. The key is to be led by the Spirit and not the senses.
Leaders know all too well that adverse circumstances or conflict can often prompt a desire for change but one which may indeed be self-directed, particularly if it is emotionally-charged.
We therefore need to know the Spirit’s guidance through the fresh inspiration of Scripture as we also check our bearings against the grounded wisdom of Christian friends and mentors. When Jesus is Lord of the journey, the Spirit navigates our every turn.
Key periods of transition from potential decline to renewed growth ultimately need us to know the peace of God that passes understanding guarding our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7). When we are seeking to be in the centre of His will, we can be confident that His direction will be dynamic and not static, but any change will be directed with a calm sense that the God to whom we are surrendered is ultimately in control.