Change can feel threatening, especially to those looking on. I’m sure you’ve heard some variety of the saying, “The only thing that never changes is that things will always change.” One of my valued professors said it this way: “You never put your foot in the same river twice.”
Change that happens around us can feel very un-nerving. And change we choose ourselves can be just as uncomfortable. But if we DON’T change, we won’t ever get better results. The anxiety and discomfort we experience as we go through change is temporary, but absolutely necessary. Research actually demonstrates that those who successfully change anything significant in their lives are willing to experience some real anxiety along the way, but keep on going regardless of how uncomfortable they feel.
I’m not the way I used to be. And I’m glad! Change simply for the sake of change is not automatically a good thing, but without it I’d be stuck. I’d never grow, love, enjoy, learn, or become. Thank God we are not held by our past! Even though it may be tough we CAN change, and develop into the people we were created to become.
And if someone else doesn’t like the way I’ve changed, I’m not going to worry about it any longer. I HOPE I’ve changed! And I’m grateful that I can. I believe that’s the message of the gospel – that no matter how low, how broken, how messed up you or I have been, there’s a new life available in Jesus. And I CAN change to become the person God created me to be.
I HOPE I’ve changed! And I’m not quitting now!
I HAVE changed in all kinds of ways! I’ve learned to cook tastier and healthier meals. I’ve learned to manage my time more wisely. I’ve become a happier person. I’ve become more comfortable with how God created my unique personality. I’m better able to see the hurt in other people, and what I can do to help, without becoming overwhelmed. I’m more confident, resilient, and stronger. I’ve learned to love – ravishingly, without fear, and wisely. I’ve learned to let the main thing be the main thing, and not get too worked up about the minor stuff. I’ve learned that it’s OK to cry, to get tired, to worry, to feel afraid – but I don’t have to stay there! I’ve learned to enjoy other people for who they are without forcing them to change. And I’ve learned that sometimes other people WILL change, and that’s OK.
I’ve learned to not look to any human being to fill me up, but to let my spirit, my soul, be filled from God Himself – and that then I have much to give to others. I’ve learned that I’m not good at all at playing God, but that He does a very good job of doing that Himself. I’ve learned that I don’t have to play Junior Holy Spirit in someone else’s life for God to change them. I’ve learned to expend my time and energy on the things that I CAN change, and to leave the things I can’t change under God’s control.
There are still other things I need to change, and I’m not quitting now. So the next time someone says to me, “You’ve changed,” I’m going to say, “I hope so! And I’m glad I have. Thank you for noticing!” And then I’m going to go right on changing even more.
Thank God I can!
How about you? Have you changed? Has anyone tried to stop you? What are you trying to change now? How are you going to go about doing it? I’d love to hear from you.