Today I chose to take another route home after taking my son to school. Typically, I race straight home or to the office, directly to my desk and dive in to work.
Today was different. I needed space—which is getting harder to come by in our town. I realized this as I navigated my way home, deciding to visit a few places that carry significant meaning for me.
I stopped by the place I first met my now-husband after vowing to never remarry. (Never say never!)
I drove under a canopy of trees shading the lake and fountain I used to sit by to clear my head, and I glanced up at the windows of Insight for Living Ministries’ former office building.
I finally turned the corner and saw where my daughter and son went to high school. She’s now married; he’s about to finish college.
Then, I drove by the neighborhood elementary school my son went to when he was 9; he’s now 20.
Ch- Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes
We moved to Frisco, Texas, ten years ago. In my neighborhood, there was . . .
- One gas station
- Two high schools
- A few corner cafes
And some subdivisions surrounded by wheat and corn fields that waved quietly in the afternoon breeze. Quiet, organic, twenty minutes from the mall.
Then what seems like millions of people and thousands of businesses decided this little town was a fabulous place to plant their American dreams.
Those fields are now layered with apartments and parking garages, swanky hotels, chic restaurants, and, of course, the Dallas Cowboys new headquarters.
A lot has cropped up in ten years.
Growth may surround us, but often we don’t notice it until we look back, slow down, and choose another way home.
Not only are we surrounded by change, but every day we change. It may be minute or monumental, but we are creatures who are constantly transforming.
Biologically, not one cell in the human body remains the same—each one cycles through death and regeneration. Emotionally, our feelings shift, shrink, grow, and change our focus and perspectives.
Change in our soul and spirit—the deepest and most powerful level of change—is the most significant area of movement in our lives. It’s wonderful to reflect and remember how God has provided.
It’s vital to recall those humanly impossible situations that turned into miraculous healing by God’s providential, protective hand.
However, reflecting on God’s provision doesn’t make the transformation process easy. We often resist change because it is messy, uncomfortable; it forces us to be vulnerable.
When we are vulnerable in new spaces, we must wrestle with a vast lack of confidence because we haven’t developed the skills to move through what is unfamiliar or different.
We cannot transform and grow if we choose to resist change.
The reason I needed to drive home another way to reflect and remember originated with a recent comment one of my editors offered me on one of my recent blog post drafts.
She read past my words (which is the best kind of editor or friend to have) and observed—unbeknownst to her—a soul issue I needed to face. Her intention was not to call me on the carpet, knowing God consistently does that better than anyone.
It was to point out a different perspective; she was writing from a place of wholeness, where I had written from a place of being wounded in a church situation.
Sharifa began . . .
So, can I be honest? I don’t recommend your negative generalization of “most Christians.” You can FEEL this way, but I advise against shepherding people this way. Here is what I suggest:
Point to Jesus.
Point to God ministering to Elijah after he was exhausted and terrified.
Point to Jesus laying hands on lepers and talking about marriage with the woman at the well.
Talk about His easy yoke and light burden.
Talk about Jesus drawing the scorn and slander of many, His unjust trial, His undeserved execution.
Talk about His nakedness on that cross; they humiliated Him and He could not even cover Himself.
He is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
Then draw the contrast. When we—Christians—ignore pain, when we minimize it, when we offer platitudes without compassion . . . we are not following Christ’s model.
I was “acquainted” with my sorrow, hurt, betrayal . . . not with how Jesus longed to heal these places should I choose His transforming process. I needed to become “acquainted” with God’s healing.
“Most Christians”—including me—will be both hurt and hurtful at times. Whether we were in a Christian church, fully unchurched, or somewhere in between; we all have been hurt and we all have hurt others.
If we allow Christ into our hurt places instead of building walls of protection, we move toward soul change. When we accept responsibility for wounding others or for holding on to a grudge, we are embarking on a new route.
We become vulnerable . . . and HUMBLED. We step into soul change, which is the most powerful of all change in our lives.
It Takes Humility
To be humbled is not comfortable, but it’s necessary. For your life to point to Christ and not to your own pain requires humility. You may believe you have a “right to _________” (you name it), but that’s not necessarily true.
I haven’t found in Scripture where Jesus said He had a list of “rights.” Instead, Jesus’ life was the way. He pointed to God and fully submitted to His Father’s will.
The Lord indeed ministered to Elijah, lepers, prostitutes, and so many others. He gave them room to lament, to struggle, to ask Him for help, and experience His transformative power. The Lord calls us to do the same.
Read Psalm 131 for a picture of humble expectancy:
LORD, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great
or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD—
now and always.
Where do you place your hope? Is your life a signpost to the God whom you serve? Are you willing to listen to those who see your pain and call you to a higher ground? Is life more about getting even or giving honor to God, the one who sent His son to die for you and me?
Let Me Hear from You
This will take courage, but I’m asking anyway: Will you ask someone close to you to tell you what area of your life distracts or discounts Christ’s transforming work in your life?
Will you be brave and step into the discomfort, not leaning on excuses or lists of who has hurt you? Will you be willing to learn how to live differently? Maybe you need to recalculate a transformational new route to healing by letting God lead the way.
Let’s discuss the topic of change this week.
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