First, a brief note of thanks to everyone who has started following this blog – I’m thankful you’re reading this and it encourages me to press on. I’m aiming for one post a week, but this week has had me busy in the yard – moving tons of dirt around and planting / watering grass seeds for what we hope will be a green spring.
I also wish to shift gears a bit. I may add another in the series of “Elements of Change,” although none come to mind at the moment. The ones I mentioned: Perspective, Friends, Solid Counseling, and Expectations were the big things that I can say made a significant difference. The actual process of change involved / involves quite a bit of repetition, at least for me. It often goes like this:
- Something’s off in my world – people or life doesn’t quite match up to expectations, hormones go off kilter, there’s a full moon – whatever.
- Temptation – I choose to linger there, or deal with it right away: bringing it to the Lord in prayer, spending time in worship, talking it out with Godly friends, seeking counseling, getting outside to enjoy the fresh air of God’s green earth, play with the dogs – something, somehow stopping that train of thought, making changes and looking deeper. If I’ve chosen to linger there, I dig myself a nice deep hole, which often requires more effort and pain on my part than if I’d just dealt with whatever was going on earlier. Somehow the Lord always calls me back to His side and sticks with me.
- Repentance happens
- Wisdom is gained – I try to learn something each time and grow – make use of the temptation to learn more about myself and the great God I get the chance to know better each day.
- Building – walls or barriers or boundaries around things that I just don’t need to waste time on. There are some things that it seems will get me every time – I’m not done living yet so I don’t know if they always will – but I know enough now to realize that it’s dumb to hang out “on the street where she lives…” (Just an illustration, yet one taken not only from a musical – check out Proverbs 7.) Building might also include taking time out to rest if I’ve been working too hard, or planning fun activities with friends if I’ve been lonely and missing a sense of connection. Or, perhaps asking God and good friends to help me to make news steps to reach out and take on a new challenge in learning to relate to women and/or men differently. It all depends on what the Lord has been teaching me about what is going on in my life when I take the time to dig into the temptations rather than give into them.
- Rejoicing happens – sometimes I’ll celebrate whatever victory may have been achieved. There is often a lot of work being poured into this process, and I don’t see anyone setting up an annual ticker-tape parade for those who have seen that work pay off, whether it’s in small or larger ways. Maybe it will be a present for myself, or dessert, or getting an “Atta-girl” from friends and family who understand what that success might mean. Sometimes experiencing the growth itself is it’s own reward, and I go off in worship for an hour or so, or time in grateful prayer.
It is good to have an Ebenezer stone of remembrance for what the Lord has done:
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,[a] saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”
I Samuel 7:12
I hope to add more stories about how the Lord shaped my life to where it is now – not that I’m a finished product by any means. Again, it’s not about a method, but a person – daily spending time with Jesus, not just reacting to life but engaging it with Him. The next few posts, I think, will be diving more into the reasons why I’ve found this is the path to take.
Again, thanks for reading!