When my kids were toddlers, there was one way to get them to run and hide… announce that I was going to change their diapers. It was the oddest thing to me- here I was, offering to relieve them of a smelly, wet, nasty burden, and there they were, crying and struggling to get away as I forced a change upon them. I could just not convince them to believe that this change would make their lives incrementally better. It wasn’t that they wanted the dirty diaper on- they just didn’t want to stop what they were doing to lay down for a bit and let me take care of business.
I’d totally judge them for this, but I’m so afraid that throwing stones from my glass house is going to leave me with a mess of my own to clean up. You see, I am not exactly known for my “go with the flow” attitude when it comes to change. Sure, sure, I’ve matured beyond the point of not wanting my diaper changed, but there are still so many ways in which I resemble my toddlers from the dark potty training years. Sometimes, just between you and I, I’d rather deal with being uncomfortable and offensive than to have to stop what I’m doing, slow down, and allow change to happen.
It’s kind of a vulgar picture, I see that now, and perhaps the diaper metaphor at this point is too much, but I think it actually is a perfect word picture for me. I need to remember how ridiculous my children looked fighting for their rights to wear a poopy diaper next time I’m resisting change that is for my own good.
Recently, my life has been a big ball o’changes. My son grew up and moved away from home. I changed careers. My daughters are working on their learner’s permits to be able to drive. My husband & I both started master’s degree programs. Our life is nearly unrecognizable to us from just a few years ago- and that’s just the change you can see!
Internally is where the real action is happening. Truth be told, I have been resisting taking an honest look at my faith for a long, long time. As a person who worked in full-time ministry for nearly a decade, I never felt like I had the time to really sit down and digest what I really believe about God. I had my beliefs, and I excused my lack of tending them by calling them “convictions.” I pressed forward in my journey without really examining what convictions were healthy and which were just causing me to stink, and I really had no intention of slowing down and changing that.
However, God loves me too much to allow me to walk around in that kind of condition. He used a turn of events a few years ago to give me more time to really inspect what I believed. And although I kicked and screamed like a toddler, I do have to say that I feel much better now that I’m allowing my heart to be changed. In fact, I feel a little foolish that I resisted at all.
Here’s the thing I’m learning throughout the process- if we truly pray to God that we would like HIS will to be done, we need to understand that change is a big part of that. We are going to have to be willing to trust God enough that we will let him change us whenever he sees fit- in whatever form that takes. We need to loosen our grasp on the thoughts, feelings, and circumstances that we think are safe bets. We must be willing to truly say to God that we will follow where he leads, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We can’t run and hide behind busyness or convictions or traditions when it’s time to change. We need to grow up enough to know that a loving God is faithful to change us when we stink- and smart is the man or woman who is willing to let that change happen.
Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. ~ Romans 12:2 CEV