Friday, July 1, 2016
There are pictures of change all around us and within us. Change is in the world, in politics, in ministry, in friendships, in the media, in entertainment and reflected in our private plans and hectic lives.
Change is surprising!
I have disliked coffee for all of my life.
Loved the aroma, but despised the taste of it. It use to taste like 'dirty water' to me.
Now, I can't get enough of it. This year has been filled with finding glorious coffee shops with the most delicious and robust coffee that you can imagine. I have gained my 'coffee lover' badge since this time last year and can hardly start the day, a mentoring or study session without it now.
What's happening to me?
I would pray as a kid that our mother would not prepare beets as one of the vegetables with our dinner. It tasted like 'the earth' to me. Mom is an excellent cook, but nothing in the world made beets appetizing to me. I always preferred Mom's mac and cheese or green beans as a side dish but Wow have things changed!
Now, at 40 plus, I can't get enough of beets.
They have become one of my all time favorites.
I like them cold on salads or warm with goat cheese and toasted pecans.
What in the world is happening to my palate?
Since we are being honest about the transitions of taste buds, I recall not really enjoying the taste of salmon as a young adult. Imagine that! I always preferred milder, white fish. Now, I have found that grilled, blackened or broiled salmon are my first choices on a menu at a seafood restaurant.
Again, I say, "What is happening to me?"
Now I try to eat more of what makes my body feel good.
Changes are taking place in my food choices, but also in other areas of life.
After the hard work of seminary studies (10 years ago), I vowed that I would never go back to school. My mind and body were exhausted after a 120 hour Master of Divinity degree. Although it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, I couldn't imagine putting myself through that type of sacrificial, mental stretching again.
Well guess what? I was recently accepted into a reputable and rigorous doctoral program and now I'm preparing to enter a season of supreme academic preparation and dedication. My mind craves the stretching that I once ran from.
What's really going on?
I'll tell you what's happening. I'm changing and it's OK!
It's apart of our life cycle.
Change is growth!
Dr. M. L. King said, "Change is now."
It must be urgent.
If not, our lives will never progress.
Things that I use to pass up are suddenly things that I now prefer.
Changes are happening in my taste buds, in my health, in my professional and academic goals, and even in my faith.
I have often waited to move in faith, especially as a teenager, because I was relying on the opinions of people to validate my faith moves.
I often waited for things to be logical or understood before I stepped out in faith, but now, things are different. Really different!
I'm enjoying the new me. The process of discovery and the journey. I am experiencing rewards of faith, tests of faith and heart break that is associated with change.
Change involves loss.
To miss that is to live in la-la land.
Don't do it!
Change can help and change can hurt, but even with the difficulties associated with change, it propels. What it produces is far greater.
Be not discouraged when change causes your faith to be stretched like never before or when God allows stretching to strengthen you.
Every jump in life takes courage, prayer, obedience and God's help.
I shared some painful, personal information with a close friend recently and she said, "I can't believe you aren't crying. You have become a big girl."
I smiled and gave God praise because 20 years ago I would have fallen apart. This was a major growth moment. Glory for God-glorifying grace moments like that! There are still things that can upset me, but now I see the value in trusting God even in tough moments because He always works it out. (Romans 8:28)
Although there are still many areas that are under construction in my life, moving in faith is now something that I strive to do even when I don't understand God's leading.
Do I still become fearful? Yes.
Do I often wrestle with God's decisions when it pushes me to make moves that will force me out of my comfort zone? Indeed!
However, we all come to a place in life will we have to choose change even when it makes us face our future of uncertainty with hope and trembling.
To be nervous is fine but keep it moving!
Change is a grace gift. Embrace it!
It will not be done being fearful.
Change confirms and catapults.
Paul experienced change. From enemy of Christians, to forerunner of our faith.
Esther experienced change. From orphan to queen!
Change separates those that say they have faith from those that actualize their faith.
We are changed to become agents of change!
Flex your faith today.
Mandela, Gandhi and Church Fathers did it.
Langston Hughes and Harriet Tubman did it and you can too.
Faith breeds change, but know that change is uncomfortable and has rewards, risks and consequences.
Trailblazing is not comfortable.
Serving and leading is not comfortable.
Marriage is not comfortable.
Singleness is not comfortable.
Having a voice for social justice or standing for right is not comfortable.
Working in the home is not comfortable and neither is working in corporate America or ministry.
To walk in faith is to embrace a life of anything but comfort.
It is to be open to change. The Bible urges change. The question is, "Do we?"
I am always reminded of God's faithfulness in each season and see that His character continues to be immutable.
We can relax in embracing changes because life is always changing and so are we, but Jesus is the same and THAT will never change.
I am deeply comforted by that truth.
Have you reached a place in your life where you are becoming everything that you didn't want to be or didn't see yourself becoming? Or are you becoming the man or woman that you were afraid to become but always wanted to be?
Were you the shy one in the family but now you speak up?
Were you the lazy one but now you are the most hardworking one on your team?
Were you the one very easily frazzled and now you stand with a smile in the storm?
Were you the one afraid to move from your home town but now you are enjoying living where ever God sends you?
Were you afraid to start a business or to go to school and now you are flourishing in obeying God's next steps in your life?
Did you resist drinking water, eating fresh fruit and veggies or despised planning to exercise, but now you are proud to be making smarter health choices?
Isn't it amazing to wake up on your journey and see that we look, feel, taste and dream much differently? All of our senses are evolving and so are our perspectives, personality and plans.
It's OK. Change with changing times. Change with changing relationships. Change with changing fashion trends, culinary creations, personal plans and personal goals.
Don't consider yourself abnormal. Consider yourself human.
The world is evolving and so should we.
If we looked the same at 21, 35, 46 or 60 that we looked at 5 or 10 years old, then there would be a clear sign that growth was interrupted.
The same is true with learning. If we stop reading, our minds will become out of shape.
If we stop exercising faith, our faith will become flabby.
Change on purpose. The future you needs it. The world deserves it. God requires it.
Dr. Robert Smith, Jr urges bible students around the world to "never retard your growth."
Choose growth through change.
As as we change, be sure to cling to the One that never will.
What is God asking you to do?
"Arise! Be strong...and do it!"
What's happening to me? Life is happening.
What's happening to each of us? Maturity is happening. God's will is happening.
God is happening to you and me and it's crazy, uncomfortable, wonderful, scary and feels so good!
Say Hello to the new me and Hello to the new you.
We welcome you.
Dear Father, thank you for this season. Thank you for helping us to embrace change and to live out the faith that we believe. We honor you for Jesus who grew throughout His ministry. He came as a baby but completed His assignment as a man. Thank you for the portrait of His journey as fully God and fully man. Thank you for His steps from the crib to the cross.
Teach us to steward the maturation process of life with grace, dignity, integrity and flexibility.
Help us to trust you more. We give you praise for changes in us and around us, but we are most grateful that you will never change. Great is Your faithfulness!
In Jesus name, Amen!