I was correct in my thinking, but there was a bit more. The "more" part has really made me stop and think. I have found areas that I need to pray about and seek the Lord's help and His guidance. Here, let me fill you in......
Last week we looked at change. In order to keep a resolution we need to do more than just say we are going to do it. We need to CHANGE.
I've always thought I handled change pretty well. But, as our pastor continued, I realized I only handle change well when it is a good experience for me or something that I chose to change or when it doesn't directly affect me. OUCH! I can't tell you how painful that is to admit. Almost as painful as changing in an area I don't want to change.
Let me give you just a small example. Several years ago there was a series of organizational changes that took place in my company. My department began reporting directly to our parent company. As part of this, our benefits changed to match those of the parent company, including how our vacation time was accrued. Up until this time, we started with 2 wks vacation, after 5 years we moved to 3 wks, and then at 10 yrs we received 4 wks. The new plan is the same until you get to 10 yrs. No longer do I get 4 wks vacation at 10 yrs. I now have to wait until 15 yrs. At the time all this changed, I had only been with my company 8 yrs. I remember thinking "No big deal". There were much bigger things to be upset about.
Well, this year I've now been with the company for 10 yrs and I don't get that additional week of vacation. I bet you can tell where this is going, huh? It now affects me. I don't like it. I have complained about it..... more than once. I'm not handling that bit of change well at all. Funny how my "No big deal" attitude changed once it directly affected me, huh? I've had to re-adjust and pray for an "attitude adjustment".
When I look at this example and then several others, I have been forced to admit that I don't handle change as well as I should. And, unfortunately, I had always felt this was a strength for me. Hmmmmm..... I have discovered that it is just the opposite.
And, you see, here's the crux of the matter.... God is all about change. If we're truly going to live for Him we must change. If we're truly going to love others we
must change. If we're going to be witnesses to the world around us we must change.
If we look in the book of John in the 2nd and 3rd chapters we see stories, back to back, that all deal with change. The first is the story of Jesus changing the water into wine. Second, we read of when Jesus visited the Temple for Passover and was greeted with men selling doves and oxen. Jesus spoke at the time of our bodies being "temples of the Lord" and of how we must cleanse it -- change it from being dirty. Then, the third story tells us of Nicodemus. Nicodemus asked Jesus what one must do "to be born again when he is old?" Jesus' answer is "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." In other words, we must change -- our ways of thinking, our commitments, and the way we live our lives.
So, here's the questions I must now pose to myself..... how do I learn to accept change that isn't pleasant? Change that directly affects me? How do I learn to embrace change... even the kind of change that is difficult and where I don't see the purpose?
And, finally, here's the big one..... do I daily turn myself over completely to God? Am I completely willing to accept the change that is likely to be required on that very day or somewhere down the road? A change that others may not understand? A change that could move me further outside my comfort zone than I would like?