Change

Chapter 7 – When You Believe in God But Don’t Think You Can Change

2 Corinthians 3:16-18

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

When I say that I’ve never been a big fan of change, I don’t mean maybe. Call me gun-shy, but having been uprooted and moved at the ages of 2, 5, 9, 12, & 15, and then many times in my adulthood, plus attending six different schools in 13 years made me that way. Imagine my delight the day I opened my Bible to Psalm 107:6-9 and God said, “This one’s for you!”

                Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,

                And he delivered them from their distress.

                He led them by a straight way

                To a city where they could settle.

                Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love

                And his wonderful deeds for men,

                For he satisfies the thirsty

                And fills the hungry with good things.

 

And God has been true to His Word. He has brought me to a city where I could settle. And He’s changing my thirst and my hunger to a thirst and hunger that can only be filled by Him.

I find change so terrifying, but I also know that it’s coming. And so I’ve recently found myself asking WHY?!

I think that without meaning to, I have been imagining God to be a capricious God who toys with his people like puppets on strings. But I didn’t see that I was holding onto that erroneous belief until He answered my WHY?! And His answer was: so that you can be the likeness of Jesus.

God can’t make beauty out of ashes without going through a process. And the potter can’t make the vessel without going through a process. And God can’t make me into what I was meant to be without going through a process. And that process involves change.

I had a great pastor when I was in college. Pastor Chris Garrison preached a series once that I’ll always remember about how when water isn’t stirred, it become stagnant.

So do I.

Change is that stirring that keeps me from becoming stagnant.

Change is the move from dirt to a useable vessel that pours God’s water into the rivers of the world.

Change isn’t fun and it is avoidable, but really, why would I want to avoid God’s best for me? When I look back and see the changes I’ve been through, I’m so grateful for who God’s making me into as opposed to who I was.

For me, at times, God has had to almost trick me into making a change. I have often taken pride in knowing that when my engagement ended, I was one that made the break. But truthfully, it was God and He tricked me into it! That sounds blasphemous. I don’t mean it to. I’m so grateful now! But at that time, when I handed Owen the ring back, I did it believing that my man was going to get his act together and that our relationship would be healed. Instead, God used that break to take me out of a hopelessly broken relationship that would have kept me out of the position that God wanted me in and that I needed to be in.

I was wounded, but I’m healing and I’m being used to help other wounded people. That’s a change.

I was searching for love, but now I’ve found love and am learning how to love. That’s a change.

I yearned for death as an end to my pain, but now I’m yearning for life and seeking to share it with others. That’s a change.

Why would I still want to be wounded and loveless and hopeless and wishing for death?

Thank God for change! Thank God for holding our hands and walking us through the fire—or whatever process that we have to endure to make the change.

How do YOU feel about change? Can you look back at a time in your life when change felt painful, but now you can see where it was necessary?

Today’s post is a part of a series of discussions on The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel. Please feel free to add links below if you have written a response on your own blog. Please feel free to discuss your thoughts and feelings in the comments here. I will be stopping in throughout the day to discuss back with you and so you should also feel free to come back by to check for responses. More discussion on this topic can be found at the links below and most especially at the website of my dear friend and co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen.

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Comments

  1. Wow… this is totally what I needed to read today. I’m an MK, and I’ve been moving my whole life, and I HATE change. I’ve realized all along that some change is for the best… but I’m always quite resistant to it. Lately, I’ve been looking at needing a lot of change in my life. Change in my heart – my attitude towards God and my relationship with Him. Change in my life – my priorities and focuses. Change in how I act towards certain friends. Change in different attitudes. Change in emotions – I like this guy (and he likes me), but the feelings need to be put on hold for now. So yeah, perfect timing. Thank you.

  2. That is the perfect question: why would I avoid God’s best for me? That’s exactly what it means if I refuse change. Love this thought. Thank you Sarah!

  3. This is amazing, Sarah. I had never thought of change in this way before. I have a hard time with things changing, too. Especially if I like things the way they are. But you are totally right in that the change keeps the water from getting stagnant. Thank you for the wonderful perspective. You may need to remind me again in the future… a few times.

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Hannah, Jason, & Ginny- As one who DESPISES change but understands that it’s necessary, I had to put this into language that I could understand and remember so that it will make an impression on me. The stagnant water analogy was a strong and lasting one. In North Carolina, if we have standing water, it breeds skeeters and YUCK! Who likes that?! And this week when God told me that He’s changing me to become the likeness of Jesus… Well, that just touched my heart. I’m pretty sure that’s gonna stick, too. Feel free to remind me of these things as the changes come. Pastor Chris’ wife, Eliza, always said that we may not respect the words of others, but we respect our own words… So, feel free to use them “against” me (so to speak) if necessary! They could just be the dynamite I need to get me to make the changes that God wants me to make!

  5. I’m also an MK. From the age of 4 until my sophomore year of high school, my parents served as church planters in Mexico. We were constantly on the move and as a result I built a wall that prevented me from knowing love or any emotional attachments.

    The wall took years to build and years to break down…Each brick had a name and a hurt associated with it. The mortar was my fear.

    God helped me through the process of scraping away the mortar and removing each brick. Today, I once again know love and life.

    What an awesome God! He continues to stir my waters and transform me into His image.

    Love the post, Sarah!

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, I’m just a PK, but we moved a LOT. Something about the way God built me, though, is that I never could build the walls. I loved everybody (even after some years of abuse) and got my heart constantly crushed because of it. But instead of hiding behind walls and never loving anybody, I hid behind masks & the fear kept them firmly in place. I still have a tendency to hide behind those masks. I think that’s why I go so far out of my way to pull my mask off with you guys (my close friends) so often. I’m trying to GET REAL. And the reason for all of the awkward tender moments is that I never want you guys to feel unloved. I want you to know exactly how much I love, respect, and admire you because I think that reflects how God feels. Make sense?

  7. Well, Sarah, you’re doing a great job. We definitely feel the love and it is definitely returned as well. Whether walls or masks, it’s about protection and fear which automatically tells me it’s not God’s best. We are to rest in the shelter of His wings and His perfect love cast out fear. I’m as guilty as anyone, but I want Him! Thanks again, Sarah. You are a constant blessing.

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty & Jason- It reminds me of my favorite quote from Starr Daily- “The walls we build to protect us, imprison us.” I don’t want to be imprisoned. I want to let Jesus set me free! But I have to let Him. He won’t do it against my will. And me letting Him is going to require me trusting Him enough to let Him take away my mask & take down the walls for good! And I’m workin’ on it. :) And I’ve actually come full circle here back to the scripture at the top… Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!

  9. Like I said on Jason’s blog, I’m always wondering if I can really change the things about myself I don’t like. I guess step 1 is to identify what I don’t like, but I’ve been stuck on that for so long, it becomes easy to believe change isn’t possible. Eventually, God’s going to make change mandatory! (I hope!) Grace and peace.

  10. Sarah Salter says:

    Matt, I think that there’s two things I’d mention here. First, there’s always things about ourselves that we don’t like. But that doesn’t mean that God would choose for us to change them. John 15 compares us to a vineyard. GOD is the vinedresser. He gets to decide what needs to be pruned and what doesn’t. And that leads to my second point. If God does want us to change something, He will either make that change in us or position us so that we will be changed. It’s His power, not ours. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts here! :)

  11. Reggie Ethridge says:

    We all fight change! As we get older and things start to get flabby, we work out. As hair changes colors, we dye it; if it falls out, we get creative haircuts or combing. While I am not saying to not do those things (I do…besides the combing thing) we have to realize that change will happen in our life and things will be less stressful if we embrace it and roll with it. In the end we will see that change is good!

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