Sometimes you come right up to a line and you have to choose: Choose to change? Or cling to the old, the worn, the ill-fitting but the known and comfortable?
Me? I usually fight change, ignoring it as long as I can until I’m finally forced into it.
Change is relentless, though, like the arrival of new seasons.
Funny how I can dislike change so much, but still love fall with its consistent reminder that change is necessary and change can be beautiful.
In a way, this has been the topic of much discussion at my house.
For one thing, there’s this unstoppable force at work–this act of growing up–that we can’t pause, hinder, or slow down.
I took my girls shoe shopping before the new school year began and the sales lady made the grand announcement: My daughter’s feet are bigger than mine.
Not the same size. Bigger.
She’s been nudging close to me in height for the last year, but I still have maybe 1/8 of an inch on her there.
I never expected, though, to break through some kind of barrier while standing in the middle of the shoe store. That one snuck up on me.
Changing and growing and transforming: That’s what my kids are doing every single day. It’s hard to see up close. Each morning, they look the same as they did the day before.
But then there’s last year’s school pictures.
Or the snapshots from a few years ago.
That’s where you see the truth of just how much has changed over time.
And yet, even my kids, as proud as they are of new growth chart markings and new shoe sizes, seem to push hard against changes to situation or even changes within.
They begin to “own” their quirks, foibles, and, yes, even sin. I hear them say, “I’m picky about food.”
And it’s not a confession. It’s not a request to do better or to grow in an area of weakness.
It’s said with pride, like “this is who I am and that’s who I’ll be forever.”
“I can’t help it,” they say, “I’m loud….I like to be in charge….I like to spend all my money”
The message lies just underneath the surface: “This is who I am and I can’t change.”
So one day, I lean in close to my daughter as she makes another declaration about who she is and I say:
There’s only One who cannot change. That is God and you are not Him. Not only can we as humans change, but sometimes we should.
I was preaching to myself a little there, too.
It’s true. God is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. We can fully rely on His character and faithfulness because Scripture tells us He always has been and always will be faithful.
God does not change.
But He wants to change us.
He loves us as we are; He loves who we are; but He wants to move in our areas of weakness, in our hang-ups, in our sin-tendencies.
Paul tells us:
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a]the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV).
The Message paraphrases this passage beautifully:
And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.
Maybe all these ways I’m trying to hold back change, are really ways I’m trying to keep God from doing the beautiful work of changing me.
Maybe the circumstances I don’t want to accept, the relationship I don’t want altered, the “new” that I feel pushed upon me are God’s ways of molding me and making me more like Jesus.
And, that’s what I want. I want to be more like Jesus every single day until eternity makes the process complete.
That means change. I cannot stay the same way and still become more like Christ.
It means cleaning out the closet of old, worn-out, too-small shoes (even if they are my favorite) and stepping into what’s roomier and gives me space to grow.
It means not holding onto sin, the weaknesses I consider “just who I am” or “just how I was made.”
Instead, we can yield to the Holy Spirit and say:
Have thine own way, Lord. Have thine own way. Thou art the Potter; I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will while I am waiting, yielded and still (Adelaide Pollard).