I’ve started and restarted this New Year’s blog multiple times. Some of the helpful input I have read include my friend Laura, the blog A Holy Experience, and another one that is new to me called From Doing to Being. I’ve also been rereading a book I read/skimmed a few years back called Cry of the Soul by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III.
The combination of my reading has reinforced a gut feeling that has been growing in me (strongly influenced by the Holy Spirit I’m sure) regarding attitudes toward change. I love change. I hate ruts…sort of. (I need some routines to get jobs done.)
CHANGE IS MORE ABOUT SOMETHING INTERNAL
It seems that the development of character isn’t that easy. Changing attitudes and developing Godly character traits is complex business. It isn’t something that happens neatly in 3 weeks like starting a new habit. It isn’t something that shows…especially to us. It is often way more painful before we see any results…sort of like labor…or raising a child. There is encouraging growth for awhile, then failure, more growth, etc. It is unusual that the path is a neat one.
WHAT MOVES ME TO CHANGE?
I guess one question is what is our motivation for change? Do we want to be more comfortable…or less uncomfortable? Are we enhancing our own personal idols? Are we trying to please people around us? or are we living to glorify God? Yes, I know that many of us say that is our goal, but is it truly our goal? It is often difficult to assess because of the deceitfulness of our own hearts.
WHAT DOES MY FEAR OF CHANGE AND MY ABILITY TO TRUST GOD TO BE MY INFINITE RESOURCE HAVE TO DO WITH IT?
One thing I read this week in Dan and Tremper’s book–a very provocative one to be sure–was regarding the righteous and unrighteous aspects of anger and fear. These and other emotions are examined and how we learn about God’s character especially as seen in the Psalms. This book written by seminary graduates who are now a psychologist and seminary professor and they integrate both worlds in a Biblical way. It will give new insights re emotions, especially if you came up in the school of thinking that says that all anger/fear is wrong and we must stop it. Actually, some anger/fear is very appropriate and necessary. It is a natural response to danger. Anger is the fight response and fear is the flight response.
Some of their comments regarding fear were very interesting.
We respond in flight when we view the danger as being greater than our resources and determine that self-preservation is a higher good than engagement with the danger.
Comfort zone–living within the boundaries of what is familiar and comfortable to us, in conditions that elicit the least anxiety. The comfort zone can be beneficial by protecting us from harm…or it can imprison. (shortened/paraphrased)
I hope I haven’t talked myself into a corner. I have no desire to condemn anyone who is making a New Year’s resolution. It is a sign you realize the need for change in your life and are willing to take the risk to do something about it. That is a good thing. The cautions I have listed above are important considerations for you to make when you think about those changes.
THE YEAR OF EUCHARISTEO
In light of Ann Voskamp’s beautiful post, I plan to make this the Year of Eucharisteo. It is a word that combines the words gratefulness and grace (charis). But the obvious tie-in is with the Lord’s Supper. It is only through the cross that we experience the grace of God who provided true reconciliation between us and God. Because of that reconciliation, we can live in reconciliation with one another. It is as we celebrate with gratefulness, the grace of God on our behalf, that we can enjoy, in the context of the church, this glorious, scandalous act of God for us that we understand more of the meaning of gratefulness…and grace…and even reconciliation.
That’s all for now, but I hope to develop this more over the next few months. I know I’ll have to get more specific than this for me to even know where I’m headed. May the grace of God be with you during this new year and new decade.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9