A very useful insight. Very relevant to a conversation I had with someone this week, along the lines of moving into a better place.
My answer to John's question is 'yes'. I was driving back from Southwold with Merle this week and she commented that when she first met me, 10 years ago, I had been diagnosed with ME, struggled to walk and had been told that I would always be limited by the condition. Today I am well, I swim and cycle and am about to undertake a 1* canoe course. I've just bought a house and am looking forward to decorating and working in the garden! More importantly, I'm at peace within myself and no longer live with the constant tensions and conflict within, which caused the symptoms of ME. It hasn't happened overnight, it's been a slow process with many ups and downs. However, because the change is taking place deep within my introvert temperament, rather than my extrovert compensating for what is going on within, the changes are deep and lasting.
Wonderful - this goes to the heart of the Christian challenge today for so many of us. What difference does this life with / in Christ really make?
The world looks on and sees little difference with the Christian next door to the atheist 2 doors down, the Christian on tv, those Christians at the local church etc. If this difference is going to be seen this change, at depth, heart, introvert level needs to take place. We need to be transformed
My own journey of real change began when I sincerely said to the Lord, I want to change - I heard sermons of joy, freedom, security, love and felt anything but most of the time. I desperately wanted these things, things that were said were part of a relationship with the risen Lord.
Since then God has taken me on a journey of understanding the things that were in my way, blocking the freedom Christ died for. Understanding what and why they were there. Then, a journey of learning how to break these strangleholds, led by an incredible church and pastor who take you gently by the hand and lead you along the path of freedom of u want to walk it - this is what God does, Gods work but, as with so much of what he does, he wants his people to do the work with him. I wouldn't have moved along this journey without this guidance - from a church - a group of people. I firmly believe this is how God wants it / does it - through the body, his people, with him at the centre as the conductor
This change is possible and needs to be our focus.
There is so much great "material" in this Insight and last Sunday's talk, thankyou.
I have a tendency to "beat myself up" a lot over the things in me that I would like to change, but I also know that it's such hard work if I try to do it myself. This I remind myself of: the Lord loves me so much and accepts me totally, just where I'm at and when His time is right, he gently and lovingly leads me down a path and helps me to change the things that He points at. Then I'm happy, because I know I'm safe in His hands. That doesn't mean though that He's ok with me dwelling on those areas I feel are weak, I have to make a choice to surrender those things to Him, and sometimes that in itself is a big battle.
He made me in His image, He doesn't make mistakes and He can use every part of us for His glory, often in ways we don't expect. He loves all of me, whilst at the same time transforming me to be more and more like Jesus. I often get frustrated at the time "wasted" in the process of these changes happening, but He reminded me recently of the need to rest and be still in Him, that He can accomplish more in one click of my fingers than I can ever ask or imagine. I am so limited by my concept of the length of my lifespan and what I think needs to be accomplished in that time, but it's His time that counts. After all, He transformed someone close to me from a stated unbeliever (by his own admission) to a committed disciple of His, in literally a split second, a year ago. When I am confronted by miracles like that I have nowhere to go with my own "inadequacies" and the solution thereto(!)
I am also reminded of a former (Christian) boss in the workplace, who told me not to be too quick to try to change the very thing I saw as a big weakness in myself, as he saw it as one of my strengths.
One of my current battles is a struggle with fear about medical interventions that seem to be (potentially) necessary on an ongoing basis. So it seems to come down to a lack of trust in Him. I know He only lets us deal with as much as we can cope with, but it is a constant battle. Although I look for opportunities to serve Him in it all and I pray He will be glorified (and I have seen some of that), I still look for the miraculous, when it might just be a simple walk of faith, hope and childlike trust that He's looking for. But while waiting for treatment, the fear can be quite intense....so I know its not easy.
I have seen quite profound changes in me over time, mostly when I've come to the point where I realise I don't want "the thing" to "control" me anymore because I want God in control. Then it's a case of a battle to surrender it and letting God (do what He wants with it) and refusing to dwell on it.
Life is such a gift and the most wonderful adventure and journey that the Lord takes us on. I (will) choose to be content to walk with Him on it, wherever that takes me, for His glory. And I know that will involve me being transformed (!) After all, I'm a work-in-progress......
Halesworth Community Church