And it is happening rapidly in nearly every sphere of existence!
A new work area at work.
A new den at home (and a great room in the throes of being changed).
A new routine on Monday nights.
A new sport to learn and support.
Today, a new computer with new software and icons and – oh my Lord – everything LOOKS so different!
Don’t be so dramatic you might say. My marriage is changing. My relationship with my daughters is changing. Relationship with others is changing. Where I was and what God had me doing, is changing.
Change, for some, is almost too much to bear.
We like things to stay the same, even if staying the same means being out of joint with others or God, settling for a stale, murky and dead atmosphere, operating out of fear of letting go, and remaining connected when God is counseling it is time to move on.
As I type the word “change” I sense Holy Spirit speaking, “Change implies you can always go back. Change is not what is taking place. Transformation is. ” Transformation – a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.
I can always move back to my old work cube, change the colors and flooring back to the same color and texture in my den, resume my previous Monday night routine, and not show interest in learning about tennis or go to matches. God seems to be speaking these things are a fore shadow, or indication of something new in the future, of what is taking place in my soul and relationships with Him and others – dramatic change in form and appearance never to return to the previous state.
When moving my cubicle, I had to pack up my old items and move it to the new. This was an opportunity to throw away items that were not going to fit the new space.
When renovating the den, we ripped up new carpet and padding, painted over new colors, and rearranged with new elements.
When transitioning from my Monday night routine, I had to trust God to continue on the very work He began through me, without me, and let go in order to lay hold of His heart in a new season.
Is all this easy? No. But it is necessary (so He tells me ;) ).
A couple weeks ago I shared a blog post alluding to God speaking ahead of time before one enters a challenging time in their life. Separation, threshing, squashing and pressing were mentioned. If you aptly concluded, “She must have been going through something or is going through something or is about to go through something”… D, all of the above.
With only a quarter way into the year, interesting is the most affable term to be used.
Our family had an amazing spring break. Truly. I shared a post about God speaking to me regarding being the “golden apple of His eye”, while on the beach. What I didn’t share was what He continued to speak to me following our time together.
He began to speak to me that because I am the apple of His eye, He will do everything to look after and protect me. Not only me, but the plans and purposes He has for my life, my children, those He has connected me with, and the future I’m currently oblivious to. As I listened, with spiritual ears, I was somewhat dismayed. A particular relationship, was going to appear to “take a hit”. But what would appear as a “hit”, was really God’s hand saying “this far and no farther”.
But why? You see, I am familiar with this. God has in fact spoken to my heart about relationships, particularly close ones, in the past. He has shared something was about to take place and there would be a shift. A shift that was necessary to continue to grow forward. Low and behold, it would happen. This has happened not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. I have learned when He speaks, “keep a distance…allow this relationship to rest…stay away until I say…caution and cut loose…”, I need to listen.
In three of those four scenarios, I in my desire to maintain what I considered peace and an appearance of maintained connection, would reach out and more damage would be done. God ALWAYS knows better than we do. Always. The fourth, when I was cautioned sitting across the table from someone, and this individual in fact played out behavior reinforcing God’s caution – I was grateful I learned the “hard way” times before to listen. But is it “easy”? No.
This time will be no different. There is a tension between what was and what is becoming. There is uncertainty that rattles our confidence. There is doubt that the new is really going to be a step in a more promising direction. And that is just what goes on in our own mind!
Change or transformation is also difficult because other people have a tendency to take our pruning personal. Others may not understand our directive to maintain distance. Others may be jealous of our ability and call to change, when they appear to be in a holding pattern (although they might not be if they saw the price being paid for change). Others may want us to stay the same because if we don’t, it disrupts the comfort zone they’ve established for themselves. The behavior and the way this plays out can look a variety of ways. Unfortunately, it isn’t always supportive, may come across as passive aggressive, and sometimes can get downright ugly.
Peter struggled with the pruning of Jesus, and took it personal as well. When Jesus foretold of His suffering, death and resurrection (the ultimate threshing, crushing and pressing we celebrated this past Friday to Sunday) in Matthew 16:21-28, we can see Peter’s response. “God forbid, Master! Spare yourself. You must never let this happen to you!” I imagine Peter wanted Jesus to stick around. I mean, just a few verses before, Jesus told Peter he would be the rock on which the church would be built. Peter was also looking forward to the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. How was Jesus going to build on and deliver the keys to Peter, if Jesus were dead?! How did Jesus respond to Peter taking His pruning personal?
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things that are of God, but those that are of men.” Ouch. I again imagine some serious offense and sulking going on.
It is a dangerous place to find ourselves in, when we think we have it “all figured out”. It is hazardous to conclude we have learned all there is to learn and operate from a static rather than spiritually organic place. It is fatal to allow our pride to speak up rather than be humble to the fact only God truly possesses the knowledge of good and evil and we can trust deferring to Him is in everyone’s best interest.
I may be a little “rocked” by all the change that appears to leading to transformation. But, I trust the Rock of my Salvation to keep me steady and cause me to be that which He needs. I pray you are able to do the same if you find yourself in a season of upheaval. I pray we are able to defer to the Master while we attempt to maneuver through transitional growing pains. I pray we don’t get stuck in the crushing, falling for the lie that this is all there is. I pray we hold onto the hope and promise there is fresh wine, fresh oil and fresh bread on the other side!