If we are revamping things, we are changing them. And over the past several weeks we’ve been intentional about “revamping” ourselves. Changing ourselves for the better, so that we grow and become more like Christ.
When we hear the word change, we usually think of it as meaning a “new beginning.” But truthfully, change – and the mystery around it – isn’t always about new beginnings. More often, change is when something new happens when something old falls apart.
When we experience the pain of something falling apart, because our soul is in a state of flux/chaos, we are more prepared for the transformation that happens. Our soul is able to focus and listen at a deeper level. And ultimately, our soul goes to a new place because the old place/state of being no longer exists.
It is a painful process, but also transformational.
Here these words from Father Richard Rohr . . . they are powerful words about claiming new life.
The mystics use many words to describe this chaos: fire, darkness, death, emptiness, abandonment, trial, the Evil One. Whatever it is, it does not feel good and it does not feel like God.
And, we will typically do anything we can to keep the old from falling apart . . . we want that order, the familiarity.
But, truthfully we need patience, guidance, and the freedom to let go instead of tightening our controls and certitudes.
Perhaps Jesus is describing this phenomenon when he says, “It is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14). Not accidentally, he mentions this narrow road right after teaching the Golden Rule. Jesus knows how much letting go it takes to “treat others as you would like them to treat you” (7:12).
Transformation usually includes a disconcerting reorientation.
Change can either help people to find a new meaning, or it can cause people to close down and turn bitter. The difference is determined by the quality of your inner life, what we call your “spirituality.”
Change of itself just happens; but spiritual transformation must become an actual process of letting go, living in the confusing dark space for a while, and allowing yourself to be spit up on a new and unexpected shore. You can see why Jonah in the belly of the whale is such an important symbol for many Jews and Christians.
In the moments of insecurity and crisis, “shoulds” and “oughts” don’t really help; they just increase the shame, guilt, pressure, and likelihood of backsliding.
It’s the deep yeses that carry you through. Focusing on something you absolutely believe in, that you’re committed to, will help you wait it out.
Love wins over guilt any day.
It is sad that we settle for the short-run effectiveness of shaming people instead of the long-term life benefits of grace-filled transformation.
But we are a culture of progress and efficiency, impatient with gradual growth.
God’s way of restoring things interiorly is much more patient—and finally more effective. God lets Jonah run in the wrong direction, but finds a long, painful, circuitous path to get him back where he needs to be—and almost entirely in spite of himself!
Looking in this rear-view mirror fills you with gratitude for God’s work in your life.
If you missed the Sunday message, here is a link.
The Old Way vs. The New Way