Monday, April 13, 2009

Do we have to change?

One of my professors at Abilene Christian University had a saying: "If you always do what you have always done, you'll always get what you have always gotten." A similar statement is familiar to those in AA: "Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity." Both statements address the necessity of change in our lives.

Most of us wait for a life crisis to make changes in our lives. Cancer, heart attack, job loss, financial problems, separation/divorce, death of a family member, or feeling dead inside are all great excuses for changing the way we do life. We just aren't motivated to change our diet until we step on the scale and see 240 lbs or we find out we have diabetes. Eeeekkk!!! Then Katie bar the door...we are ready to do something about it.

Perhaps the same is true about our spiritual life. As long as everything is "fine," we can't even see a need to change. When we come to some spiritual crisis crossroads, where the old just won't work anymore, we are left to find a new path. We call this spiritual growth.

It happened to me seventeen years ago when my oldest child was born without most of his brain and multiple physical and mental disabilities. He didn't fit in my 'plan' and I was forced to adjust my plan. Shallowness became intolerable as I searched for a new way of relating. It couldn't settle for "church as usual" and had to change how much I was willing to give of myself into my spiritual well-being. I could no longer be a pew sitter (not that I was ever good at that).

I found it hard to relate to the "How's the weather?" crowd because I needed more. It's not that there is anything wrong with shallowness, I just couldn't relate to it anymore. I need people who are going to support me and my wife through really hard times with love, encouragement and depth. It's not easy being my friend because I need a deeper connection just for sanity.

God changed for me, as well. I had to have Him; He was no longer an option. He was/is the breath I breathe and the motive for me to live my life. I had to push all my spiritual chips to the middle of the heavenly poker table and go "all in." God has seen me through many a life crisis with Him being the only tether to sanity I had. My wife and I don't relate to God like the "non-crisis people." The storms of life have only served to deepen us. I look back on the crises and I see how each one lead me into a deeper understanding and dependence on God. There is no other explanation for it. For seventeen years, God's light has shown through Jared's life, a beacon in times of trouble.

Are you facing change? I hope you are. It means God has chosen you to go deeper with Him. Instead of asking the question, "Why me?" ask a different set of questions:
How can I adapt to the changing world around me?
How can I depend on God for strength and courage?
How can I submit to God's will during this trial?
Father, what do you want me to do next?
Father, how can I use this situation for your glory?

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