January 20, 2011

Change is Beautiful

I used to believe that change, any kind of change, was difficult and unpleasant.  I liked being a creature of comfort, and change signaled to me that I was going to have to shift from my couch-potato status and DO something (move, get active, pickup, anything that required effort on my part).  I liked living in my cocoon, even if my cocoon wasn't a very nice place to be.  It was safe (or so I believed) and warm (again, believed), and I thought I could rest from the weariness of the world.  However, change itself rarely bumped me from my cocoon shelter.  It would simply shift the nest, make me move slightly to the left or right; but it didn't really make any significant alterations to my current status.  That is, until I experience the kind of change that the Lord allows into your life -- life altering change that causes you to wake up from slumber, rub the dust out of your eyes, and begin to see the world as it really is.  This change brought around a newness of life for me, and it made me aware of some things that I needed to address.

Of these things, the biggest area I needed to address was my identity.  My identity was that thing that made me definable and recognizable.  It was the characteristics, the beliefs, the values, that I held as being part and parcel to me.  My name, a key component of my identity means "lord" (from the Greek for Carl or Karl) as in one having authority over himself (or herself).  In the Bible, names hold great meaning to the Lord; and the Hebrew people chose names carefully.  A name could set a person on the right track for life or it could identify them in some way that would cast them out of Jewish society.  A name, therefore, was vitally important to the God of the Bible.

The Word tells us that God has given to each of us a new name, and this name is known only to Him.  At the day of Revelation, we will be given our new name, and this is the name we will carry with us through eternity.  This name will reflect our new character in Christ Jesus, and will demonstrate key attributes we developed throughout our time here in Earth.  Our old name will be put away, just like the old man was sealed up into a casket and buried.  Our new name will be the name by which we are identified in Heaven.

In finding a new identity, I had the option of choosing another worldly format, a person-type of my own choosing.  I could be bold, adventurous, or contemplative.  I could be assertive.  I could be WOMAN.  I could be pretty much anything I wanted to be, but I knew that I would be only another shell representing what I thought God wanted me to be.  Instead,  I chose to have my identity shaped by Him, and to accept the identity of His choosing.  In doing so, I was given a new purpose, a great plan to follow, and a new sense of self.  My identity became grounded in Jesus, and in His Work, and I began to let go of all those things that the world says one must keep hold  or strive to accumulate.  I took hold of Jesus and I became the person of His choosing.  I am glad I did.  I like the new person I am, and I am looking forward to the name He will give to me on that day when I stand before Him.

The second area I needed to address was my unwillingness to let go of control.  My need to be "lord" over the details of my life caused me a lot of stress and frustration.  I needed to learn how to let the Lord be LORD over every area of my life, and once I did, I was immediately released to walk in freedom from the tyranny of stress.

The next area was my desire for wealth and financial security.  I still struggle with this one a bit, but the desire is waning, and I am becoming more accustomed to letting God be my Financial Planner.  This need was driven into me by my husband, for one; and then by my own lack of trust in the Lord.  In my husband's case, it really wasn't something he did, but rather something he didn't do.  He was like most normal young men when I met him -- ambitious, desirous of achieving a good position, and sincerely wanting to provide for himself and his family.  This was back in the early 1980s when it seemed that every young guy I knew drove a Porsche or BMW.  They owned houses, boats, and flashed a lot of cash around.  Jobs paid well then, and money was being made on the stock market.  Young professional men made good money, and had nothing to do with it, but find ways to spend it.  All of my husband's friends were successful, all made very good income, and all were considered wealthy.  Our mistake, and I take the blame for this as well, was to believe that since everyone was getting rich, we would get rich too.  We bought into Pyramid schemes, multi-level marketing programs, and every "you can do it too" tape system.  Nothing "did it" and we ended up in debt, with little income, and with this nagging fear hanging over us that we would be evicted.  I worked, of course, and we lived on my scrawny per hour wage.  We were strongly united, believing that money would come to us if we only did the right system, worked a certain way, and kept faith that it would happen eventually.

The problem with this line of thinking is that it negates a very important principal, and that is the God is the decider of who is rich and who is poor.  Many people, Christian's alike, do not like to believe this but truthfully, if God is God of everything, and His word tells us that every cattle belongs to Him -- then we must believe that every dollar or yen or euro is His as well.  God blesses whom He chooses to bless.  If you are not studying God's word and applying Biblical principals to your financial life -- well then -- you are gambling and playing the races (hoping you will score it big).  Resting in God, trusting in Him as Provider brings financial security.  It may bring wealth or it may bring a satisfied modest life.  Even in poverty, the Lord will richly bless those who trust in His Name.  This is a promise from Scripture, and resting in Him alone is the only way to uncover the true wealth of God's kingdom.

The last area I had to address required the most time for me to accept, and that was my dependency on other people, especially my family.  I am close to my parents, and the thought of walking out on them (as in moving away or following another path) scared me.  I didn't want to disappoint them, and I didn't want to leave them behind.  I had to learn that God's plans may move me, and in doing so, that my parents would be OK without me near.   Furthermore, I would be OK without them near.  It was hard, and still is, to consider leaving, but now I understand that I must do the work the Lord has for me, and that may include moving to another city.

Reshaping my identity, replacing my trust in myself or others, and relying on God for His Provision has been the major change I experienced over the past two and one-half years.  It was not an easy process for me, and I struggled against His will for a time.  Now that I am on board with His plans, I can see that all of this was for my benefit.  I am strong now, and I am better able to handle difficulty without falling apart.  I can go where He sends me, I can rest with confidence.  I can soar high on eagle's wings because the Lord is beneath me keeping me afloat.  I trust in the Lord, and He does marvelous things for me.  So be it, thy will be done today and every day henceforth.  Amen, amen, amen.  Selah!

No comments: