Over the past few years a change has happened in my life in a good way. My hope for my future and what I can accomplish seems brighter than before. I’m not sure why I feel like this except that I have greater focus. This is a change for me. So I want to ask the question of how does one change. I know in my life, change always seemed to come in pieces. Very rarely, if I’ve made major changes did it come from one grand incident where I said, “I need to change”. Usually, there was a long string of good or bad happenings that brought me to a point of change.
More often than not, change is the result of little realizations along the way of life. How does a person become better, closer to God or more spiritual than before? As a spiritual counselor, I’ve seen the process of change up close. It’s usually a series of incidents that seem to guide a person into one, narrow tunnel, and as they walk that particular tunnel they realize that to come out on the other end, with a sense of accomplishment and dignity, they must change.
I think God‘s method of bringing a person to the place of change is the allow difficult situations to develop. Remember, God’s goal is for our heart to become transformed into the image of his Son. I believe that each struggle that a person faces is meant to effect change or lead to a place of change. Early on in my life I was not a flexible person. I was and sort of remain, a type “A” personality. I had my career planned out, what kind of neighborhood I wanted to live in, I was an overachiever in school, ambitious and liked things to stay stable and planned. I didn’t like the chaos of wondering what the next day was going to hold. I was going to make sure it held the same thing as it did yesterday. So you can imagine that when I got married and ran into trouble financially, this scenario was totally against my natural grain. Everything was supposed to be rosy and the same all the time. I was not a person that would shrug off a rejection letter or took failures lightly. Everything was personally whether they were my fault or not. Crazy right? And I could easily fall into depression, and who wouldn’t, carrying the weight of perfection on their shoulders.
God had a plan for me to change my core. He continuously put me in situations where everything didn’t go my way, to the point I began to wonder if God was against me. Financial struggles hit, family problems, church problems. All of these things forced me to be flexible. It made me focus on myself because everything around me seemed super-chaotic. When God changes a person, he wants to re-align the center of who they are. His goal is to align the core being of the person with the bible and the character of Christ.
He does this by allowing life to hit the person hard. I wish there was some other way, but as humans we learn best by experiencing struggles and enduring hard hits. When we experience something, that experience stays with us and teaches us. Experience is something we never forget—good or bad. God doesn’t allow bad things to happen just to see us suffer. His goal is change.
Jesus told us by just being in life we are going to have trouble. “In the world you shall have tribulation: (troubles), but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”(St. John 16:33b) Our troubles will take us to the place to change. When we realize where we cannot go, we start to focus on where we can.
How many people have you heard that were fired or laid off from jobs that were frankly dead end jobs anyway? Out of sheer necessity, they had to change. They were forced into a place of change. The success story only started after the job loss. The person decided to market that invention they kept talking about, or start that business or go back to school. All of which God might have been prompting them to do for years, but like many of us, they let the urgencies of life take away from the important goals they wanted to reach.
Today, stop and think how you’d like to change. Think about where you are now and where you’d like to be. What area of your life needs an overhaul? Think about what new paths God might be calling you toward that have nothing to do with what people expect you to do, but has more to do with your heart’s desire and your gifts. The happiest people are those that are doing what they love. It could be your trials are calling you toward change.