Written for the March/April 2016 edition of Live magazine…
You ever get this feeling that change is coming? That it’s just around the corner? And sometimes you catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of your eye, just out of sight, waiting to come into focus in your life?
I knew change was coming. But I really had no idea what it would look like, or what it needed to look like for me. I only knew there was no way my life could continue as it had been.
Waking in the night for longer and longer periods of time, reaching for the junk food at every opportunity, shying away from almost all social engagements, feeling like I couldn’t attend another Sunday morning church service, dropping ministry commitments, fighting with my husband, and losing all motivation to write or clean or cook or budget or care much about anything.
Something had to change. Many things had to change. So I set to work trying to bring whatever change I could muster into my life. I tried to change my roles in ministry, I tried to change my household duties, I tried to change my husband and children, and I tried to change my ideas for writing. There was temporary relief at times, but always there was this nagging feeling that I was missing something. Something my ideas and plans weren’t catching. What could it possibly be?
What was it that kept holding me back? What was keeping me from getting on track? What had I overlooked?
Then I caught a glimpse of what lurked in the background – in every situation I was trying to change – the same thing popped up every time. Me. I was the constant. And I wasn’t changing much at all. I had been so busy trying to change everyone and everything else that I had skipped over the hardest part.
Picture a jaw-drop and a head-shake.
That was two years ago, and I’ve been on a roller coaster ride of realization, renewal, and restoration ever since. I’m getting a sneaky suspicion that it might just never end. And instead of dreading the next uphill ascent and subsequent drop into thin air, I’m starting to learn to throw my hands up in the air and fall into Grace. There is no controlling Him or changing Him, no matter how hard I might try.
There have been many layers to peel back. Every layer uncovered reveals another layer to give over to Him. Like one layer was admitting my lack of interest in just about everything instead of putting on the smiley mask yet again. This revealed the next layer – my struggles with anxiety. This revealed yet another layer – my fears and negative thought patterns. I have no idea what the next layer will reveal.
I do know that He is renewing me, from the inside out instead of the other way around. That everything is being held up to the Light and tested against His will for my life. That if I’m going to continue on the journey with Him then anything goes. And it most likely won’t look like what the world tells me it should look like. I won’t look the part of the world’s standards or patterns. Most of the differences will be invisible to the people I pass on the street, because only God can look at the heart.
But we’ll know the differences are there, and what a lovely secret to share. What a wonderful way to worship Him. By letting Him loose in the deepest parts of ourselves, underneath all the layers, where true renewal can happen in our lives.