Change is a difficult challenge as I have to choose whether or not to embrace God’s will and let go of mine. Change is necessary to manifest His will, but I must trust God and give Him the chance to change me. Security, my need to control, and pride keep me from changing as God desires. When I am ready to surrender, the Holy Spirit begins a transformation only He can accomplish.
Security is linked to safety, and I cling to what I know in a desperate attempt to remain safe. The irony is that my tendency to stick to the known threatens the very safety I try to protect. I settle for the way things are and convince others I know what I’m doing. The problem comes when trying to convince myself or God.
The chance for change requires leaving my comfort zone and stepping into the unknown. That puts me in a prayerful state of mind and requires faith that God is who He says He is. It’s precisely where I need to be, but exactly where I don’t want to be. Like the Israelites, I complain and ask God why I have to change. I prefer rearranging to real change which requires more reflection than I care to do.
Moving away from the known is extremely difficult, even when I know it is for the best. I stay in terrible situations simply because I worry that I may end up in a worse place if I step out, which shows a lack of faith on my part. I also have to admit I am wrong, and that bruises my pride. Christ was willing to leave heaven and God’s presence to make the single most powerful change this world has ever experienced. If He can do that, surely I can make the simple changes He is asking of me.
Change asks me to surrender and have faith in God. I have to let go of my need to control, and admitting I need God is the first step in that surrender. When I finally let go, God always shows me how pleasant it is to have someone who knows the way take me where I need to go. I would never step off a plane in a foreign country, signal for a taxi, and tell the driver to move over, but I am guilty of doing just that when it comes to God.
Several years ago, I was in San Francisco on a business trip. It was during Chinese New Year. My colleagues and I decided to go to China Town for the festivities. I’ve never seen so many people in one place and soon found myself caught up in a group of revelers dressed in a large red dragon costume. They were setting off firecrackers in front of each store to bring good luck to the owner in the coming year. I started to panic as the fireworks got closer and my colleagues got further away. I was lost in a sea of foreign faces and filled with fear.
When faced with danger, I look for help. When in a ditch, I’m open to suggestions. The challenge of change is having the same attitude without the danger or the ditch. Successful people know the importance of change and are willing to take the risks involved. Like a child in the backseat, I tend to bombard God with questions. When will I get there? How much longer? Where am I? I’m hungry! Can I have a drink? My father responded to those questions with the threat of pulling off the road. God is much gentler, but He makes it clear that I free to go my own way if that’s what I want. God’s patient love lets me wait until I am ready for the changes He has in mind for me.
God could easily take control, but that goes against the nature of love. He loves me too much to force His will on me. Besides, He knows it’s an ineffective method for true change. If I see the second ‘c’ in chance as my need to control, change it to a ‘g’ for God, and give control to Him, I’ll find the joy that comes when I trust and obey Him. Pride and fear keep me from giving God the chance to change me. Pride doesn’t go before the fall when it comes to change; it keeps me from falling back into my faith in God. Falling in faith is a lot like falling in love. I have to just let go and trust God to catch my heart. As I looked at this amazing sunset this evening, I wondered how I could possibly not trust God.