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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Only I can change me

Carol Burnett was one of my all time favorite comedians as I was growing up. I loved her slap-stick humor, wildly gleeful guffaws, and hugely expressive eyes. One thing she frequently said as she was interviewed by those who asked her about her success was that she discovered, "Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me." She points to the importance of not just settling for status quo in life, but being engaged in this process of change. She also reminds us of the importance of not looking to others to create that culture of change for us, but rather to be the ones to engage in creating it. Martha Beck reminds us, "Everyday brings new choices." Today, we choose between one set of goals, or another entirely different ones. Today I choose to take some time away from the heat and just get up into some "fishing country" to engage in a little R&R. Next Monday, I will choose to go to work, put in my 8 hours, and do all that must be accomplished in that workday. Each day brings a different set of choices - but we must engage in our choices in order to be actively participating in the outcome!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

While we can never lose sight of the one who has all things in HIS control, we must remember he expects us to be active in our choices to trust in him - to not merely rely upon what it is we can figure out in the moment. To seek God's will is to do more than merely run something past him in a moment of prayer and hope for the best. It also means we take the steps we know to take - those things we can trust to be right and true - then see how he multiplies those steps toward obedience with extra installments of his grace, multiplied measures of his love, and hugely impressive shows of his magnificent provision. 


Too many times we think trusting means we just sit back and do very little, but I think Burnett hit the nail on the head when she reminded us of the importance taking the first step. What happens when we step forward? In the military, it meant you volunteered for the mission! Maybe that is why we hesitate to step out! We don't want to be engaged in the "mission" because we don't know what all it will entail! There were many assignments I volunteered for that I had absolutely no clue what would be involved. I did it because I trusted those in leadership over my life at that time to make wise decisions, utilizing the skills of each of the volunteers to the best of their abilities. In the end, it usually turned out pretty well!

Trust isn't easy, nor is taking the first step into the unknown. Change involved embracing the unknown. We may have a vague hint of where it is we are headed, but most of the time, we just stick our toe in the water to test the temp! If it seems a little too much for us to endure, we pull back in fright. If it seems like we could "tolerate" it for a while, we might step out a little further, but if it gets a little too deep too fast, we turn back! Why is that? I think both of these tendencies stem from the unwillingness to trust God with the unknown. We trust "us" as far as we can, but when it comes to trusting God, we struggle a little bit because we don't always know exactly what "change" he might see as good for us. We "want" change, but we may not want "that change"! 

I have to ask - if we never try that change, how can we ever know if it will be too hard, just right, or way more awesome than we expected? Just askin!