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What are you hiding?

Most of us have heard that old adage, "The only thing constant in life is change", but it is almost an oxymoron. Why? If you didn't know, change is by definition the opposite of something which remains constant! Think about it again, and you might just realize there is truth in this saying because when you consider it, change is constant. If we are to remain fresh, vital and in a position of being on the "cutting edge" of all life sends our way, we need to be up for change - sometimes more frequently than we'd like, but change will come. Sometimes the greatest challenge to us comes in the willingness to admit we even need change. There is just something "comfortable" about a lack of change. When change begins to be called for, we get really, really nervous! Why? Simply because we don't see the need for change in quite the same way as the one calling for the change in the first place. When God calls for us to change, we might even find ourselves squirming a little, totally uncomfortable with what he might ask, or how he might bring about that change within us.

Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here's why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, this most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. Who knows? Maybe he'll do it now, maybe he'll turn around and show pity. Maybe, when all's said and done, there'll be blessings full and robust for your God! (Joel 2:13-14 MSG)

There is another saying, "When you are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere." I wonder if this is where we get off-course in life, thinking change will surely bring us some means of happiness, or new-found satisfaction in life. So, we change partners, jobs, places of residence, and even our hair color. Change for the sake of change is rarely as rewarding as we first imagined it to be. Seeking peace within our hearts by any other means than stepping into the grace of God is useless - it will just continue to elude us. We have a tendency to change our "clothes" and not our "life". In other words, we change the circumstances - not the things that squarely placed us in the middle of the present circumstances in the first place. I think this is why people might hop from one relationship to another - all the while seeking some "change" that will give them some sense of "inner tranquility". Imagine their surprise when they realize no "person" can fill that void! The "void" is only capable of being filled by one big enough to fill it - God himself!

We can change the outward without truly changing the inward, being like a crab who outgrows his shell. In changing our outward circumstances, all we did is go from being a crab in a shell we'd outgrown into being a crab with room to grow still within a shell! We are still gonna be crabs! Nothing changed in the process - just the size or appearance of our outward shell. If we no longer want to be crabs - what we can refer to as our original nature - we need something more than a new outer covering. We need the transforming power of the creator God. Try as the little crab might, he cannot become a whale anymore than we can become instantly kind, or instantly free from the bitterness, or free from any other number of issues which shackle us. Liberty comes in change - change comes in grace - grace comes in God. We experience the extravagant love of God when we can begin to feel the breath of God on the very "tissues" of our soul. Until the outward shell we hide inside of is stripped away, we don't feel the breath of God passing over us. Once it is, we begin to feel the invigoration of his breath - because it produces life!

I am not suggesting we are all a bunch of "crabby" people, but I think we can take a lesson from the crab. The outward has to be shed if change is going to occur. Crawling into the next "covering" we find may "fit" for a while, but seldom does it "fit" for the long-haul. The only "change" that really becomes permanent is the change which affects us inwardly. Only God is able to accomplish a true and permanent "change of life". The next time we are tempted to just crawl into a new outward covering, we might want to consider the inevitability of the "new" covering becoming just as useless as the last in just a matter of time. Outward coverings are like our clothes - they serve a purpose to hide something within or underneath. They do a good job for a while - but all clothes wear out in time! Whatever we are trying to 'cover up' within will eventually wear thin. The only thing lasting is the tranquility God produces when he becomes the source of our searching - the focus of our heart. We think we do a good job of hiding what is inside us. There is not much transparency possible when we are hiding under some covering. Transparency only becomes possible when the outward covering is cast off. Just sayin!

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