Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Change is difficult. We often underestimate the transition period that people go through in the midst of evolving expectations and circumstances. In the same way we want grace and mercy extended to us throughout our difficulties, we have to be willing to extend it to others who struggle to accept that life is no longer what it was. Nevertheless, the challenge of accepting change is never a reason to not do it.
Luke 17:32-33 issues us a strong warning about those who seek to stay in the past.
“Remember Lot’s wife*. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” In order to gain, we must be willing to lose. Sometimes the equations are simple. We spend one less hour working so we can spend one more hour volunteering or doing something else we love.
When the equations of life are layered with emotional complexities, we start to question the return on investment. Do we chase the life we believe we should have or work to rid ourselves of the baggage from previous chapters? Often, we can’t do both. We make the mistake of showing up to new chapters with old habits. Life then repeats itself and we get no further than we’ve already been. Maybe we’re okay with that. Usually, we’re not, and that nagging sense of discontentment keeps us looking backwards. We slowly turn into metaphorical pillars of salt, stuck in the same place as our dreams are blown away by the winds of time.
It’s hard to not get emotionally caught up in what has been. When we think about how we build our mental foundations, they are often rooted in the past. It’s about the lessons we’ve learned, the situations we don’t want to face again, and the emotions we need to get past. We have to start thinking about how to get where we want to go. For example, instead of saying, I don’t want to be lonely, we say, I want to become the person that makes for a good spouse. We don’t say I need to graduate, but instead, we start developing the type of characteristics that would lead to being a good student.
It’s Time to Create Positive Habits
What if we stopped obsessing over God’s every no, and started meditating on His every Yes? Then we’d become emotionally caught up in looking forward, because we’d be building the faith and life habits that would move us in that direction. We would understand that there is power in letting go. There is clarity in tying up loose ends. There is peace in facing who we are and accepting what it will take to overcome our shortcomings.
When Paul gave us a list of concepts to meditate on in Philippians 4:8-9, he started with “whatever things are true.” Why? Because, truth level sets us. It demands honesty and transparency. It builds character. It takes courage and strength to face the truth we see in others and the truth we find in ourselves. Don’t assume however, that by facing the truth you can accurately predict how the story will end.
Pressing Forward, Even in Doubt
When we try to control how our journeys will end, we inevitably place limits on the power of God. It is in His wisdom and discernment that we should press forward, knowing that the beginnings don’t indicate the endings. What starts off as positive may end negatively, and what starts off negatively may end positively. Don’t let lacking of knowing stop you from pressing forward. God always wants good for us so He will help guide us in the direction that leads to contentment and joy. If we doubt that, we begin to limit God.
When we limit God, we become okay with “safe” requests. We don’t ask for more because we’re afraid of disappointment or an unwanted change in course. Let’s not insult God’s abilities while destroying our own faith. Hebrews 12:12-13 advises us to:
Strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
It’s never to our advantage to become caught up in the past. It blinds us to God’s ability to create better endings. Life’s challenges and God’s no’s don’t mean we’ve arrived at an ending, they just indicate a change in course. Be thankful for the change in course. God is still present and the best is yet to come.
*The story of Lot’s wife can be found in Genesis 19:15-26.Print This Devotional