We’ve been studying this book and learning from the five thresholds a person goes through to faith. Today? Openess to change. (And beware: Two kids sick, no time to edit. This should be fun. No seriously… kind of like when my mom and sister and I get tired and giggly.)
Change is so impossibly hard. Jesus invites us to look a little more like Him and we squirm inside dead skin He’s calling us to shed. Because honestly, do I really want to change?
And you friend, what do you do when you hear the call to change?
When I feel God stretching me past comfort, I take out my journal. I write scriptures and lists and letters to God. I struggle and complain and beg the Holy Spirit to infuse me with even the hankering to change. Left to myself, I don’t even have the desire to desire God’s work. So, this is what I’ve learned: Admit weakness. Then ask and don’t mask it. (And yup, that kind of rhymed…and I’m not even apologizing…two kids sick and all that.)
I’ve learned to lean hard into God.
I admit I have too much Eve in my blood. And then, I give Him the responsibility to do the hard work through the struggle. It’s that whole clay in God’s hand thing: moldability.
What am I really doing? I’m just getting better at laying still on the wheel. No more striving alone.
It took me years to learn that, years of trying to perform for God, trying to people-please the Holy (Hah!). I spent years afraid of what it meant about me that I couldn’t wriggle out of the cocoon of sin or fear or greed myself. Ahhh, but then I was good at taking the credit when I did. And yup, you guessed it: pride, the ugly side of striving.
These verses taught me to lean hard, to give Him the responsibility.
Ezekiel 36: 25-27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
And O God, You are our only help.
And our “persons” on a journey to Jesus? There is an intense battle raging (both in their hearts and in the heavenlies) between their old lifestyle and the new, their old worldview and this unclear, uncertain following of Jesus thing. This may be the hardest threshold yet…because really the familiar feels so, well comfortable.
New makes us anxious. Peaceful surrender demands trust and for our person, trust has not yet been built.
“Out of all five thresholds, becoming genuinely open to change is often the most difficult to overcome. Change is beautiful and horrific after all…
Remember the rich young ruler (Mark 10)? This guy wants to hang out with Jesus and follow him around. He seems to have trusted Jesus (threshold one) and came to Jesus with real questions and curiosity (threshold two). He was ready for anything. “Come on, Jesus. Give me your best shot.” But when Jesus took it deeper to see if he was open to a real change in his life (in his case rethinking his relationship to money by selling all his possessions and giving everything to the poor), this trusting, curious young man walked away sad. Turns out He was not as open as he thought he was.” (From I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to Jesus, pg 69,70)
At this time we need good old-fashioned staying power. Perseverance. And then we need heaps of patience, and wide open empathy (because we struggle toward transformation too).
And they, what do they need? They need the knowledge that we will love and keep loving regardless of outcome. And how do we learn that kind of love?
Straight from the Source: from nails and a cross.
These fabulous photos found here.
Hi friends! This post is part of a series called cross-shaped evangelism. If you have a desire to catch up, please click here.
Wanna hear more? Insert your email into the Connect box to the right and push “subscribe.” We’ll get more thirsty for God together…regular- like. (And yes, I know, I’m in rare form…two kids sick on a Sunday while juggling prayer books and Lenten Series and two precious blond heads on my lap… and all that. Thank God for a truly amazing husband, dad and partner in ministry!)
Thankful with Ann Voskamp where you can find here.
1. thankful for this encouragement: if you are a mama and some type of artist, read, mark, inwardly digest this.
2. my precious girl woke up perky after an entire grueling day of stomach flu. so thankful.
3. Xavier’s fever broke and is in full on cuddly mode…what mom doesn’t adore cuddle time?
4. a lemon, a sprig of rosemary and lavender/chamomile oil drops simmering on my stove for days. A bit of loveliness in a difficult day yesterday.
5. This wonderful man I get to have as a husband and father of my children. So patient and kind in the midst of the sickness.
6. 5 weeks of Ann Voskamp’s video series and how it transformed hearts this Lent.
7. The joy of scripture and Beth Moore’s teaching here that is echoing hope, besides she makes me laugh out loud.
8. The gift of seeing my mama and sister this weekend and watching Stephanie’s fashion show raising awareness for International Justice Mission. If you are in Columbus, OH check it out here. Can. not. wait!
Also linking with the wise Laura @ The Wellspring here and Jen, from Findingheaventoday who encourages the heck out of all around her. Thank you beautiful girls for the gift of being a part of your community!