I have spent most of my life trying to change myself. Maybe it was the voice of condemnation that I grew up with or maybe the small, well-intentioned, Baptist church, I grew up in. Could it be how I looked to others to define me, or hung my identity on their thoughts of me? All in all, I had been convinced that I was not enough. I was not enough for those closest to me, and I was not enough to receive God’s love and blessing. I know, it sounds a little crazy. Sometimes even now I wake up thinking about, strategizing about how to win, to embrace the peace and love my heart so desperately needs. I did it all. I memorized scripture, attended prayer meetings, I even lead worship. Coupled with dedicating my actual life and vocation to His Kingdom.
Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church in Chicago asked a simple question about formulating your personal theology or belief systems. He asked, “Does it work?” Does what you believe work? Does it do what it is supposed to? Does it achieve the goal it promises?
Back to the thousands of hours I have spent trying to change myself, in the belief that the person and personality that I have been given is incomplete. In fact I think part of why I had a heart attack 2 years ago was because of me climbing this hill, trying to make myself into something I wasn’t for the sake of being looked upon as a success. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in hard work. I do believe it changes us but I also believe that there are some places in our hearts that can only be changed by being in the presence of Jesus. That there are spaces in our inner being that can only be accessed by the Holy Spirit. For me the reality of the tragedy of my heart attack takes me there. Helpless, Surrendered, Undone, into that still place where we just be in His presence. It is a place of waiting, a place of stillness, a place to give your heart permission to feel. So many things tell us not to feel, not to emot what we really feel. “Don’t be angry, Don’t Cry, Don’t feel Sorrow” Hide those parts of you, people don’t want to see them, it would make them feel awkward, it will lead them to reject you, leaving you alone and unloved”.
This place can be so scary but as we learn to trust, and really let our hearts let go and trust that movement of the Spirit, I believe that over time, those are the places we see the most change. That the battle is really the Lord’s as we surrender more and more of who we are into His hands.