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Even when water moves calmly and quietly, it changes the world. That’s something I definitely need to remember because I have a tendency to come on strong.  But when we are too loud and aggressive, even when we are doing God’s work, people feel backed into a corner.  Our aggression is reflected back at us.  hackles raise.  All of this reduces the amount of progress that might be made because so much energy is spent on negative reactions and attempts to calm them.  

Instead, we need to flow forward.  Circling. Lifting.  Buoying up.  And gently wearing away the harsh edges of this world.

–SueBE

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This one’s gonna be different. Don’t we tell ourselves that every year? Don’t we start out with enthusiasm, with actual, resolute resolutions that by gum we are going to follow through on? Aren’t we certain that we can cast off the shadow of the previous 365 days simply because the date on the calendar now has a new number attached to it?

Well, don’t we?

I submit that the new year is a fraud, a sham, a flim-flam, a bamboozlement. A year can’t change things. Only we can. And it’s harder to do than a simple resolution might convey. To change one’s self fundamentally requires radical thinking and aggressive discarding of old thoughts, habits, and relationships. Most of us won’t ever do it. We’re too comfortable as we are. Only the most terrible and unexpected events — natural disaster, death, fatal illness — are enough to shock us out of complacency. And then, perhaps, only temporarily.

So…what to do with 2018 and its bright, shiny promises of change and renewal? Start small. Change one way of thinking. Give yourself a mantra — “first impressions are always wrong” for instance — to nip a habit of snap judgment in the bud. Or start each morning by doing one new thing: making your bed, trying a new stretch or simply saying, “I will be open to new possibilities today.” Repeated actions have a tendency to work their ways into our lives in ways we cannot foresee.

Or take up reading a new blog regularly. Work your way one chapter at a time through the bible. Smile at people you don’t know and won’t see again. Anything that might trigger a new, green sprout of thinking, a tiny revelation, an awkward step in a new direction.

And if it all falls apart, don’t berate yourself. January first isn’t the only day for changes. You can do that on February third, April 17th, or November 30th. You can do it anytime. Let yourself be open to nudges and signs and questions. Sometimes that’s the most essential part of change.

If we each turn ourselves one degree, together we can make a revolution — literally and figuratively.

People are creatures of habit.  We do the same things again and again. Some of these things work.  Others?  Not so much but they are familiar so we stick with them.

Personally, this is a time of year that I tend to examine my life.  Where should I make a change?  Where should I deviate from what has become my norm?

I’m not sure where or when those changes will occur, but God always seems to have something in the works.

–SueBE

 

Our pastor has been doing a really interesting sermon series on the living waters of God.  Living waters is a term I learned only last year.  Living water is river water, creek water, ocean water, lake water.  It is water as found in the natural world.  It changes its landscape.  It sustains life.  It shapes the world.

Our church has recently made the decision to end several long time activities.  We simply don’t have the young muscle power needed to put on a rummage sale that fills the fellowship hall.  We used to.  And we did for over 20 years.  But the neighborhood just doesn’t come out like they used to for these events.

Through this sermon series Pastor Sean is encouraging us to find what it is Christ would have us do instead. We are being called to be his people in a troubled world.  And we have to figure out where that is.  And the funny thing about being Christ’s people is that he will tell us.  We simply have to listen.  If we do, we will find ourselves creating a new opportunity to come together, to serve him, and to help others.

Change.  We can create it because we are children of the Creator God.  We simply need to listen and follow Him.

–SueBE

God knew.  He knew we prefer the familiar to the unfamiliar even if the familiar is broken. It is just easier.

That is why he encouraged us to follow.  He will lead.  It is simply up to us to listen and to have the courage to choose growth.  To choose Him.

–SueBE

It doesn’t matter how great you think your country is, there is probably something you would love to change.  Think about what that is.  Now think what action you can take to bring that about.

I’m a writer so, among other things, literacy and books are very important to me.  And clearly I’m not the only person who wants to encourage people to read.  I say clearly because I just read a series of posts on Facebook about Little Free Libraries in my area.  I’d spotted one of them but not the others.  I will now be on the lookout.

I also saw a Tweet about a woman who is giving books to Trick-or-Treaters.  That sounds like fun but we tend to get something like 100 kids.  This thought would make my husband super happy and he’d probably even volunteer to haul the books to the front door.  And really, as I look around my office, I realize that I’ve got 600+ books in here with me.  Another 100 or so in my bedroom.  Maybe, just maybe…

–SueBE

 

 

Change will come. How will you greet it? 

Sometimes we handle change really well.  Or at least moderately well.

For me, I must admit, this is when I feel like I’m in control.  Painting the back door?  I love that new color although I admit that it is so bright it should probably come with a volume knob.  If someone else had picked it?  I probably wouldn’t have laughed it off and just waited to adjust to it.

When I have no control is when I want it the most.  These are the changes that get my hackles up.

Last night, we had our first rehearsal with the new choir director.  She actually worked with us before, left for a full-time job elsewhere, but has now returned to us several years later.  Unfortunately, she is coming in under not so fabulous circumstances.  Our previous choir director has some health problems and simply never returned.  No one could expect her to return but still this is change beyond our control.  How would we deal with it?

Maybe just maybe it is because we had to work without a director for almost a month.  Who knows.  Maybe we all succeeded in handing the situation over to God.  But we were all thrilled to have her.  The joy was obvious.  We welcomed this change, this new opportunity, with open arms.

Here’s hoping that we can apply this new ability to the next situation!

–SueBE

Taking that first step can seem awfully scary.  Sometimes it means going against a long-held belief.  Praying in public freaks me out.  Truly panics me.  In part, I had a minister tell by how very bad I am at it.  She’s right but that sure didn’t help.  In fact, I panic so badly that I can’t even get the Lord’s Prayer right.  Did you know that was once considered a sign of witch craft?  I’d be in big trouble.

I’m teaching a section of Adult Sunday School again.  I’ve resigned myself to reading a prayer at the end of each lesson.  Now I need to convince my co-teacher to let me do it.

Take the first step can be even worse if you are making a change in a long-term situation such as leaving a job or a marriage.  Leaving after five/ten/fifteen years feels like failure.  Does it mean all those years were wasted?  A friend has moved out.  Recently she asked me why I’m not praising her for dumping the goon or warning her about ruining her marriage.  It seems that most everyone else has taken sides.

“Would it help?”

“I’m really scared and it just makes me mad.  This is a forty-year marriage I might have just totalled.  It isn’t a good thing!”

We discussed how the change was needed for her mental health and his.  We talked about how if the marriage ends, it is sad because they’ve been together for a long time.  But it could also be good if it shakes them out of patterns that no longer worked for either one of them.

And we prayed. Yeah, she’s the one who led it but that’s okay.  She’s got a plan for me.  I’m more than a little scared to find out what it is.

–SueBE

 

How are you at recognizing the difference between being patient and being stuck in a rut?

A friend and I were just discussing this today.  Deadlines are good things because they tend to get us off our fannies.  They get us moving when we’d rather just sit tight and fuss about how things are.

I wish my house was neater, my behind was smaller, and my refrigerator clean and tidy.  I wish our school district had better scores, put the money into actual education that they put into testing, and listened to the actual classroom teachers.

But fussing about it all is like beating on the wall.  So is trying the same thing, that doesn’t work, again and again.  Apparently it is time to pray about it.  While I’m at it, I’ll also pray to recognize the doors when I see them.

I can be a wee bit dense at times.

–SueBE

 

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