I just had to share this with you all. Catherine Marshall's Light in My Darkest Night was a huge spiritual turning point for me a few years ago. Her honesty was so refreshing and encouraging.
And one of my resolutions this year is to stop trying so hard to fix everything wrong in my life. By myself. To stop trying to be "good" and to let Christ truly transform my heart. Tricia has apparently been spending some time in my head.
Be the Change by Tricia Goyer
Lately, I've been thinking there's a lot of things I'd like to change. 1) I've actively started exercising and using a food journal to lose weight and get in shape. 2) I've been trying to curb my spending. 3) And I've been be trying to be more thankful. All of those things aren't easy!
#1 and #2 are things that I now realize need to stem from the inside out. I've tried for a long time to "make myself be good." Now I'm praying for a heart change. I'm praying that God will fill me up so much of Him that I naturally strive to do the right things in His strength and with His wisdom.
#3 started because I've been reading Something More by Catherine Marshall. It's an older book, but a good one. In it Catherine talks about "thanking God in all things." She goes on to encourage readers to thank Him even for the challenging/painful stuff. I've started doing that more, and it's amazing what a different outlook I've had. Usually, I'm a joyful person because I try to ignore the hard stuff and instead just focus on the good. But lately I've been thanking God for everything easy and hard, and somehow He's been showing me the good IN it.
For example, the other day I was upset because our exchange student didn't tell me about a schedule change at school so I had to reschedule my day to pick up her. I was grumpy as I drove to her school ... then I remembered what I'd recently read, and I started thanking God for this opportunity. By the time I got to school my attitude was much better, and in the end we had a GREAT conversation on the drive home. In fact, the conversation connected us in new ways. A God thing!
I know these are simple lessons. They are things God has tried to show me in the past. In fact, one of the lessons He's taught (and retaught me) is that I don't always need to look for change from external means ... sometimes I'm called to BE the change.
This lesson first fit home after our family moved to Montana and were looking for a church home. There was one that God was connecting us to AT EVERY TURN, but personally I didn't like it much. In fact, even when John and I felt God calling us there, I REALLY didn't want to go to that church. Even though the people were nice, the music wasn't that great and there was no children's program for the kids. Yet, instead of complaining about it, John and I felt God telling us to do something about it!
Once we became members, WE started doing children's church and new families started pouring in. Over the years the church grew and changed. It has become the type of place I longed for. We've been going there for thirteen years now, and it's home. Yet at the time, I didn't realize that I was part of the change!
Today, you might be thinking about changes in your life. Don't stop. Don't become complacent! Remember that God wants to fill you and help you. He wants you to offer Him thanksgiving in the easy stuff and the hard stuff, too. And mostly, if there is change that needs to take place remember that often YOU are called to be the change. What you want most is out there in the future ... have faith in that! Have faith in Him!
Where will you BE The Change this year?