Coming out of lockdown, I want some things to change for me personally. Don't you?
We're all experiencing life rebooted at the moment. Much more normal life! As we do, we've got new dynamics to navigate. I know from my own experiences there's lots of rebooting going on - rebooting our plan for Eva's care whilst Beth is at work; rebooting social life; rebooting new daily routines and habits for getting to work and back again; rebooting managing all this complexity. Not to mention the rebooting of Sydney traffic...argh!
We are experiencing some semblance of normality rebooting around us, and we've got the opportunity and the challenge of working out - how do I do this well?
If you are anything like me, you are thinking - there are some things I want to differently, and better, in the months ahead, and growth I really want to activate coming out of this last challenging season of lockdown. So how does God help us all here?
Firstly - the CHALLENGE of Change
I have recently bought a great resource exploring how humans change, biblically speaking, but integrating with insights from human psychology. It is called, Changed into His Likeness: A Biblical Theology of Personal Transformation, by J. G. Miller. It is a fascinating read as I progress, and it is highly relevant to the questions we are asking right now - especially if we are wanting to grow in the season ahead, do things differently and better, and become who God is calling us to become.
This quote from the introduction of the book says it well:
"People are still yearning for change. Everyone wants his or her life to be better. Everyone wants the world to be a better place. Many people even get as far as realizing that we need to change. But the desire for change and seeing it happen are not the same thing. The problem, of course, is that we look for and pursue change and growth in a world in which disorder—chaos and entropy—is always increasing. In the search for change, particularly personal change, we are always swimming against the tide."
[Changed into His Likeness: A Biblical Theology of Personal Transformation, by J. G. Miller]
In short, we want to grow, develop, and become more of who we're meant to be, but it's difficult in this world.
Secondly - A DEFINITION of Change
I find the definition of change that J. G. Millar expresses a very powerful one that captures what we hunger for when we talk about a habit, a lifestyle, or a personal growth "reboot" in any area of our lives:
"personal change (or transformation) involves decisively altered behaviour, consistently modified thinking, choices and decisions and permanently reshaped character."
[Changed into His Likeness: A Biblical Theology of Personal Transformation. (D. A. Carson, Ed.) (Vol. 55, p. 4)]
This a compelling definition of change, if you think about. I don't want to just dabble in wishing to change my behaviour, thinking, choices and decisions. I want to be permanently reshaped by Jesus and into His likeness, more ready than ever for His purposes. This is what the Apostle Paul declares is our lifelong journey and ultimate destiny when he says:
"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." [Romans 8:29]
So what is the practical next steps here for us?
Using the above definition, why don't you identify any areas of behaviour, thinking, choice or decision making you want to see change in.
And then, pray. Where do I focus first Lord? I have learnt many times over (and read in any change literature I have engaged with) that focussing on too many areas of change at once is a recipe for change failure. The Lord knows, and you want Him involved in this. So, what's the focus going to be Jesus?
Next week we'll continue this series, "Life Rebooted", by looking at a very helpful "Do I Really Want to Change Checklist."
Let's change together for God's glory and the sake of our city!
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh.