Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Street

What makes you really happy? I mean the kind of joy that makes you feel like you could do anything, say anything, maybe even talk to that guy in your class that’s so cute. I’m talking about that feeling inside of you that bubbles over and spreads a smile across your face you can’t control. Do you ever have days like that?

Some days I do, but mostly it comes in small moments. I was wondering the other day if I had those moments when I was a teenager. It was a long time ago in a galaxy far away, but I do still have fuzzy memories of middle school and high school. I don’t remember being an especially cheerful person. I think most of the time I was so convinced that I was ugly, dumb, worthless, and on my best days just invisible, that I struggled to find those moments when I was truly happy.

Then again, what made me happy back then would seem silly to the grown up me.  A smile from a crush, a friendly conversation with someone popular, a compliment from a teacher I looked up to. I think about the things that made me feel like I was worth something, and  honestly I still struggle with the same issues now…just maybe a grown up version. The crush I so desperately wanted to notice me (who actually did, but didn’t have the guts to say so back then—whole other lesson there) is now replaced by my husband, who I still want desperately to notice me and love me. The popular kids are now just people in my circle that I view as better than me for some reason—prettier, more confident, successful. And the teacher I looked up to is just replaced by my boss or my colleagues.

I often like to think I’ve outgrown my teenage insecurities, but the harsh truth is that you never just “outgrow” sin. And face it, desperately seeking our worth in anything other than our standing in Christ is sin. To face it, you have to make a conscious choice to change. And therein lies the real challenge. Can anyone really change? I mean the kind of deep change that alters how you see yourself, how you see others. What does that even look like?

Let me see if I can paint you a picture in five steps. This story was told by James MacDonald in a Bible study series called I Really Want to Change, So Help Me God, and it illustrates a great picture of the process of real change.

1) I walked down a street and fell in a hole. It took me a long time to get out. It wasn’t my fault.
2) I walked down the same street and fell in the same hole. It took me a long time to get out. Why did I do that?
3) I walked down the same street and fell in the same hole. I got out quickly. That was totally my fault.
4) I walked down the same street and saw the same hole. I walked around it.
5) I walked down a different street.

It can take a long time to move through steps 1 through 5, especially when we’re young and immature. I know I fell in so many “holes” when I was young, especially when it came to the things I valued in myself and others. The desire to be loved is so powerful it can pull you into a hole so fast you may not even recognize you’ve fallen.

So here’s my challenge to myself, and to you, if you’re willing. I’ve asked God to show me my holes, and help me see the different street. He is so faithful, and He’s already shown me both, and now my moment to moment task is making the CHOICE to take the different street. What “holes” do you have in your life that you keep falling into? Do you really want to change? Can you honestly pray for God to reveal to you a different street, and do you have the courage to take it, not just once, but moment by moment from this point forward?

**This is still such a new experience for me, this whole blogging thing. I’d love to hear back from any of you that can share your own thoughts.**