Often we try to strong-arm our way through life. We wish ourselves strong enough to resist this or that. We will ourselves to be more disciplined. We wake up determined to make better choices but end the day feeling defeated. Each day is a war… with ourselves and with life.
It doesn’t have to be this way. But giving up the need to be in control is the hardest thing we do. It isn’t until we realize that we simply aren’t strong enough to make that hard choice, or resist that temptation that we reach a point of transformation. We understand that we need God.
Like losing 100 pounds, change doesn’t happen over night. You have to work at it… daily. It’s exhausting… I’d rather be on a treadmill.
I read stories of transformation everyday, in a context that isn’t my own. Somewhere in Asia, a farmer turns from ancestor worship and begins to pray to God for his harvest to prosper. Through a series of mysterious events, it does. A mother puts aside everything she knows to be true about feeding her newborn baby and decides to join the mothers who are breast-feeding, ultimately saving her child’s life. These people walked away from control, from what they knew to be true, and in faith followed God.
Through my work at Food for the Hungry (FH), I’ve sat on the dirt floor of the homes of these people. I’ve watched their faces light up with joy as they told their stories. God has transformed them.
Still, I see the result of relying on God with my own eyes, and continue trying to strong-arm my way through life. But with grace, I remind myself of the story of the butterfly. Long, short body with many legs, the caterpillar crawls through the dirt. Eventually it encases itself in its own jail, emerging a beautiful and free creature. The story of the butterfly is symbolic of our own transformation process. Remind yourself of that when you’re still a caterpillar.
What about you? What are you holding on to? Trying to make things happen through your own strength?