When you need to stop trying so hard to change
As a counselor, I often think about change. I mean part of my job description is to help people change.
But despite that fact, I’ve learned a valuable lesson over the last few years. And it’s one that I think is vital to the growth process.
Sometimes we need to stop trying so hard to change. Sometimes we need to, instead, allow ourselves to be loved.
A lot of people have received a lot of negative messages about themselves over their life. And sometimes trying too hard to change can bring up a lot of feelings of inadequacy and shame.
The truth is, God doesn’t need you to change. You are as lovable to him when you’re a hot mess as you would be if you “had it all together.”
Think of it this way - if my daughter ate sugar for every single meal would that change my love for her? No! But would it be in her best interest? Yeah, no!
The same is true for God. Our identity is already true of us whether we believe it or not. And truth says we are chosen, loved, and righteous because God says so.
His desire for us to change isn’t based upon making us more lovable. It’s based on the fact that he adores us so much that he wants what’s in our best interest just as it would be in my daughter’s best interest for me to change her diet to something healthy.
Here’s how this might play out
Maybe you’re working hard on trying to forgive someone.
When we focus all of our attention on something specific, it gets bigger, and God gets smaller. Our eyes aren’t on the right thing.
When we stop praying to forgive that person and start focusing on God’s character and who He says that we are, it gives us a new perspective. I truly believe the more loved we know we are, the more we’re able to love other people.
When we can know deep down that we are a loved and chosen child of God, then we can genuinely know and believe that those who’ve hurt us are, too.
You didn’t need to hyper-focus on forgiveness to believe that truth. But once that truth washes over your heart, the call to forgive will be much smoother, because we’ve now become an active participant in the work God was doing all along.
I heard it said once before that when you’re praying and your circumstances aren’t changing, you need to stop praying. You need to start praising and giving thanks instead. Because true growth happens when our life hasn't changed, but we have.
I’m telling you, it’s a game changer when we can give heartfelt thanks to God in hard circumstances. It keeps our eyes on where they’ve needed to be all along.
It’s a gentle reminder of who God is, and that no matter how difficult something is, it’s all going to work out for our good.