Saturday, July 23, 2016

Can God Really Change Me?

Do you wish that you could make some changes in your life? Would you like to see some transformation? Less anger, less anxiety, more discipline, more joy?

Last week I posted song lyrics suggesting that you can try to clean yourself up on the outside, but it's really an "Inside Job". God has to do the work, starting with your heart.

But can He really change us?

If so, how?
"All you need is confidence 
He can make adjustments"

How do you go about letting God make adjustments?

I can't explain how it happens, but I do know from past experience that the best way to let God change you from the inside out is to sit still for long periods of time, in silence.

I don't understand how it works. It seems counterproductive but it comes from the law of sowing and reaping. Somehow, when we sow seeds of listening through quietness and waiting, we reap a crop of hearing which leads to change.

You would think that the best way to change your behavior is to set goals, rid yourself of bad habits, replace them with good habits and put your whole being into changing! Now don't get me wrong, I do believe in setting goals, replacing bad habits with good ones, etc., but long-lasting, true life change is still an "inside job". It must start in your soul and God has to do the work.

So how do you go about practicing silence and being still in God's presence?

If you'd like to incorporate this practice into your life, here are some tips that I find useful.

1.) Set a timer.

I know this seems odd, but it works for me. Choose one that makes noise. If you use an hour glass, you'll become distracted by looking to see if time is up. 

If I don't set a timer, my mind begins to wander and I start thinking about how long it's been since I started, when I'll be done and next thing you know I'm wishing that I had copied down a recipe from the Facebook post someone shared yesterday...and on it goes. If I set a timer, my brain seems to know that it must behave for the next 15 minutes. (I think 15 minutes is a good place to start.) It sets my heart free to concentrate on being quiet. After doing this for a season, I find I don't need the timer.

2.) Be quiet!

Truly, just sit and be still. No talking, writing, selfies, tweeting or posting of any kind!

3.) No pets.

Can you tell I'm an animal lover? My cat becomes extremely affectionate when I'm trying to practice a spiritual discipline of some kind. I know they are adorable, but even pets can be a distraction. Choose somewhere that's free of people and pets.

4.) Do it frequently.

I have found that it's like gardening. It can take a long time before you see results, so it's not enough to just try it one day and then give up. Consistency and frequency are key!

"When you're waiting, you're not doing nothing. 
You're doing the most important something there is. 
You're allowing your soul to grow up. 
If you can't be still and wait, 
you can't become what God created you to be." 

From "When The Heart Waits"
Sue Monk Kidd

So if you're feeling the need for change in your life, I encourage you to embrace the discipline of being quiet. Yes, God CAN really change you. Though you may not hear anything during this time of silence, there is a work that is being done. Taking time to be quiet is a way of nodding in assent to God and the power with which He transforms us.