Sometimes my journey gets weary. I feel as if I struggle with the same ole sh - crap over and over again. When will I change!!!!!
Then I remind myself that as hard as I try I cannot change myself. I can be disciplined for a period of time, and it looks like I might just be able to do it, but it never lasts!!
There has to be an inner change before there is lasting outward change!!
Here is another expert from "The Seeking Heart, A Journey with Henri Nouwen" by Charles R. Ringma. I would encourage you to pick up a copy. It's not a long book, and the chapters are short.
Compulsions-Transforming our inner motivations
The journey of transformation into the image and likeness of Christ is never a call for change that has to do only with spiritual activities such as prayer and meditation. The transformation that Scripture has in view is a full-orbed one. It is a transformation that has all of a person in view: the personal and the social, the inward and the outward, the spiritual and the political.
Some do not see this integral perspective. They hold that the following of Christ has primarily to do with the afterlife. Others see their relationship with Christ primarily in terms of developing inner virtues. Others again see Christian discipleship within the frame of the work for peace and justice.
But growth in Christ and walking in the way of Christ involves all of this and more. No human activity is excluded from God's concern. No part of our lives is out of bounds for the renewing and transformation work of the Spirit, including our genetic and social shaping and configuration.
While one may speak about a certain predisposition in terms of who we are physically, emotionally, intellectually, there is no suggestion that the human being is simply a predetermined and programmed. Change and growth are possible. And the gracious renewing work of God in our lives can bring about a shift in our motivations and orientation.
This is not to suggest that this happens overnight or comes prepackaged with our conversion. It is a process. God's healing grace is for all the areas in our lives where we have become wounded and things have become skewed and even twisted.
Henri Nouwen confesses: "I know too well how hard it is to live without being needed, being wanted, being asked, being known, being admired, being praised." And I can add: I know how easy it is for me to be functional rather than relational, overdoing things rather than balancing activity with Sabbath, activity-centered rather than prayerful, self-protective rather than vulnerable.
So there are things in us that need to change. Conversion and coming to faith are not the end but merely the beginnings of this transformational process. And these called-for changes in our way of thinking and doing won't come easily as scattered seed from the sower's hand.
The changes that will reorient our inner compulsions that spring so often from our wounded self, come by way of purgation and painful transformations. Inner change involves self-confrontation, disarmament, relinquishment, and the journey toward wholeness. On this road there are no shortcuts and certainly no quick fixes.
God's renewing work is not to do violence to us but to heal us and make us whole. This is the strong but gentle work of God. This is purging the darkness and healing the wounded places.
None of us can escape this sculpting of God's Spirit within our lives. We may long be oblivious to our own needs. We may long resist the gracious healing hand of God. But finally we do need to yield ourselves into the hands of the One who made all things and seeks to make us whole.
So I trust. Trust that though I do not always see the changes taking place, I know God is continually working in my heart.
Blessings and may what Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours my friends.