Over the past few years, I’ve experienced a lot of change. From graduating college to moving to China to moving home to Iowa to returning for another stint in China to now being back home and trying to “figure out my life,” I’ve had a lot of change. Parts of it have been hard, while other parts refreshing.
I tend to like change.
I’ve never been one to dread moving on because the new always seems so fun and exciting.
I like to explore. I love to try all kinds of different things, so the whole change thing can be beautiful. However, with change comes uncertainty. It brings a whole new brand of anxiety with each challenge. Yet, there’s also the amazing feeling of tackling the roadblocks and being successful in whatever issues may arise in the new season.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on how all of the changes in where I am physically coincide with how I have been changed spiritually. Some days, I stop and realize that yes, this is my life. I am blown away every time. The grace that God’s shown me and the way he’s weaved the threads of my life in the most perfect ways to bring me closer to Him is incredible.
When I began to walk with the Lord almost 5 years ago, I had no idea of the crazy ride I’d be taking. It’s been awesome and difficult all at the same time. I’m grateful. I’ve truly been changed and continue to be each and every day. The coolest part of that change is that I cannot take credit. Sure, I have made choices, but the real work started in the heart. The work of Christ in my life changed me and made me new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
A lot of us who grew up in the Church or found faith at some point in our lives have read this verse. We’ve heard it preached on and have been taught that when we come to Christ we are made new. But, what does this mean in a practical sense?
I’ve seen people who made the decision to follow the Lord do what appeared to be a 180 and turn their lives around. I’ve also seen people who became Christians continue to live the same way they always did, only with the badge of honor of being a “Christian” placed firmly on their chests. While we don’t know the hearts of others, it is safe to believe what Jesus says about the fruit that will be produced when one truly follows after Him.
Why is it that some people change more than others when they come to faith in Jesus?
Each person is different and God is working in their individual lives, but I firmly believe there’s also a mindset we, as believers, must have in order to enable change. We must believe that we will be changed. We must hold firmly to God’s promises.
We must allow God to change us.
We must also believe that God will change others.
I think we sometimes forget that becoming a “new creation” isn’t just a one time deal. It isn’t a magic trick that happens the moment you are born again. You won’t automatically be 100 percent different. It’s a continual renewing of your heart as you seek the Lord and allow Him to be God of your life.
God is continually working for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). He is working to change you. He is working to change me.
But are we letting ourselves be changed to become more like Jesus?
I want to live a life that is changed.
Are you with me?
For a fun visual representation of how I’ve changed over the years, here are some photos from high school through today.