While I wait to compose some more biography’s of the team for the next Beauty Treatment Retreat, we are treated today with a guest post from Thasia Awad. I always love to her what Tay has to say, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy today’s read.
“When I take a moment to look around me, I see that every living organism-whether it’s plants, animals or bacteria- is constantly being faced with the inevitable phenomena of changing. I’m not talking about the kind of change that we have anything to do with either. If I had it my way, there would be a few things I’d like to adjust or modify in my personal life and if other’s had their way in my life, I’m sure they’d like to change a few things about me as well.
The kind of change I’m talking about is the kind of change that produces spiritual and emotional growth- an internal, divine evolution which can only come about by yielding to the work of Christ-not the work of man. I’ll call this kind of change, growing change. I have to make the distinction because not all change will result in us growing and maturing. For example, we can change physically, we can even change when it comes to positions, titles or situations without ever changing our heart, which is the very thing that needs changing in order to propel any kind of growth.
Hindrances to Growing Change
I’ve found that there are many factors that can get in the way of this kind of change. Trying to fulfill society’s expectations of us, the desire to live up to proud traditions, unresolved trauma and issues, are all examples of things that can get in the way of this kind of change.
King Saul is a perfect example of a man who may have outwardly changed in all kinds of ways but never allowed himself to change to the point of transformation. Although this was a man who was anointed by God to be king along with a promising future of his kingdom being established over Israel forever (1 Samuel 13:13-14), he continuously chose the comfort of being accepted and praised by his community rather than developing an ear to hear the voice of God then follow. Whenever the people of Israel showed dissatisfaction in his decision making as King, Saul always did whatever he could to appease them. He craved the comfort of being accepted by the people over being changed by God (1 Samuel 13:8; 15:3).
One of the biggest hindrances to growing change is the struggle of wanting approval or acceptance from others and I’m confident enough to say that the struggle of being accepted is more prevalent in our societies than what we consider. I say this because if you’re not accepted then you’re rejected and most people don’t have the tools to cope with rejection very well. However, those who may have tools, more than likely will still live a lifestyle that avoids such emotional distress.
When it comes to wanting acceptance, the Holy Spirit knew that I had been struggling with this particular issue during these past few seasons of my life and that it had been a major hindering force for my spiritual growth. So, He lead me to a sermon that was preached by a well-known pastor as I was cleaning the house. His sermon was geared towards helping people to recognize why they’re not growing. As I was listening and cleaning, he said something that addressed exactly what was hindering my growth which was, ‘people would rather be accepted than to be changed’.
I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t feel good when you’re forced to confront yourself. However, I truly believe that God loves us so much that he refuses to allow us to live our lives, always changing but never growing.
Growing as You Change
I believe our problem with growing change is that this kind of process challenges us to face (and in some cases forsake) the very conditions that actually accepts us. Although we may find it difficult to keep up with their expectations and demands, these very systems give us the comfort, support and validation we need to feel worthy.
While God has been taking me through this extremely vulnerable process, I’m realizing that my desire for acceptance from others is actually making them my god. When we are changed and moved by anything or anyone other than God, we are not growing- for God alone is the only one who can cause growth through our changes and He alone is the One who can increase us (1 Cor. 3:7)! This is why Paul says,
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).”
The Greek word for conform means to assume, accept or adopt a certain form or figure. Now, if we have a habit of basing our decisions and living our lives solely on the perceptions and feelings of others, then we are assuming and accepting a role that didn’t come from God- it’s like putting on then claiming shoes that don’t belong to us and this is why Paul tells us not to conform to it. Next, Paul said that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may prove what the will of God is. However, we can’t prove God’s will for our lives if we are strung out on living other people’s. If we are conforming to standards, traditions or roles that God didn’t approve of, although it may be accepted by others, if it’s not God’s form fitted for us, then we are not being transformed and whatever motivation we are trying to carry out will not be accepted and perfect unto Him- as a result, not growing.
Most of my writings are inspired by my own personal journey with a desire to provide insight for others who may be going through a similar process. What I’m learning on my journey with King Jesus is that everything starts and ends with the heart and if we truly want to grow while being changed, we must confront the place where everything starts and ends. While doing this, what I’m discovering is that every season that brings about these changes is actually challenging me to grow and eternally abide in Christ- this is the destination to the highest level of change.”
Written by Thasia Awad
Author of Lord Make Me Good Ground