Salvation ... comes from the Lord ... because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Successful Change

Positive change requires open-mindedness. Many people are not as open-minded as they think they are. Why?  Because open-mindedness requires change, and change is often uncomfortable and sometimes it hurts. Sometimes change involves extreme effort and pain.  Nature reveals many illustrations of morphing from one state of being to another. Look at the butterfly. It came from a caterpillar. A symbol of beauty came from a pest. Attractiveness came from unattractiveness. A successful, desired result came from a seemingly unsuccessful, undesired circumstance. But what happened to bring about this result?

It's called death--death of what we know, to live for what we do not know. It can also be described as closing out one way of thinking and being, to prepare for a new way. The caterpillar must live for the purpose of dying in order to fulfill the destiny of becoming a butterfly. That's where the effort comes in. It exists for the purpose of one day spinning a cocoon which becomes the vehicle for transformation.  Emerging from the cocoon is where the pain comes in. The butterfly enters the world with great and necessary travail. No short cuts can be taken anywhere in the process. There are no wings to fly without strength built up by forcefully shedding the cocoon. There is no butterfly without a cocoon. There is no cocoon without a caterpillar. There is no caterpillar without the butterfly's egg. 

What is different about human nature? Humans possess choice. That's where open-mindedness comes in. We have a choice to "die to self" and surrender to the cocooning process to be morphed into a new nature. Change is inevitable, but we have a choice as to whether change will move us in a positive or negative direction. Much of what happens in our world is out of our control, but it's amazing how different our world can be when we recognize, engage, and empower the  motivation to change the things within our control. Most people fail to change their undesirable circumstances, not because of inability to perform, but because of their inability to submit their performance to a process of change which points them in a positive direction. As a believer in God as the sovereign Creator, He is the One who has the power to effect ultimate change, and breathe life into the existence of mankind.   

Many people confuse wishes with desires. It's one thing to wish for improvement of circumstances, but it's another thing to desire the necessary change in yourself for improvement to happen. It was Gandhi who said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." The world is not made a better place by the caterpillar wishing to be a butterfly. The world welcomes the presence of a butterfly because a caterpillar submitted its desire to the process of weaving a cocoon. As we desire to become the caterpillars we were meant to be in the world, we will become the butterflies we were meant to be. 

Comparatively, simply wishing for an emotionally pain-free existence will not overcome the disappointment, worry, or confusion in life.  It may make you feel better temporarily to complain about things, blame people, or justify yourself when something bad happens, but complaining, blaming, or justifying will not produce successful change. Lasting positive change will only occur when you take responsibility for things within your power to change, and surrender responsibility for those things not meant for you to change.  

In my book I relate this theme specifically to the topic of forgiveness and reconciliation. Many people think they have forgiven when in reality all they've done is wish for their situation to improve. Based on my research and experience observing actual practices,     in most cases, a deeper desire for inner change is still necessary for genuine freedom through forgiveness. If you are open to changing your thinking about the topic, I invite you to read and study the book. I do not claim to have the final word on the topic, but I promise you will gain at least a few nuggets that will help you succeed with positive change in your life.

       Note:  The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: . If you get anywhere near PA for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at 

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry