Squinting in the fog

We don’t yet see things clearly: We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 1 Corinthians 13:12 MSG

I want to talk to you about meaningful change. I believe at the core of ANY problem there is a spiritual component. I am NOT talking about sin. I am thinking about transformation. Transformation is NOT the same as change. Take for example peanut butter - one of my favorite anti-anxiety meds. If I get anxious, I run into the kitchen, open the pantry pretending I am looking for a nutritious snack, then end up with a spoon in one hand and the peanut butter jar in another. Mesmerizingly effective, a spoonful (or three) of peanut butter does something for me. In this example, peanut butter is my crack. It promises to solve one problem (anxiety) but contributes to my guilt and shame when I cannot fit into my favorite little black dress. Over the years, I promised to stop using peanut butter for the wrong reasons. What I refused to address was my anxiety. Peanut butter is seductive but not created to address my fears. Instead of taking a deep dive into dealing with the real issue, I kept looking for peanut butter substitutes. Something with less fat, fewer calories. A kind of peanut butter that would uphold its siren’s call promise to calm me without any...CONSEQUENCES. That is me trying to CHANGE. That is not transformation. This is me trying to figure out how to change without transforming.

Transformation is a metamorphosis. It’s a caterpillar into a butterfly kind of thing. If we look up its definition, we find words like: change of composition, substance, and character. Change is replacing one habit with another. Transformation is changing our DNA. It changes our personality, thoughts, feelings and actions as a by-product of a change of heart. It requires something that we cannot achieve through our best efforts. Progress can be made with regard to a habit but it takes more than white knuckles and the threat of eviction hanging over our heads or an ill-fitting dress to produce meaningful, lasting change - transformation. Transformation is a gift from God. It seems to require us to have enough clarity to realize that the biggest issue in any problem that is our responsibility to address are the issues related to ourselves.

My friend who acquires abusive husbands eventually comes to believe that the abuse is a problem and it is her spouse’s fault - and it is. Totally. No excuses. Completely wrong. But that is the problem that lies outside herself. And this is when it gets sticky and problematical.

IF MY FRIEND IDENTIFIED THE PROBLEM AS ONE ONLY OUTSIDE HERSELF SHE IS NOT MOTIVATED OR PARTICULARLY AWARE OF THE OTHER PROBLEMS THAT WERE HERS TO OWN AND DEAL WITH. This is a big deal. Please do not hear me blaming the victim. She is a victim of domestic violence. Period. And she is more than that too. She is not responsible for his abusive behaviors; she has the opportunity, however, to make different choices about the men she hangs out with.

To be continued…