Updated: May 16, 2020
I like quick fixes. When I see a problem, I want to figure out a solution and move past it as quickly as possible. I don’t want the mess to linger too long. That can be a good thing at times, but not everything can be solved by slapping on a bandaid and moving on.
That’s something my daughter, Ava, is teaching me. You see, Ava is a crier (like her mama). The sensitivity, the tears, the complex emotions – she gets all of that from me. So you would think that I would have a lot of compassion for her when the tears start to flow….and continue to flow. But in reality, I just want to make the tears stop as soon as possible.
I am all for sitting with my daughter, listening to her pour out her heart, and offering comfort and advice. But then I want her to move on. I want her to calm down, let go of whatever was bothering her, and turn her focus to something more positive. Although we’ve talked a lot about what she can do to help her in this process (taking deep breaths, thinking about things to be grateful for, asking God to help her, finding a new activity), none of that seems to help. She just needs to sit in her emotions until she is all cried out. I cannot hurry her process along, as much as I may want to.
One of the most frustrating parts of parenting for me has been feeling stuck in the same cycles with my kids – when they have the same pointless argument again, when they throw a tantrum again, when they won’t stay in their rooms at bedtime again. In those times, I want to control. I want to fix. I want to find the miracle solution. But even as I try to talk things through with them or try new tricks and tips that I’ve heard about, we keep coming back to same issue over and over again.
Sometimes the actions we take don’t seem to make much difference in the day to day, and that can feel really discouraging. But as we continue to push through and try to remain consistent, we eventually see a shift. The phrases that we’ve said over and over again start to take root. The lessons we try to teach start to produce some fruit.
Change takes time.
Just as I cannot make change happen for my kids in my timing, I also cannot hurry along my own process.
Recently, I’ve been working through a lot of insecurities. I’ve dealt with insecurity all my life, and I wish I could have left all that back in high school (along with my acne). And yet, the lies that I believe about myself continue to rear their ugly heads. They might look different now than they did back then, and the truth is I’ve made a lot of progress through the years, but the lies won’t fully release their grip on me. It takes consistent work, prayer, and reminders for me to step more into the freedom of believing in my own worth and ability and trusting that my identity is found in God’s love.
As I was wrestling through some of this recently, I was really frustrated. I can see the problem and recognize the truth, so why do I continue to struggle? What will it take for me to finally overcome the lies? When will I be able to let this go and move on?
Change takes time.
Real transformation doesn’t normally come in the quick fix that I desire. It happens through the small steps that I take each day. It happens through the constant reminders of truth. It happens through the consistent choice to walk in that truth. It happens through the Holy Spirit slowly stripping away my false views that have been built up over years and years.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9
I must keep pressing forward, trusting that God is working in me, making me new, shaping me into the person he created me to be. I might not always see the progress in the day to day. But as I take one step at a time and keep choosing what is right and true, rather than what is easy and comfortable, the change will come.
It’s important to recognize and celebrate the small victories along the way. There have been times recently when I chose to be brave and speak up, not worrying about what others might think. I have chosen to walk in confidence rather than be consumed by anxiety. I am still learning and growing. I still revert back to the insecurity at times. But I recognize that there is progress. I celebrate the growth and trust that I will experience more and more freedom in the years to come.
Change takes time.
As I move forward, I need to recognize that while there are steps that I can take and choices that I can make, there is also a part of the process that I have no control over. I have to let the Spirit move in and through me to heal me and lead me toward freedom.
I’m finding comfort in God’s words to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9,
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
I believe that every person has some type of weakness that they struggle with throughout the course of their lives. Paul talked about that as a “thorn in [his] flesh.” He begged God to take it away, but instead, he learned the beauty of experiencing God’s power in his weakness. If I only ever depend on my own strength and ability, I will miss out on experiencing the incredible power of Christ. I will miss out on an intimacy with God that can only be experienced through dependence on him. There is freedom in embracing my weaknesses rather than striving in my own power to be the version of me that I think I should be. I can breathe. I can let go. I can rest in the uncomfortable space between what was and what is still yet to come. And I can allow the Spirit to do the work in me.
Change takes time.
We all have things in our lives that need to change – bad habits, character flaws, false identities, unhealthy relationship dynamics, unresolved pain. What needs to change in your life? What steps can you take to move toward that change that you desire? And where do you need to let go and let the Spirit work in you?