Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dealing With Change

My daughter is a member of The American Heritage Girl troop. At one meeting, their assignment was to write a skit as a group and then perform it at the end of the meeting.

When I watched the skit unfold I stood amazed at how well the young girls had articulated a persons struggle with change.

The play begins with a young girl sitting on a park bench. She really loved that park bench and wanted to sit on the bench again some other day. However, the girl was moving and wouldn't be back in the area for another year.

The girl returned a year later. With eagerness, she went over to the spot where her park bench had been and sat down. Instead of landing on the bench, she landed on the ground. Confused, she stood up, the bench was gone.

"What happened to my park bench?" She asked a nearby person.

"What park bench? There's no park bench." The person walked on.

Again the girl went to sit down on her beloved park bench and fell to the ground.

Again, she asked a person passing by what happened to her park bench and was met with the same reply.

This happened a few more times until one of the people passing by looked around and saw the park bench had been moved. She pointed it out to the young girl.

The girl nodded her head and went to where her park bench now stood and promptly sat down on it. She then enjoyed her time.


Change...

It can be good. A change like a new home, new car, better job...

And sometimes it can be so hard, like having to go to a new home, a new car, a different job...

I've been dealing with the changes in the tools I use to write books, articles, and blogs. Setting up, and figuring out the new tools, takes up time that I only want to use for writing. So, although not bad, it can be frustrating to take the time needed to set up new tools instead of taking that time to write.

Health changes can be very difficult. I remember when I dealt with some health issues, I would struggle to do things the way I had before. Finally, coming to a point of figuring out how to do things I liked to do in a different way and finding other things to replace the things I couldn't do anymore.

One thing I haven't let go of is running. I try and try to be able to be a runner again. I make some groundwork and then something happens and I am back at the starting line. I have replaced it with walking and riding a bike, but I don't think there is an exercise that can make you feel as physically good as a runner's high does. It is so invigorating.

I used to run two to five miles as often as possible during the week. I am not a morning person, but if I had a busy day, there were times that I would throw on some shorts, a t-shirt, lace up my running shoes, and take off for a run first thing in the morning. I especially loved to do that on a Saturday morning. It would give me energy for the rest of the day.

Now, I feel excited if I run a few minutes straight intermittently on my walks. Big change.

The year 2015 has been a year with a lot of changes in my family and extended family. Not all bad, just very different.

One of the things we've dealt with is MIDDLE SCHOOL! That's a story in itself. My daughter had to deal with making new friends, at a new school. She doesn't have any classes with her old friends, and although she can see her bff at lunch, she had to start over with friendships in her classes. Also, she adjusted to a long-term friendship ending this last year.

Ben's parents moved back to the area before his Dad passed away. That was a change.

There have been health issues. Also, some changes in the extended family where all of us have needed to get together and help out.

Car changes, financial changes...seems like a plethora of things.

We've also had relationship changes. A change like that can be difficult.

In the Bible, Jesus chose twelve main disciples to walk with him during his three-year ministry. There was quite a big extended following too.

Every day they followed Jesus. They participated in watching Him do one miracle after another, show love and acceptance to the unlovable, and listened to His teaching about God's way.

They had a face to face relationship with Him. They clearly saw and heard what to do to follow Him.

Then things changed in a drastic way.

Jesus died on the cross. He came back to life and rejoined His disciples for 40 days, but then it came a time again for them to say good-bye to their Lord.

Acts1:1 - 14 NIV

Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven

"1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teachuntil the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk[c] from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers."

I don't know if they understood when they watched Jesus go up tp heaven, whether it was only a temporary goodbye, or not.

Jesus had told them He had to leave so that the counselor could come and be with them. That they would be doing even greater things than He did. He instructed them to go and wait in a room for the counselor.

They did just that.

And what happened was amazing. Instead of having an external relationship with Jesus, they started to have an internal relationship with Him.

Instead of being led externally, they were lead internally.

All through the Bible God had led His people externally. By fire, prophets, leaders, and then finally God's Son, Jesus.

The story goes as follows;

Acts 2: 1-21

"2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 “‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.’[c]"
When the Holy Spirit came they were empowered in a mighty way. Peter who had denied Jesus in front of a small crowd was able to stand before a huge crowd to tell them all about Jesus. 3,000 people came to believe in Jesus that day. Every day people were added to the church. Despite the horrible persecution that was happening to the church, these men would go and tell the world about Jesus.

I wonder, when it came time to say goodbye to Jesus that day he entered heaven on a cloud, how their hearts felt? Did they think things like...Did we lose Him again? What are we going to do now?

Did they sit in the room Jesus told them to wait in and grieve? Or did they wait in anticipation? Or did they not understand?

One thing for sure, it was a huge relational change for them.

Now they had His power because of the Holy spirit in them to live life differently. The Holy Spirit would counsel them and change them from the inside out.

They didn't have to rely on their own power to do things God's way.
Now the fruits of the Holy Spirit would be made known in their lives.

Galations 5:22-26

"22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited,provoking and envying each other."

One of the wonderful changes that will happen in a relationship with Jesus as Lord is that a person changes on the inside.

It's easier to forgive.

It's easier to be kind, to love, be compassionate...all of these things come from the Holy Spirit that lives within us when a person becomes a believer.

It seems to me when there is something that is being worked on in my life, I come up against it over and over again. Each time, although I think, not again!...I respond a little quicker than the time before in the way the Bible says is God's way.

Forgiveness is a hard one for me, but not as hard as it used to be. I've learned the freedom that comes from forgiving people as soon as possible. Plus, it helps to have a good idea of how much I've been forgiven myself.

Also, trust is really hard for me, but through the years, I've been able to learn to trust in God and His ways, His provision, healing, salvation, etc., more and more.

Part of learning about who God is and His ways comes from spending time with Him, in His Word, in prayer, and with other believers. It is a way to grow and change.

I don't know what changes you are having in your life, but I would love to read about the changes God is doing in your life in the comment section below.