I wonder what would happen if I did all the things I don’t want to, but know I need to.
Do you have a list of them, too?
Do they sound like this?
I don’t want to go to bed earlier, but I should because I need better sleep. I don’t want to eat healthier, but I should because my body desperately needs it. I don’t want to give up anything, but I should because it’s the only way I can make room for the next thing. I don’t want to lose an argument, but I should because the relationship matters more than the achievement.
Am I close?
January is the month we tend to focus on all the change(s) we need to make, while cleverly making excuses for why we won’t. From “I’ll get to it later” to “It’s not that big of a deal” and everything in between. I’m right there with you. Sometimes I spend more time on digging my hole deeper because it feels easier, than finding a way out knowing it will be harder.
I know where I want to be, but truth be told, I don’t want to do the work to get there.
It’s not my first choice. It doesn’t taste as good as what I’m used to. It’s not convenient. It’s not fun.
We know those are really lame excuses, yet we cling to them like they are genius level thinking.
And I think I might know why…at least for some of us…we end up here.
I was reading Ezekiel this morning and something hit me.
Towards the middle of the third chapter I felt like my angst had company. God was calling Ezekiel to do something. The calling was undeniable (Go read the first few chapters if you don’t believe me). It was impressive. It was God on display in a way that would have been better than any movie we’ve ever seen, as far as special effects go. And here is where I gained hope that I’m not the only one who feels the way I do…
“I went bitterly and angrily. I didn’t want to go”.
I think I expected him to be all, like, “I’m in God…whatever you want, I will go”. But instead…he was ticked-off. He saw the very thing God wanted him to do as an inconvenient moment in his preferential movement. His world was being tipped upside down, and he didn’t like it.
Can you relate?
Something meant for your progress, actually makes you mad, bitter or disgruntled that you have to make changes so it will happen. Something meant for your improved health requires equal parts inconvenience and pain initially so you can experience vibrant longevity. Something you don’t need in your life, requires you to experience it’s void so that you can open yourself up to greater experiences. Something you dig your heels into because of pride seems more attractive than walking away to build someone else up.
Have you ever been this ticked-off?
It’s normal. You are normal.
But maybe it’s the next part of the verse that we need to get to so that we can get past anger, and arrive at some sense of purpose, peace and calm. To arrive at progress.
“But God had me in his grip. I arrived. I came to where they were living and sat there for seven days, appalled”.
Ezekiel had been called to go speak to a bunch of knuckleheads. And it wasn’t until he got there that he realized the importance of his obedience. His initial reaction was normal (like ours), but doing the hard work of starting lead him to something amazing.
It wasn’t about him. It was about the people around him.
Ezekiel’s movement forward birthed a nation’s movement outward.
Out of where they were, to where they needed and were called to go.
I’m not entirely sure where you are at today with needing to make some changes in your life. And they don’t always have to be huge, sweeping changes. Little ones count too. Because making the little ones now prevents them from becoming the big ones, later. Maybe it’s not so much about resolutions. Resolutions, resolve. Deep, I know. I’m thinking more along the lines of restorations. Why? Because to restore puts things back the way they should be. Resolving is just talking about doing them.
And maybe…just maybe, by doing so? Maybe it isn’t about how it will make us feel, as much as it is about what those around us need. Maybe it’s bigger than we think. I know…lots of maybes in there. But you’ll never go wrong taking steps forward that have the potential to serve someone else in the process. That’s the truest definition of “win-win” I’ve ever heard of. A healthier us…SO THAT we can serve, set an example for, and honor others with more intentionality and purpose.
As you start 2015, I want to leave you with a few thoughts to encourage you, and an invitation as well.
It’s ok to be ticked. It’s normal. It’s ok to be frustrated that change is necessary. Also very normal. But you don’t…I don’t…no one has to…stay where they are because they feel like they need to be in love with wanting to change before they start. I’d encourage you to reflect a bit. Do what Ezekiel did. Sit in the presence of what needs changing, quietly…and really look at it.
At some point the frustration will swing from having to go there, to not wanting to stay there.
When you hit that point you’ll move from resolving to do something, to actually doing something.
You’ll move into a journey of restoration.
One earlier night to bed at a time. One healthier meal at a time. One foot in front of the other to walk away from your personal preference, so that you’ll be able to accept your calling. One relationship at a time that you value more than being right all the time.
2015 doesn’t have to be more of the same.
2015 can be about change.
And that invitation?
Feel free to come back here…often. I’m going to do my best to bring encouragement for you in your season of change this year. Hey…it’s free…and it might be something that helps you live the restored life you were always meant to live today, rather than the one you just resolve to live someday.
Happy New Year!
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time…