I’ve sometimes felt that my journey of transformation has been like trying to turn the Titanic. Very intentional. Yet slow and methodical. More than three decades in fact.
The beauty of being transformed by Christ into the likeness of Christ is that it’s all about the journey. There’s really not a destination – at least not in this life there’s not.
So, for those of us who are perfectionists or controlling or obsessive or compulsive or whatever else, you cannot do soul work incorrectly, quickly, or perfectly! I know that rocks the world for some. But trust me, it will be the imperfectness and the out-of-controlness and the incompleteness that will actually allow us to experience the new life we have always longed for. Another paradox. My life becomes perfect and under control and complete when I give up trying to make it that way. What a concept!
Our journey together will be made step-by-step. No, not like a step-by-step recipe in a cookbook that turns out pretty much the same every time. Put more succinctly, we’re going to take all that God has shown us and allow it to make us new – one step at a time, one day at a time. Each of our journeys has been personalized and customized by our Creator. No two are alike.
Psalm 119:105 (NIV) says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, and a light on my path.” Picture with me that we’re all standing outdoors in a dark place where we’ve never been before, with the moon not shining brightly enough for us to even see the path, if there is one. Then Jesus hands each of us a lantern. Not just any lantern. His lantern provides only enough brightness to illuminate the single step right in front of us.
Some of us might say, “Jesus, I need more light! I can’t see where I’m going.” Some maybe, “I don’t feel safe if I can’t see the entire path.” Others, “We’re not moving fast enough Jesus.” A few might even say, “I know where we can get a better light.” But I feel confident that, inside each of us, we’d be saying: “Jesus, I’m afraid to trust You.”
If you’re feeling that way, join the crowd. This entire book is written for broken people – the shamed and the shamer, the controlled and the controller, the fearful and the fear-causing, the weak-willed and the powerful, the captive and the captor – and all that are akin to these. There is not an expectation that we completely understand, or fully trust, or easily surrender, or readily follow. If we were able to muster that level of willpower, or clarity, or surrender, or confidence to “get it right,” we probably wouldn’t be reading this book to begin with!
I’m grateful that Jesus is fully aware that if He gave us more light, we’d either attempt to control what was ahead of us, or we would become so worried about how we’re going to navigate it that we’d become paralyzed. If He told us where the path was leading us, we’d stubbornly dig our heels in and refuse to move, a lot like stubborn children defying their parents. If He picked up His pace to match our tempo, Jesus knows how many amazing things we would pass right by and miss entirely along the way. He also knows that if He were to let us provide the light or control how it’s used, it would go out long before the journey had been fully experienced.
I think I’ll just make a decision today to trust Him a little more than I did yesterday.
Let’s all agree to this one rule, the only rule in the entire book:
NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED!
Prayer for Serenity by Reinhold Niebuhr
There is a great deal of history surrounding the nearly century-old Serenity Prayer, and I’m pretty well versed in much of it. Although some have questioned the Biblical integrity of this prayer, I personally believe that each of its segments are substantial and worth committing to. Consider these four:
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time.
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will.
Although we have learned that God and His word have provided the roadmap for our journey toward wholeness, I believe the Serenity Prayer offers meaningful road signs that serve as reminders along the way, and encouragement, as if throngs of people had lined up along both sides of the road, cheering for us every step along our journey:
Take the journey one day at a time.
Enjoy what God has prepared for you in each and every moment.
Remember, hardships are the pathway, not obstacles, along your road to peace.
Learn to accept this sinful world – and the diverse people who live in it – as they are, not as you think they should be.
Trust that Jesus will make whole all of the broken things in your life.
Surrender yourself to Jesus every day.
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