I’m still thinking about what it means to change – and how that comes about.

I don’t like change – whether it’s a new environment or a different brand of tea. I like to know where I stand – or at least, that’s one of the ways I justify staying in the same place.  Here’s another: I’m just born this way. Or this: I can’t change the habits of a lifetime.

Sometimes these act as smokescreens for  less palatable truths.

I want to be in control.

I don’t trust God.

I’m frightened.

I’m weak.

I feel sad and I want to make it better.

They’re another way of saying: I can’t change.    It’s too hard. Or – worst of all – I don’t want to.

There are areas of my life I’ve cordoned it off with ‘crime scene’ tape that reads ‘do not cross’.  Places I don’t want to go or battles I’m sick of losing.  But by saying I can’t change, I’ve made my peace with things  I should be challenging.  I’m telling God where He can and can’t go. I think it’s about me and my failings, but actually it’s about what I think of God and His strength. I’m settling for a small life with  an equally small God.

I was thinking about this when reading Exodus 3, where God tells Moses that he is to rescue the Israelites. Moses responds by saying, ‘I am nobody: how can I go to the king and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?

This seems understandable: Moses is out of his comfort zone and he recognises his own limitations.  But the Lord’s response is not what we’d expect. He doesn’t tell Moses to man up.  Nor does he say something encouraging about Moses being stronger than he thinks.  God says:

I will be with you, and when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will worship me on this mountain‘.

There are a few things happening here.

1. God points Moses away from self-analysis and regard for self.

2. God points Moses to Himself and the real  focus for worship.

When I say I can’t do things, it’s tempting to assume I have too low an opinion of myself and that I’m too modest.  But my problem is actually pride: I’m self-focused and I think I should be able to do more. Whether I big myself up or put myself down, it’s all about me.

What I don’t need is to hear about my own capabilities.  That’s neither here nor there.  Instead, I need to be pointed to the God who indwells me and who won’t be boxed. I need to worship someone worthy – someone bigger and more beautiful than me.  As I do this, I’m no longer stymied by my limitations and the things I cannot change.   I’m freed to rest in His strength and to let Him work in me.

2 thoughts on “Self-improvement?

  1. Emma – As a species we have learned not to like change when we are already well within our comfort zone. Where we need to, or are required to, do something outside that zone there is a element of psycology to get us there. We need to feel comfortable outside the zone. The Lord may not have told Moses to man up, or say something encouraging about Moses being stronger than he thinks, but in the end he has got there by offer virtual support. This has the effect of making Moses feel comfortable in himself and achieve what is required. Where the need to do something comes from within ourselves we can seek the virtual support from our God to move out of the comfort zone and achieve our goal.

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