Not everyone believes in radical life change. I both understand and support a healthy amount of skepticism. As a teenager, I had a chiropractor who accidentally backed over his wife with his car...twice. I mean, call me a “Negative Nancy," but I’d want some evidence before I got into his vehicle...or walked behind it.
A very dear friend of mine, with a heaping dose of sass (just how I like them), surprised me with a survival kit for my move to Colorado in 2011. The little red notebook explaining the gift bag contents provided instructions on how to use the items to avoid death or otherwise. Having nicknamed me a “cocker spaniel” (a.k.a. Overwhelmingly friendly for my east-coast roots), she had some legitimate concerns for my safety. Indeed, I found myself in some foolish situations a couple of times (though the gentleman with the rope wrapped around his backseat was actually a stand-up citizen). Needless to say, my street smarts needed improvement.
That year, I learned the following: anyone can claim anything and later be found disingenuous.
Best not to give away the depths of your soul in exchange for the superficial words of another. With this, I highly encourage you to investigate before jumping on any potential crazy trains. Take your time and get to know someone. There is time.
If the person tries to convince you that there is not time for you to observe, ponder, and slowly increase engagement as you’re comfortable, then that right there is your reason to bolt. Politely say, “byeee” and pray for them from over there.
There is a very good chance that you will come across people in your lifetime who have legitimately been transformed—whose internal focus is no longer on what it used to be. These are the stories that encourage, empower, and motivate us toward a hope that the world can be better. And that we want to help it be so.
I love these stories. Hallmark loves these stories. These stories are one of two intended interpretations of NWM’s tagline,
Reclaiming Losses through Bold Narrative
Story is powerful because it connects our minds to our hearts to our souls and inspires change.
Who we were can never be different, but who we are and who we will be? These depend on the choices we make.
The choice for reclamation is my personal favorite.
I have watched loved ones work to weave new rope to hold on to their perspective when their previous justifications failed them. I have watched others drown the whole mess and walk away. I have immense empathy and understanding for both responses. My knowledge of these experiences weighs down my heart and causes a persistent ache.
Yet, I could never live in either extreme. I know too much. I know that real change can happen, even though the process is excruciating. Real change can happen, all the way down to our vitality, our total being...our souls.
We can choose to function out of a completely different source of life. A Source that offers freedom and forgiveness.
A Source that transforms.
And when we have the honor of witnessing firsthand this depth of transformation in someone’s life, we know the change is true.
When we do not have the honor of witnessing firsthand this depth of transformation in someone’s life, we celebrate the possibility and watch for the fruit from their changed lives. They will mess up—I will mess up—but they’ll wrestle it through, maybe take a temporary step or two backwards, hopefully apologize, then move forward. This is good. This is progress. This is sanctification.
So, as we watch the stories of others unfold, let’s allow for the possibility of genuine change.
In fact, let’s hope for it.
And let’s pray for it.
For it might just be so.
Do you believe people can change? Explain.
Have you ever witnessed change in yourself or someone else?
Is there something you want to change in your life? What will it require of you?