When I applied for my first full-time job as an eager 18 year old, I can recall compiling a list of ‘Key Strengths’ for my CV. Along with virtues such as honesty, work ethic, and positivity, I also listed my desire to ‘see every task through to completion’ as a very worthy characteristic. I still think this is basically a good commitment, although it does have a serious side-effect… for me, it co-exists with an unwillingness to start anything that has no fast or obvious conclusion.
I’m good at change. I have no fear of it, no crippling anxiety or resistence to it. But I’m lazy and impatient – if whatever I’m trying to change will take too long, or require too much hard work, I’m essentially not interested. So much for that work ethic I brag about in my CV, huh!?!
So, as difficult and rhetorical as this may sound, I’m slowly undergoing a change in my attitude to change. Whereas in the past I have seen change as a simple ‘flick-of-the-switch’, I’m beginning to train myself to take a long term, slowly-does-it approach.
I detect in myself a very consumeristic, fast-food attitude to life – and it worries me. I get an idea, and I want it now. No, I want it yesterday. Ask Suzanna – she’ll tell you that I am no good at planning for things that I/we want – that’s far too slow and sensible. Interestingly though, the products of this attitude are scary… the things I do get are the things I don’t want. Disappointment, dissatisfaction, and debt. Sadly, all the things I desperately want, like spiritual growth, physical shrinkage (!!), and character development, are left somewhere above me on a shelf I can’t reach without a ladder I can’t be bothered climbing.
There are 3 kinds of day I love… the first of January, the first day of any given month, and Mondays. All represent to me an opportunity to start again. I like new beginnings, and I have this odd fixation on only starting any new venture or undertaking on one of these kinds of day. The problem with this fixation is that I lose valuable changing time waiting for the next Monday, or the next first-day-of-the-month.
God promises that His mercies are new every morning. Not just Mondays; not just the first of January, May, or September. Every morning. And it is by His mercy alone that I can change – so why would I utilize only 65 or so of the 365 mornings He gives me every year?
If I died today, I’d be bitterly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong – I do look forward to what awaits me in heaven, but I don’t want this to be all I am. Like John Ortberg in his book “The Life You’ve Always Wanted”, I am disappointed with myself in adult form. Ortberg laments that as a child he thought adults were basically who and what they wanted to be, and having arrived in adulthood, he has realized this couldn’t be further from the truth.
There is so much more I want to do, to be. I have occasional glimpses of who and what God has planned me to be – and I want that. I want that so badly. And this means I have to change. And it will be hard, and slow, and a whole lot of other things I find myself averse to. But I have to believe that God (and not I) can do it. If I had to believe in me, I’d fail every time.
“When everything inside me looks like everything I hate, You are the hope I have for change, You are the only chance I’ll take.” (“On Fire”, Switchfoot; The Best Yet).
He is the only hope I have for change. I can’t flip the switch, and I can’t picture the conclusion. It won’t happen over night, but I CAN become the Pantene person God wants me to be.
And so can you.