"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Saturday, January 1, 2011

change you--or change me?

Ever notice (especially when it comes to kids’ behaviors-okay-our spouse’s too!), how it is always the other person who needs to change-and not you?

When the kids are acting up, they need to shape up; I don’t need to spend more time with them.
When your friends don’t call to see how you are doing, they are the insensitive ones; you don’t need to try harder or pick up the phone yourself.
When you husband makes you crazy, he’s the selfish ogre; you’re the perfect wife who does everything for him.

Just a few of the many, many examples. They are pretty general, maybe a little overdramatic-but the point I want to make: we are not responsible for their actions-only ours. We can’t be constantly blaming everyone but ourselves for well, everything. I remember listening to a speaker whose husband finally told her, “I am not responsible for your happiness.” Seems a little harsh, but it is true. We are responsible for ourselves. We cannot expect someone else to make us happy when we are not, especially when we are unwilling to see that. No person on this earth can EVER truly make you happy and fulfill every one of your needs.

It does only a very little good (from my own experiences) to pray to change the other person. The one who needs to change more often than not, is ME. And the truth is, no amount of willpower on this earth will change me. Willpower just doesn’t cut it-I know it, but I still keep trying it seems! True change can only come through God’s Holy Spirit working in me. Convicting, reproving, correcting. It’s still my responsibility to do the doing. And it’s hard. It very often goes against our human nature. There are a lot more times I’d just as soon smack someone upside the head then show them love, mercy, grace, forgiveness. But that is what I am called to. That is what I do truly want, deep down; though my actions often don’t show it.

The really cool thing is that as I pray and let the Lord change ME, it has a ripple effect. When I show love to my kids, friends, husband, spend more time with them, act unselfishly with my time, do things for them…they notice. Then may not say anything (especially the kids), but their behaviors seem to change as well. And then it allows the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts as well. But you know what, even if they make no changes, it doesn’t matter. You are not their Holy Spirit-only God’s Holy Spirit can work in them. You are only responsible to listen to what He is telling YOU.

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