Change: /CHānj/: make or become different.
God has worked a lot of change into my life and to be completely honest as much as I say "Lord, change me to be more like You", I don't think my heart always means it as much as I'd like it to.
Recently the changes God has made in me have gone toe to toe with my pride. "Will I still be likable?", "Will I still be funny?", "Are people going to think I'm just putting up a holy front?". These are some of the questions I've thought to myself while pondering the changes God has worked into me. Because I have changed.
In all transparency, I really want to hold on to some of the things God is changing because it's easier than dying to it. Putting to death the things that aren't of Christ. The selfish, prideful, and narcissistic side of me wants to hold on to the things I've always been able to fall back on; the things that made me feel well-liked by people.
I asked God to consume me in His fire, and He made two things happen simultaneously; 1. He consumed (or destroyed) and continues to consume the things He can't work with. 2. He refined and continues to refine the things that He can work with.
God has refined my humor. I'm not as funny. I probably wasn't even that funny before, but as someone who prided herself on making a room laugh, it's kind of a tough blow to realize I don't generate as many laughs anymore. My humor has always been either Sarcastic (or as I like to call it, 'saying what you really think and getting away with it'), or it poked fun at the expense of myself and others. I always built and cultivated friendships with people that were mutually okay with poking fun at each other, but still, does that make it okay in my personal walk with Jesus? Should that kind of humor be one of my primary traits? You see, I'm not as funny because God showed me the importance of interaction with others, specifically those laboring here at the orphanage. When the enemy is already firmly against the work we're doing here and striving to discourage anyone on board with God's plan and I see people in the midst of their discouragement, why is my response humor instead of encouragement?
When I first got here, and y'know, like the rest of my life prior to that, humor was my go to source of conversation. Humor was my way to deal with changes, hits to my pride, conviction, praise, etc... EVERYTHING came back to humor. Now I've seen the importance of responding with encouragement. My natural self wants to respond with sarcasm or jokes, but when there's already so much working against believers in Christ, it's vital that I give encouragement from the Word of God, because the word of God actually has power. And when I'm lacking words of encouragement instead of awkwardly filling in the silence with a stupid joke isn't it better to just pray? Don't get me wrong, there is definitely room for well placed jokes, and I take advantage of them! I fully believe laughter is good for us, but I want to be funny in a way that glorifies God instead of bringing down His people.
God has consumed my speech. I'm not as blunt. I used to say whatever I wanted to whomever I wanted. I figured "if it's the truth then why does it matter?" Oh I don't know... Maybe because God says that our speech is supposed to be filled with grace and seasoned with salt. Oops. The hard part is that a lot of people really liked that I was that way. And I liked that people liked it. Because narcissism. But God is working that out of me.
I work with kids, and I learned very quickly that they have feelings. A lot of them. Like, too many. And when the goal is to point them to Christ, there's not a lot of room to speak before thinking. Seeing how my words can build up a kid and point them to Christ is great. Really great! But there's no feeling more awful than when you know your words have torn a kid (or adult for that matter) that Jesus loves so much down. When I've reacted too quickly without the full story and I've made a kid sit alone in his room only to find out that he did nothing wrong, it's border-line devastating. Humbling myself before a seven year old and apologizing was powerful, it taught me the importance of being patient with my words and hearing people out before throwing in my two-cents. And just because something is the truth, doesn't mean I'm supposed to call it out. I'm supposed to, as far as it depends on ME, be at peace with Christians, right? So that really doesn't leave a lot of room for bluntness that isn't filled with grace. It had to be consumed for the sake of Christ in me.
These two character traits are changes that have created some sorrow, but the sorrow doesn't compare to the feeling of knowing Christ more. And the longer I've gone with the changes the more okay with them I've been. And when I slip up I repent and keep going. I know these two things, amongst several others have been the source of many compliments in my life, so my pride really feels the loss. But the goal when following God isn't to be liked, complimented, and have your pride built up, the goal is to be made into the image of His Son. And when I look back I'd rather say I embraced the fire and became more like Christ rather than I was afraid of the fire and got just close enough to feel the warmth and have an ember or two land on me and do some temporary damage, but nothing permanent.
God is a consuming fire. It's a bold and scary thing to prayer for Him to consume you. But I suggest it. Give Him every facet of your life and He'll bless it, protect it, and change it for the better.
Deuteronomy 4:24://For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.