Recently, my wife and I decided to completely change the landscaping in front of our home.
It was one of those projects that sounded easy enough to do. I mean, how hard could it be? Dig out a few bushes and plant a few more…should be an easy task for a Saturday afternoon.
I got started without a good plan of how this was all going to happen, but once I cut down the first bush, there was really no turning back.
Right away I noticed that those things weren’t going to be very cooperative. They had owned that soil for nearly twenty years, and apparently they weren’t giving it up without a fight.
In all, there were eleven giant shrubs that had to come out…all were about as tall as I am, and their roots were extremely deep.
Well, one afternoon turned into three days, one broken shovel and 37 sore muscles, but I finally got the last of them to submit. And, I felt a great sense of accomplishment, too!
Man, I really hope none of the neighbors saw me flexing my arms over that last stump as if I had just made a game-clinching tackle to win the Super Bowl. (True story.)
You know, that project got me thinking. Change can be hard, especially when we’re trying to change something about ourselves that’s been planted in our personality for twenty, thirty, forty years. (Things like our temper or gossiping or trying to be more positive or more compassionate, you know, in order to be more like Jesus.)
We’re sometimes led to believe it will be easy as if we can just flip a switch. The truth is, at least for me, it doesn’t happen overnight and often turns out to be more difficult than I expected.
You know, I thank God I’m not who I used to be, nor am I who I’m going to be. I’m marred, but being shaped as He sees best. (Read Jeremiah 18:3-6)
And, while I still have a long way to go, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without help.
Speaking of that…someone very close to me once said, “Let me change.”
Those three words completely altered my view. I realized that I was the one holding back change because every time there was a hint of the old, there I was to go, “Ah ha! I knew you hadn’t changed.” Have you ever done that?
It’s hard to move forward when people around us keep reminding us of the past.
Those undergoing change just need a little patience. Of course there will be relapses and there might be some sore muscles along the way. But, hang in there…that last bit of old root will finally submit.
So, which person are you right now? Are you the one being changed? Or the one who needs to offer a little patience and encouragement?