The power of change
Change happens whether we like it or not. If we look at life in Crook County at the beginning of 2020 and compare it to the present day, we can see a drastic change. Change can produce life or death. While I have little control over change in my environment, I can choose how and what change takes place on the inside of me.
Psalm 27, written by King David, is an interesting mix of light and dark, violence and protection, fear and courage, war and peace. It reveals that David's life was surrounded by opposition, challenge and change. He speaks not only of his current circumstances but also of his inner state. He says in verse three, "Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid." Somehow David had the ability to find resilience in a time of extreme stress, in the following paragraphs we will look at three ways change can open the door to life.
Change requires a dream.
I like ruts. When I'm driving in the Ochocos, I like driving in the well-worn ruts in the road. They are usually safe, predictable, and without too many surprises. My perspective changes, however, when I park my truck and my dog and I begin to hike. When I step out of the well-worn ruts of the road and place my feet on the forest floor, I find that I'm standing physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, in a new place. That's when I begin to see and think differently, it's the place where dreams take seed.
I am not saying that everyone should go hiking. But there is something about taking time to look beyond where you are standing, beyond life's ruts. David says in verse eight, "My heart has heard you say, 'Come and talk with me.' And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.'" In verses four and five, he reveals that when trouble comes, he's choosing to live in connection with the one true God. Acts 13:22 defines David as being a man after God's own heart. These passages reveal that the presence of God defined David's life.
As one studies his life, it is apparent that he "lived in God's presence" through worship, reading the holy scriptures, meditating God's promises, and writing about who God is. God's presence shifted David's perspective and that's why he was able to think differently than what the world around him tried to pressure him toward. From that vantage point, he could "see the Lord's goodness" (verse 13). He could dream and visualize a new way of living. David was one of the greatest visionary leaders of the Old Testament. He understood the need for change, and he took his nation to new heights, and it began with moving into closeness with God to see differently and dream God's dreams.
Change requires awareness.
Tension often reveals the need for change. When I feel the tension in my life, my human instinct is to look at what other people around me need to do to lessen my tension. I see the change "needed" in their lives much more quickly than I see my own need for change. If one takes the time to listen to what's going on externally and internally in times of tension, one can move beyond emotional tension and begin to find what is called "creative tension."
A person who sees what could be and compares that to what is begins to experience creative tension. When I place new strings on my guitar, as long as there is slack in the string, there is no musical tone. But when I begin to wind the string around the tuning pegs, tension is created between the nut and the bridge and when tuned properly a musical tone is produced. David understood this both as a musician and as a growing leader. He wasn't satisfied with the status quo. In verse 11 he says, "Teach me to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path. ..." David was aware of his deficiencies.
David was caught in an adulterous affair with Bathsheba (see II Samuel 11). As the prophet, Nathan spoke into his life, the teachable heart of David was seen. He embraced the need for change, and it set him on a path toward restoration. The Bible tells us that "all have sinned." It reveals that "the flesh is weak." Whether a sin issue or a blind spot, we all have areas of our lives that need a heavenly perspective to raise our awareness. A powerful tool for living is seen as David says, "teach me to live O Lord." When a God-given dream and awareness of my current state work together, creative tension happens, and the stage is set for healthy change.
Change must begin with me.
David understood that if his nation was to be better, he had to be better. He recognized his need for change and thus went after the greatest change agent of all. He states in verse four: "The one thing I ask of the Lord â€“ the thing I seek the most â€“ is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." He knew of his personal need for God and went after Him wholeheartedly. As David went, so went his nation in the years he was alive. The book "Learning Change," by Jim Herrington and Tricia Taylor, reveals where change begins: "I can only change myself. I cannot change the people around me â€“ I can only influence them through my way of being. I influence them by changing myself and my ways of being."
Change. The world needs it. Let it begin with you. David did.
In closing, I offer three questions that can aid in the journey toward change:
What is the dream God has for this particular area of my life?
From where I am, what are the next steps to move ahead with that dream?
In moving forward ask: how has my commitment to change bettered my life and the world around me?
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