I see this line – or something like it — over and over in birthday cards, encouragement posts, and yearbooks. And while I understand the sentiment, I don’t like it.
Because we should be changing. All the time. I cringe to think what I would be like if I hadn’t changed since high school. Big hair, big mouth, I was constantly seeking attention, always thinking about myself. I still struggle with self-centeredness. I think I always will. But God has helped me grow in that area, to think more about others and less about me, to make pleasing Him my priority and not be so concerned with pleasing others.
Admittedly, some people change for the worse. Some folks who used to be kind and gentle become bitter and jaded. That’s not the kind of change I’m talking about. That kind of change results from wrong responses to difficulties faced in life. People mistreat us, circumstances don’t work out the way we think they should, and we get angry. The anger festers. We turn into the Hulk, scary and awkward, frightening people around us.
What God wants is for us to grow from the difficult times. James says “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…” (James 1:2). He goes on to say that these trials make our faith stronger, make us more like Christ. There are several passages of Scripture that affirm this, reinforce the fact that a problem-free life isn’t our goal. That won’t make us happy. But learning to face problems on our knees, seeking God’s help, His strength, His purposes, allows us to be joyful even in the worst of times.
And these lessons take a lifetime. If I am growing in my relationship with Christ, I should be able to recognize God’s fingerprints in my soul every year, molding me and shaping me into someone who looks more and more like Him.
Change is good. Change is necessary. Change reflects maturity and growth.
So change. Please!