Oh back in the day. Back in college and seminary when I had great aspirations to change the world. As I have grown older this desire has not stopped through, I still believe that God changes lives, and I want to be part of God’s transforming work in the world around me. A few weeks ago I went through an exercise with some leadership setting world changing goals and dreams. What we found quickly is that to set the bar high for an organization, or even a leadership body was easy. To set the same high, life-changing standards for me personally, was extremely tough. Since that weekend I have been reflecting on why it is that I can so easily try to change the world in my organization, or even with my leaders, but it becomes so much harder with myself. Here are just 2 observations that I found as I reflected on why it was so hard personally:
- 1. I felt like I was devaluing my accomplishments.
As I thought about setting life-changing goals and dreams into my life, at times it felt like it was a way of saying what I have and what I’ve done up till now was not good enough, or was lacking. I heard whispers from teacher and mentors about contentment, and being grateful for what I have, and all that God has allowed me to do, and that is important. Here’s the thing, my life often falls short of what God has called me to be. What it forced me to begin to see is that at best I am mostly obedient to God, maybe 85% on a good day, but rarely if ever hit 100%. It meant I had room to grow, and some places of continual disobedience that needed to be addressed.
- 2. Personal responsibility is scary.
I found it easier to set goals for a group because it allowed for me to disperse both the praise and blame with other people. If things got tough, I could delegate, or just say I was not gifted enough and ask another person. If we failed or feel short, I could easily pass it off as a group failure, that perhaps I had a part in, although I could probably convince myself that I did everything I could, everyone else just didn’t step up. When I looked for God to transform me personally, there was no one else to blame. I had to take sole responsibility for my growth, my progress, and my struggles and failures.
Deep in my heart God has planted a seed that wants to see transformation. Right now God is teaching me that transformation must begin with me, and I believe it’s true, because it’s not the path I would have chosen. Go change the world, seek deep transformation, but before you run out to the door, stop and look in the mirror to see what transformation God has in store for you personally first.