I just saw another commercial for a summer TV series called “Extreme Weight Loss” (I know an original title). As you scroll through the listing of what people are watching, there are lots of shows based on the concept of transformation. Transforming our bodies, our marriages, our relationships, our kitchens and our yards. Each of them are filled with stories of people stuck in a rut, trying to break out, trying to see transformation and growth in their lives. It’s much easier to watch others seek transformation than to pursue it ourselves. Yet deep in our hearts and souls, we want to be changed, we want to be fully alive, we want to see our lives transformed.
I believe it comes from a base Western world assumption that most of us share: pain is bad. Conflict is bad, if I hit resistance it must not be a good thing. If my church makes a decision that I don’t like, or challenges me too much I will just go find another one. If my job becomes challenging, it’s ok the grass will be greener at the new company. Our marriage may be important, but if it gets too hard, something must be wrong so I will just walk away and try another relationship.
Author and Pastor Jim Herrington says this about the challenge of transformation, “Transformation is a process of intentionally increasing your pain tolerance so that you can be made more into the image of Jesus Christ.” Transformation as Jesus lays it out in scripture is an innately challenging and even painful process. It involves looking in the mirror and becoming present to who we are, and our present reality before we can seek to move into a new reality. It also includes a growing awareness of whose we are, that the God create you and I, knitted you together in your mother’s womb, and created you for a full life (John 10:10).
The choice is yours, transformation is a gift God offers to us, but he does not promise to make the process easy or comfortable.