Saturday, December 7

Be The Change!

Have you noticed that our society does not advocate personal responsibility? Ugh..... it's SO frustrating. As a whole, we are a people that refuses to accept responsibility, denies fault, and insists that we could do better IF people acted as they were supposed to or IF circumstances were different.

I KNOW you know what I'm talking about. Relationally, more times than not, we "take off" when times get tough. We're sure we are justified in our choice, because our significant other (spouse, friend, child, co worker, etc.) isn't holding up their end of the deal. In business, how easy is it to do LESS than we're asked to do, because no one else is doing their part either. And, politically, as a nation, we have willingly handed over a multitude of our rights by making our personal responsibilities the government's responsibilities. So, even though our government hasn't proven to do many things well, we continue to give it more and more responsibility, because requiring individuals to accept some responsibility is considered negligent, uncaring, and downright mean.

Here's what is on my mind today.... it seems that it has become extremely uncomfortable to look inwardly and see what I should be doing differently and way too comfortable to look outwardly and name what everyone else should be doing differently. I see that this has created a lot of finger pointing and "preaching". That would be fine and good..... even wonderful, IF anyone was in the business of taking personal responsibility or interested in looking inward for changes to be made. We are not! So, all of our attempts to change people (posting rants on Facebook, taking scripture out of context to prove our own point, and giggling behind a jab) have only created more dissension among our community of believers. And, I won't even speak of what it's done between us and the world where we're called to minister.

So, here's what I'm proposing.... let's REclaim personal responsibility. What if, when faced with a situation we wish was somehow different, we determined to BE the change that makes it different?

I know, I know.... it's crazy. It's absurd! It's soooo last century!!! Why in the world would we consider changing ourselves when we can just run away from the situation and be perfectly justified to do so. Or, why make any changes in me when I can get online, find a number of people that believe the way I believe, and use social media to blast whoever believes differently.

BUT.... let's just play with this idea for a moment. I'm so tired of living in a world of UNhappiness and discontentment. Everywhere I look, I'm faced with downcast faces, lack of joy, and weariness with life. Every! Where!! I am confronted with so many people (believers) that are unhappy with their life. It may not be spoken. But, the countenance, the complaints and the disgust are clear indicators. I want to see JOY. I want to see HAPPY. I want to see LIFE. So, what if I become those things? What if I quit being tired and start being the change.... I can BE joy! Then, possibly, my joy will spread in MY house, to MY circle, and then out to their circles.....

There are certain areas of my life that I'd like to see improvement. I think we probably all have those areas... whether it's in relationship, in business, in finances, etc., I'll bet everyone could name one area we'd like to see an improvement. I feel like my religious background has taught me to accept what is, pray, and if God doesn't change it.... just be satisfied. But, what if my dissatisfaction in that area IS the Lord saying, "I've got something better, but you're going to have to get up and cooperate." I'm not saying this is the Gospel. I'm just asking, "what if?" What if I'm using prayer as an excuse to sit still and wait for SOMEONE ELSE to change when the Lord is clearly telling ME to BE THE CHANGE!

Now, believing family, this is heavy on my heart. Our world is in trouble! Our world is missing the TRUTH of the Gospel. Our world is dying without hope of salvation. We desperately need a change! However, I honestly feel that most of our efforts for change are backfiring and causing this dying world to harden their hearts even more to the TRUTH that we know. Every time I turn on the computer, I see an update or a blog or an article posted to scream a point of view. Obviously, I'm not against speaking our minds. Here I am speaking mine. What I'm saying is this.... changes that we want to see made in our world aren't going to be made with a wholesale BLAST of opinionated theology over the internet. They are going to be made in LIFE... living a Holy Spirit directed life individually, then guiding those closest to us to do the same. That will create a ripple effect that spreads. It may not spread as fast as we think it would if I just loaded a quick, one line post against a given lifestyle or activity. But, it's not working! Why not DO the things that work and impact lives in a way that "sticks"? Do we want a change.... Then, let's BE the change!

Here's an example of ONE things that is burdening me right now. It's Christmas! "The most wonderful time of the year." And, it's true, I'm seeing and hearing the Gospel spread well in many cases. But, I'm also seeing that SOMEHOW we've managed to allow ALL SORTS OF THINGS to distract us and the world from what we are celebrating during this season. And, I'll bet that my perspective is different from what you're expecting....

WHY are we arguing over "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays"? Distraction! It's CHRISTMAS. I'm celebrating the incarnation of my SAVIOR.... the fact that God so LOVED the world that He sent Jesus! So, I want the word CHRISTmas to be used A LOT during this time of year. So, I will use it! I will BE the change.

WHY are we in division over Santa or no Santa? Goodness... I know I'm causing such anger among even my sweet, believing friends. I know this is HUGE to so many of you. And, if the Spirit has convicted you in this way, I say follow that lead. But, WHY are we arguing about it? We do Santa at our house. We don't celebrate Santa. We don't worship Santa. And, when my oldest figured out that there was no Santa, there was disappointment. But, not a whole lot changed about how we celebrate this time of year.... the majority of our Christmas discussions aren't much different. We all do things differently. I will not pretend that I know what is 'right'. But, I know this.... we will never figure it out through arguments. We will never see a change in our world towards a Christ focus during December in dissension. So, I'm gently suggesting that if you feel we've lost the right focus during Christmas, BE the change. Focus on the main thing.... Jesus. Celebrate HIM in a big way in all of YOUR festivities. Honor HIS name by making Christ the center of ALL that you do (not JUST in December by the way) and watch how that catches on. We CAN be the change! I WANT to be the change!

I continue to be drawn in to the words of Christ to His disciples. ....

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

I am choosing to believe that, as believers, we have "good" motives behind all that we do. It's SO hard to know what is right and what is wrong when dealing and operating in this world we live in until Christ calls us home. Yes... we need to stand up for our beliefs. But, once we are aware of what God, through His Word and the Spirit, says is a change that needs to be made, I believe our ONLY course of actions is to BE THAT CHANGE! In my own life, I'm much more likely to be persuaded to change something in me when I SEE it working in someone else. So... what would YOU like to see this Christmas?

Peace in our world? BE peace.

Christ, high and lifted up? BE the lifter of His great name.

Joy & Happiness? BE happy NO MATTER the circumstance.

I know it sounds a lot easier than it really is. Personal responsibility is hard. But, at no point in life am I responsible for what someone else says or does. I'm ALWAYS responsible for the way that I respond. I believe we can CHANGE OUR WORLD! But, I don't believe we can do it in one, big swoop, by mass social media. If it's going to happen, I believe it will happen in one relationship at a time, one person at a time... and the first on my list is ME.


Here's my disclaimer.... I KNOW that we are also called to confront. It's uncomfortable. But, in our relationships (those who are close to us in life, NOT just a FB friend), my driving force for change in that person has to be LOVE. Jesus knew His time here was short. I'm sure He chose His words for disciples carefully. And, He said our LOVE would be THE thing that showed others we are Christ followers (true disciples). That tells me that when I LACK love in any of my actions, I'm demonstrating that true discipleship is not my focus. It's a fine line. And, that's the reason that I need to be consumed with Christ, ferociously focused on His will for MY life. That takes A LOT of energy and doesn't leave much time for finger pointing outside of my very close circle of relationships.... I'm forced to leave the rest to pastors (those called to lovingly point out and shepherd towards the TRUTH) and the Holy Spirit.

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