Our lives are like huge ocean liners when it comes to change

I think our lives are like huge ocean liners that used to take two to three hours to make a significant turn(modern ones can do a 360 degree turn in 30 minutes). Slow, steady as she goes…that is the pace of our “repentance,” of turning our lives away from the culture towards the kingdom. Like with the old ocean liners, this is a sea-change, a deliberate steering in a new direction, with the actualizing of our decision/our surrender of our whole selves an even longer process.

We expect a much faster about-face after we surrender our lives to God, because we think we’re in control of our lives. And to a certain extent, we are, especially with the small stuff—what to eat tonight, whether to exercise. But have you noticed with the bigger things in life from losing or being offered a job to a hurricane to a death of an intimate friend or spouse or child, we have little to no control over those?

It is not easy to change the whole trajectory of our lives. But once we make the decision/surrender to put God first, then God is there with many suggestions on what to do next, with support, with love, with helpers along the way. The process is very slow at first for us to wake up to what God is pointing us to, because we are slow to change. We don’t even like change. So there is a long time of waking up to be able to hear all the suggestions/hints/still-small voice revelations that the Lord is sending us.

As the decision/surrender to put God first in our lives takes hold, we have fewer and fewer problems with our inner hearing. We begin to recognize God’s voice within. We begin to build a track-record of the positive outcomes we experience when we follow his cues. We begin to trust that voice. We notice how self-affirming are his suggestions, affirming of who we really are, of our true selves.

Even Paul who as Saul of Tarsus experienced the Risen Christ took about three years to turn his life around and then to set out on his ministry. It is a sea change in our lives to surrender our lives to God. In my experience it took a lot longer than three years to take on a ministry. There was a whole training period of opening my mind up to new ways of looking at what I was taught as a child in a hell-fire-and-damnation church and of finding a new way of relationship with God who was no longer capricious and vengeful and punishing.

And then I was ready for the real training: my spiritual direction training and practice has more than any single thing in my life changed me, except for raising my children. In both cases I had to learn to set all of my own expectations, assumptions and wishes for the child or person before me and allow the Holy Spirit to lead where this person was to go. I had to, moment by moment, listen for the suggestions of the Spirit and put the person in his hands. I had to be able to sit with where the person was, not where I wished him/her to be. The same was true of my kids. I could train them in manners and ways of how to treating people(and more), but I could not change their basic natures.

That was the beginning of my ministry, although I didn’t think of it in that way. I had found something that was so natural for me to do, once I was able to set my small self’s desires aside. And now I am a writer who bases her words on the Spirit’s suggestions, my own experiences and my directees’ experiences with living the life of the Spirit.

It’s been thirty + years since I surrendered my life to Christ. I think I am a slow learner. It took me so many years to unlearn so much of what the culture had taught me. And I still am challenged to be true to the Spirit of God who leads me. I have my ups and downs in our relationship, but the one thing I can say for sure is that God now has me firmly in his hands and no matter how human I turn out to be, I know and trust that he still loves me no matter what.

So…the ocean liner’s slow turns echo our own slow turn-around. I think the way is a lot easier if we drop our expectations of a quick change in us and stick to reaffirming that this way of God’s is what we want. After all much has to be healed by God along the way, many of our ways of thinking have to be undone, many of our habits of thought and emotions have to be changed. This is not a fast process if we want to live the Life of the Spirit, the life lived in, with and for God. It is worth the time it takes.

Questions to ponder over the week: If I’ve already committed my life to God, where in the great 180 degree turn am I? Have I continued to be vigilant about my attention on God’s plan for me? If I haven’t committed/surrendered my life to God, what am I waiting for? What steps up to surrender can I take right now?

Blessing for the week: May we select the sea change, the great 180-degree turn from the world’s ways to God’s ways. May we continue to ask God to support our changing ways and to transform us into people who can love. May we see and remark on all the blessings and grace that the Lord sends our way daily. In faith and love, Pat

If you’d like to see more of By the Waters, check these out:
–There’s a new video up on YouTube: “The First Four Commandments ”youtube.com/user/patsadams
–Check out my twitter feed at twitter.com/BTWwithPatAdams
–Check out the “Shop Now” at the top of this page which links to a CD of guided meditations designed to help deepen your spiritual life and a series of booklets on the Life of the Spirit.
–Order individual tracks of the CD at cdbaby.com/cd/PatAdams1

I think our lives are like huge ocean liners that used to take two to three hours to make a significant turn(modern ones can do a 360 degree turn in 30 minutes). Slow, steady as she goes…that is the pace of our “repentance,” of turning our lives away from the culture towards the kingdom. Like with the old ocean liners, this is a sea-change, a deliberate steering in a new direction, with the actualizing of our decision/our surrender of our whole selves an even longer process.

We expect a much faster about-face after we surrender our lives to God, because we think we’re in control of our lives. And to a certain extent, we are, especially with the small stuff—what to eat tonight, whether to exercise. But have you noticed with the bigger things in life from losing or being offered a job to a hurricane to a death of an intimate friend or spouse or child, we have little to no control over those?

It is not easy to change the whole trajectory of our lives. But once we make the decision/surrender to put God first, then God is there with many suggestions on what to do next, with support, with love, with helpers along the way. The process is very slow at first for us to wake up to what God is pointing us to, because we are slow to change. We don’t even like change. So there is a long time of waking up to be able to hear all the suggestions/hints/still-small voice revelations that the Lord is sending us.

As the decision/surrender to put God first in our lives takes hold, we have fewer and fewer problems with our inner hearing. We begin to recognize God’s voice within. We begin to build a track-record of the positive outcomes we experience when we follow his cues. We begin to trust that voice. We notice how self-affirming are his suggestions, affirming of who we really are, of our true selves.

Even Paul who as Saul of Tarsus experienced the Risen Christ took about three years to turn his life around and then to set out on his ministry. It is a sea change in our lives to surrender our lives to God. In my experience it took a lot longer than three years to take on a ministry. There was a whole training period of opening my mind up to new ways of looking at what I was taught as a child in a hell-fire-and-damnation church and of finding a new way of relationship with God who was no longer capricious and vengeful and punishing.

And then I was ready for the real training: my spiritual direction training and practice has more than any single thing in my life changed me, except for raising my children. In both cases I had to learn to set all of my own expectations, assumptions and wishes for the child or person before me and allow the Holy Spirit to lead where this person was to go. I had to, moment by moment, listen for the suggestions of the Spirit and put the person in his hands. I had to be able to sit with where the person was, not where I wished him/her to be. The same was true of my kids. I could train them in manners and ways of how to treating people(and more), but I could not change their basic natures.

That was the beginning of my ministry, although I didn’t think of it in that way. I had found something that was so natural for me to do, once I was able to set my small self’s desires aside. And now I am a writer who bases her words on the Spirit’s suggestions, my own experiences and my directees’ experiences with living the life of the Spirit.

It’s been thirty + years since I surrendered my life to Christ. I think I am a slow learner. It took me so many years to unlearn so much of what the culture had taught me. And I still am challenged to be true to the Spirit of God who leads me. I have my ups and downs in our relationship, but the one thing I can say for sure is that God now has me firmly in his hands and no matter how human I turn out to be, I know and trust that he still loves me no matter what.

So…the ocean liner’s slow turns echo our own slow turn-around. I think the way is a lot easier if we drop our expectations of a quick change in us and stick to reaffirming that this way of God’s is what we want. After all much has to be healed by God along the way, many of our ways of thinking have to be undone, many of our habits of thought and emotions have to be changed. This is not a fast process if we want to live the Life of the Spirit, the life lived in, with and for God. It is worth the time it takes.

**                                    **                             **                           **                          **                          **

Questions to ponder over the week: If I’ve already committed my life to God, where in the great 180 degree turn am I? Have I continued to be vigilant about my attention on God’s plan for me? If I haven’t committed/surrendered my life to God, what am I waiting for? What steps up to surrender can I take right now?

Blessing for the week: May we select the sea change, the great 180-degree turn from the world’s ways to God’s ways. May we continue to ask God to support our changing ways and to transform us into people who can love. May we see and remark on all the blessings and grace that the Lord sends our way daily. In faith and love, Pat

________

If you’d like to see more of By the Waters, check these out:
–There’s a new video up on YouTube: “The First Four Commandments ”youtube.com/user/patsadams
–Check out my twitter feed at twitter.com/BTWwithPatAdams
–Check out the “Offerings” button which links to a CD of guided meditations designed to help deepen your spiritual life and a series of booklets on the Life of the Spirit.
–Order individual tracks of the CD at cdbaby.com/cd/PatAdams1

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