I was talking to someone the other day about last week’s episode, Post-traumatic growth - the idea that after a traumatic event, you can grow exponentially - mentally, emotionally, and spiritually - if you choose to let experience change you for the better. Because I had mentioned it in the podcast, she asked me to describe the ways in which I was different before Brian died. She said, “I know you’ve had a close relationship with the Lord for a long time, so how have you changed?” I’ve been talking about this a lot on social media, how tragic events of life can change you.
But my answer to her, was that, yes, I’ve had an intimate relationship with the Lord for many years and have been walking with Him closely. And still, there were so many things that He needed to refine in me. And He’s still revealing things, all the time. I believe we all will continue to be refined up until the day of our last breath. It never stops. We never stop growing and changing. But I will say that we do have a choice if we want to grow and change. God could reveal something to us that needs refining and then we just ignore it. I would be quick to point out, though, that anyone who has been saved and received the Holy Spirit within them, they would be compelled by love to want to change. Philippians 2:13 tells us that it is God Himself who works in us, giving us the desire to obey and the power to do what pleases Him. It is by His Spirit that we desire to change.
Okay, getting back to that question: How have you changed? Well, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before in an episode or two, but before, I was very independent. I knew I was capable of doing certain things well and understood that God had given me gifts and abilities that made those things seem easy…effortless. And because they seemed effortless to me, I didn’t have a need to ask God for help. And then I got to a point where I quit asking His opinion on those things altogether. And we know that’s not a good thing either because, just as Moses found out, God doesn’t necessarily want us to do the same things in the same way each time, and He really does want us to do things His way because He knows it’s the best way - for our good and for His glory. So, as God was using Moses to lead His people to the Promised Land, they had to go through the desert to get there. The people were thirsty, and God told Moses to take a staff and strike a rock. He did and water rushed out of it. Later, the people complained of being thirsty again, and God told Moses to speak to the rock this time. Instead, Moses struck the rock with his staff. Doing it just like he’d done it before. Water was still provided for the people, but God was very displeased with Moses for not doing what He instructed. And it cost Moses the privilege of entering the Promised Land. That’s how serious God is about us doing things His way, not ours. So, the very fact that I even quit asking, wow. I’m evidence of His long-suffering patience and mercy, for sure.
But sin begets sin. Have you heard that statement before? You’ll find it in scripture. It’s the progression of sin. One sin opens the door to the next sin…and then another…and then another. So, for me, being independent and not relying on God or His opinion, created more sin. Sin of perfectionism and of performance for the approval of man. Needing to be appreciated and recognized for my efforts. And that beget the sin of comparison and competition. Now you probably wouldn’t have been able to tell I was dealing with all this from the outside. I kept it looking all pretty and neat…and spiritual. But it was all going on in the inside - the pressure, and the striving, and the chaos, and the self-criticism.. And all that lead to the sin of self-focus and self-centeredness. And, now, all the sudden, the things I was doing - things for the Lord, mind you - where tainted with sin. Actually, let’s just get that straight- they became things I was doing for myself. So much sin. And why was that sin, you might ask? Because that became what I focused on. That’s what I desired and worshiped. It became an idol. Anything…anything…that you put weight into and desire for other than God is an idol. Period.
But when Brian died, I was the most desperate for and dependent on God than I’ve ever been. Talk about a radical, 180-degree change. It took me a while to understand His perfect love for me such that I didn’t have to worry about being perfect or doing everything perfectly right. I mentioned this in episode nine, that I was so afraid to make a wrong decision, afraid that I was disappointing God. And the reason I was so worried about disappointing God was because I was so needing His help and wanted to stay in His good graces - so that He’d help me. I figured that the more I was able to be a “good girl” the more He’d be inclined to help. But in His kindness, He revealed this fear and poured out His love so immensely that I knew that was a lie, and again, based in the sin of performance in order to win His love and attention.
But God… Gently He taught me how to depend upon Him. He showed up in so many tangible and real ways in my desperate need that compelled me more and more to trust Him with everything. He increased my faith at every turn.
So now, things look so different in my life. I totally depend on Him for everything. And I expect that He will show up. Isaiah 54:5 says, “For your Maker is your Husband.” And seeing how I don’t have a husband, a physical husband, I’m taking God, my Maker, at His word. And when something breaks down in my house - like yesterday the water heater decided not to work. One minute is was working, and the next minute it wasn’t. So, I literally said to God, out loud, “Husband, your water heater has a problem and needs fixing.” Or when I had a huge crack in the windshield of my car I said, “Husband, your windshield needs replacing and we’re going to need the money for that.” I’m taking Him at His word when He says He cares for the widow. Psalm 68:5 says He’s the protector and defender of widows, just like any good husband would be. Oh, and by the way, that water heater started working again soon after my Husband got involved.
Look, you might think that’s silly. And I’ll give you that. I would’ve thought the same before. But before, there was no peace and contentment and assurance in my life. Before there was just hustle, and people pleasing, and performance. Before, there was just me and my abilities. Which were far too short to amount to anything worthwhile.
But all of that has changed. And so, I’ve come to realize that depending upon God is not a weakness at all. It’s not a crutch. It’s not even because I can’t do something on my own. Depending on God is where the unusual happens, the supernatural, the showers of blessings, the provisions that can’t be explained by human terms, the peace that doesn’t make sense to the intellect. Depending on God is where the most beautiful part of being a child of God shows up - being loved on and cared for by the One who made you and knows you completely.
One of the givens in life is that everything is going to change; nothing remains the same. I guess that could be said about people, too. The experiences and events in our life - big and small - have a significant impact on us. And we get to decide if we’re going to allow them to change us for the better or not.
So, have I changed? Immensely. And I’m expecting that there will be even more opportunities for change ahead. Cause that’s just how it goes until we take our last breath.
So, what about you, friend? What do you think God might be asking you to change? You know I’m not exposing my sinful nature just so you can “know more about me.” I tell you these things in hopes that God will use this as an opportunity to make a change in your beliefs, or attitudes, or actions. So that you, too, can be free to live in peace, and contentment, and assuredness. So, will you allow and welcome this change? I can promise you this, if you’ll let God change your heart and mind to line up with His, your life will be radically different in the most beautiful and satisfying ways. I promise. So, are you ready for some ch-ch-ch-ch-changes?
Okay, bonus points for you if you know who wrote and sung that song. But seriously, if you’re aware of some changes that you need to make within yourself and you’re not quite sure how to do that or where to start, I’d love to be your Life Coach and help you navigate through it.
I’ve put a link in the show notes to my calendar to book at 30-minute discovery call. Or you can visit my website tricizody.com and send me an email there.
Have a beautiful week, friends! See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life podcast.