The tired old adage says that change is inevitable, except from a vending machine. Change has always been a difficult thing for me to come to grips with. I suppose it was the same for the dinosaurs too. They resisted it for millions of years and look where it got them. They’re a hot commodity now, selling for over four dollars a gallon.
When I started college I stepped into a new environment where no-one knew me. I could have completely re-invented myself. Instead, I kept wearing the same imitation black leather vest and continued to chew toothpicks and act like American Muscle Cars and Bruce Springsteen could solve the world’s problems. I started out with a pretty good GPA but by the end I was an irresponsible mook. I did change, it just took four years and it wasn’t for the better.
Back in those years I claimed to be a rock that wouldn’t change. I did though. After college I was a little more responsible once I got a job I liked. But I was still pretty self-seeking and unmindful of the future. I didn’t try to make any real conscious change in myself until I quit smoking. A lot of things changed in my life right around then. For the most part I became less selfish because I had a significant other person in my life.
But 10 years after that there was some serious decay in my character. While I didn’t make mindful changes in myself, I descended into a pit. I didn’t start to get better until I did something that I had resisted most of my life. I had to reach out for help. But I got better. On Friday, July 27th I will be giving my testimony at the group that helped me get better. Okay, I’m better now. Can I relax?
In my life now, I get up early most mornings and am responsible for breakfast. I don’t succumb to any addictions other than coffee and maybe too much food. I love my job. While some days are better than others, I love being home with my family and we all love each other. Everything seems to be cool.
But that isn’t the happy ending of the story. While I may feel like I’m done changing for the better and can now relax and sip coffee, I am getting more and more uncomfortable. It’s been a nice break in the slow lane for a year or so. But I am beginning to be worried that it is too comfortable. What could be better than this humble life of a father, amateur writer and professional custodian? Why can’t I just let it be? Because those years I was resistant to change I went on changing anyway as my world changed around me.
So I have gotten to my feet. The break is over. Last week I started a new Monday night step study. I have given up one of the two nights off I have each week. I gave up working with a kid’s group that met Mondays. I have committed to a year of it and I am in leadership. So now do I feel better? Absolutely not. Which probably means I’m doing the right thing.
The first step study I went through pretty much brought me back from the spiritual dead. This time there are more subtle character flaws that I may have been hanging onto even harder for even longer. This could be a tougher slough to get through than the last one in some ways. But I am hoping I will stop thinking of it as re-inventing myself. I believe that we all have within us who God wants us to be. I have that man inside of me that may be afraid to come up and out. Over this next year the battle will be not battling the change.