I know some of us don't like change, but there is one type that I think everyone can agree is good - change for the better. There is a spiritual, mental and psychological health available to us all as we allow the Lord to occupy new areas in our battle-weary temples. But sometimes - no, frequently - it seems like one step forward, two steps back, when the most common phrase from the Lord seems to be "Ok, let's try that again". Will I ever change? Glory to glory seems to be an infinite distance to travel.
According to science, you and I are brand new every 5 years - in terms of our cells, that is. At that basic core level our bodies, in a constant flux of jettisoning old and dividing anew, purges and begins again. So if true, why can't I get out of bed in the morning without feeling like I'd spent the night being drug behind a truck? Surely after my 20,440 or so nights on this earth, prying myself up from the sheets should be old hat, right?
But all too often, my spirit feels the same as my 6:30 am body - sore and lifeless, and the bad habits I've been working on all these years don't go away just because I sing soulful songs at SouthHills. Why is that? The Apostle Paul said as much in Romans 7 in his classic description of the epic struggle of spirit vs. flesh. His lament: "I do what I don't want to do, and I don't do as I should.” Sound familiar?
I am no psychologist, but it seems to be an issue of both our willingness and our readiness for change. At first glance these brothers seem like twins, but although similar, they are not the same. They work in tandem and must come together at the same time. Sometimes I am willing to change, but not ready. Other times the reverse is true. I think I am ready - tired of the pain, but not willing to do what it takes to step away.
It's been said that there is a certain safety in our emotional pain. I think we settle for less because it's common, easy, and known. But the good hard work of spiritual change is the opposite - uncommon, hard, and risky (what if I fail?). Like getting out of a warm and cozy bed, it takes work, but it also takes a readiness. I think our Lord understands this. I hear him whispering "Are you ready now?" and "Are you willing to put in the work?"