The other day, I overheard a conversation between two people I don’t know. Yeah, I was eavesdropping. Sometimes I do this. It’s the story-seeker in me.
“She will never change,” one woman was saying to another. “She says she will but she won’t. I know she won’t.”
The other woman agreed and they moved-on.
One of the most discouraging injustices we can impose on another person is to dismiss their attempts at bettering themselves.
Transformation is hard, friends. It’s slow. When we are on the journey of undoing negative patterns, we might be trying to undo years upon years of thinking and those neural pathways are stubborn and comfortable. They like to stay right where they are – but in doing so, a piece of our spirit begins to dwindle and we shut others out and away.
It takes great courage and energy to fight against neural pathways but in the long run, the fight is more than worth it.
I don’t know about you, but I’m still very much under construction. I say things I shouldn’t. I think thoughts about other people that are judgemental. I sometimes worry too much. I am guilty of forgetting how mighty God really is. I don’t always love my husband the way I should. I can have a short-fuse with my kids if I’m tired or if visual peace is out of balance or if my hormones are out-of-whack. I could go on.
But here’s the thing: I’m trying. Each and every day, I try to be better than the day before. Some days I achieve this, some days I don’t. But I’m showing up and I’m trying.
Changing neural pathways is exhausting and hard. So if someone confides in us and says they’re trying to better themselves some way, the best thing we can do, as followers of Jesus who gives us all kinds of hope, is to encourage them.
Words like “I know you can do it. I know you will” is encouragement for those on the journey. Instead of saying things like “I know she won’t change” behind her back, say “She’s really working on this – how can we best support her?”
I’m not holier than though, friends. I’ve been the ladies I overheard the other day. I’m not proud of it but hey . . . I’m changing.
And holy change is the very change that leads to freedom.
“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19