I hate the word “messy”. It bothers me. I like things to be neat & tidy, easy to fix & change. More and more I’m finding that so many things need to be talked out, organized, revamped, prodded & challenged within our own perspectives for practical, concrete changes to be made.
I like the way some things are easy to change. You can change your clothes, clean your room, organize a filing cabinet, or go grocery shopping. All these things can be done in one stride – finished – ready to run with, changed for the better. On the other hand, people can’t be changed in a stride. Our thoughts, motives, understanding, and even our own movement takes time, energy, sometimes pain & with small steps towards healing. To me this seems impractical, frustrating & time consuming, but people are complicated and need to hash out their moves.
This week at Penn State, we had a “God…why?” event where we talked about answers God might give to important life questions such as “What is my purpose?”, “What does God think about sex”, “How do I communicate with God/how does He communicate with me?”. When we finished the discussion, we had everyone to fill out a feedback form. Many students indicated on the form that they would like to pursue a closer relationship with God, and are interested in joining a study to know more about him through the person of Jesus.
It reminded me of how our spiritual journey – being transformed by God – is so much different than other things we can change about ourselves. If I want to become a basketball player, I can just sign up and join a team – BAM – I’m a basketball player. If I want to become an artist – I join an art class and start practicing my artform – BAM – I’m an artist.
If I want to pursue a relationship with God, I can go to Bible study, I can go to church, but it’s more than that. Something about my heart, the way I live, my passions, my desires – all change, they become transformed. I can’t tell if you’ve been transformed. I can’t change you. I can only encourage you, invite you, challenge you – but I can’t make you a person who can communicate with God, know his desires, or understand his heart. It’s something you need to throw on yourself. As much as spirituality is communal, it has to be individualized or it doesn’t really exist. It starts inside of us and I can’t light your fire.