Change begins with recognition

I woke up this morning feeling a little irritable.  No particular reason — I went to bed early enough, didn’t eat too late, and the day before was relatively calm and stress-free.  But there I was.  I grabbed my morning coffee and sat in my little study to pray.  At first I stayed quiet, hoping to hear some fresh whisper from God. But then my mind wandered to all the people around me who needed prayer (myself included), and the petitions began.  Well, no new revelation this morning.  And I was a little frustrated about that.  “Okay, Lord, here I am, making myself available, spending time with you, opening myself up, and …?”  Nada.  And then it occurred to me that I was not really hearing God, I wasn’t being sensitive, because I was allowing my frustration to put up a wall in my heart. It was blocking my receptivity.

Hmm.  Still with a bit of agitated assertiveness, I started asking God for the big things that were in my heart, the unrealistic dreams I knew he planted there. And I named them specifically.   (Hey, if you’re gonna ask, you might as well ask BIG.)   And I realized that the “no particular reason” was more about my subtle lingering frustration over feeling like my life is stuck in the mud, not moving fast enough toward those great dreams. 

As I started laying out these bold requests before God, the words percolated to the top of my thoughts: Change begins with a recognition of truth.  Truth in who you are, and what you want.

But it’s not the “hi, my name is Steve, and I’m an alcoholic” kind of truth.  It’s not an admission or recitation of my faults.  It’s an affirming of who I am that God made me to be, and embracing the core truths that make up my spiritual DNA. It’s the positives.  And I realized that those big-ticket requests I was making were actually in line with the identity he gave me: my dreams and desires fit neatly with the image he had shown me years earlier of who he wanted me to be. 
But those core truths don’t have be just grand visions of the future. The power of truth applies equally on a smaller, more down-to-earth level. They are truths about our present, about our day to day relationships with people around us.  You could say, for example, “I am a good husband, I love my wife, I take care of her; I provide for her, I make sure she has everything she needs.”  “I am a great worker, I do my job well, I am an asset to my company.”  “I am a good friend, God has placed me here, now, in these people’s lives, and I help them, I bless them, I care for them.” 

Of course, these should not be idle words, or mere wishful thinking.  It’s not hocus-pocus, or some magic formula. The truth should be rooted in God’s plan for you life — what he’s called you to do and who he’s called you to be — but it should also be reflected to some degree by your actions in reality. (If it isn’t, start acting the way you should!) You gotta have a leg to stand on.

As these concepts were racing through my head, I noticed my attitude was suddenly different.  I was calmer, more optomistic, and I felt stronger.  And later at work, I was more friendly with colleagues, less stressed, more confident in the projects before me.  But this isn’t simply a matter of me talking myself out of a bad mood into a better one.   It is the key to all kinds of change in life.  How you see yourself, and what you believe God’s plans for you are, will determine how you act. And how you act now will determine your future.

We’re all dissatisfied with some areas of our lives.  Some things need changing to get us in proper alignment with God’s divine design for us.  And we will be restless and unfulfilled until they are.  But all the necessary changes begin with a simple but profound recognition of who God made you to be and of the dreams and desires he placed inside you.  So if you don’t like who or where you are right now, start focusing on the original blueprint for your life.  Check your spiritual DNA.  See yourself as he sees you, and ask boldy for the dreams he’s given you.  That is who you really are — and that is what you really want.  God’s power begins to be released the moment you recognize the truth.  And that truth will change your life.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.  (Prov 23:7)
You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)

5 Replies to “Change begins with recognition”

  1. I have needed at times to remind myself of the calling and about a year and a half ago to draw a line in the sand and flip the ball of priorities & energy spent (I imagine a weighted ball) and the call the ministry was now at the top and going to make OTHER things accommodate IT instead of it always being the thing I got to with my left over time, money and energy. Life got in the way of pursuing the calling. It took someone asking “so why aren’t you in ministry” for me to realize (there’s the recognition) that somehow everything else had crowded out my calling and I was working a job to pay the bills.

    I’m still praying for the opportunity to be in a place where I can fit and flourish, bcse right now I still feel like a square peg in a round hole. And that’s frustrating. Last year this time, I played for my congregations the song from “The Man of LaMancha” “To dream the impossible dream”. Go listen to it again. Till you cry. Till you remember that it was GOD who put the dream in you, and He is the author and finisher of our faith. And our dreams.

    “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” — Philippians 1:6.

    “It’s not by might nor power, but by my Spirit,” saith the Lord. Zech. 4:6

    LISTEN: (cast recording)
    (Tony awards performance)

    To dream … the impossible dream …
    To fight … the unbeatable foe …
    To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
    To run … where the brave dare not go …
    To right … the unrightable wrong …
    To love … pure and chaste from afar …
    To try … when your arms are too weary …
    To reach … the unreachable star …

    This is my quest! To follow that star!
    No matter how hopeless, no matter how far!
    To fight for the right, without question or pause!
    To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause!

    And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
    That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
    when I’m laid to my rest.

    And the world will be better for this:
    That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
    Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
    To reach … the unreachable star!

  2. Amazing how we all weave our own specialities into our revelations. I tend to use my dogs alot. You, music speaks to you, and you use it to speak the message that’s moving you. Hey, between the two of us, we’re hitting the dog- and the music-lovers. 🙂

  3. Hey Steve, it sounds like you’ve been reading “The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson! The book says basically, the same thing you’re saying. It certainly is being used to wake alot of us up to the fact that we were created with a “Dream”. It was embedded within us while still in our Mom’s womb. And sooner or later, because it was God given, it starts to perk. You know, like coffee in a perculator keeps coming to the top. The “Dream” just doesn’t let go…..We do have the ability to kill it, to give up and say, “It’s no use. I’ll never become THAT!” But if we recognize that the “Dream” is actually God’s plan for our lives, we’ll work with God to bring that plan into being.
    As old as I am, and that’s pretty old, I’m still opening myself up to the “Dream” I’ve had since I was very young. And every little while a new aspect or should I say, a new inspiration comes to me as to how to further that “Dream.” God is so good. He is so awesome. I have every confidence that my “Dream” will continue to grow until its fulfillment and I am at last home with my Savior having heard the words, “Well done, thou good and FAITHFUL servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”
    You see, being faithful to the “Dream” is what will earn that response from the Lord. That’s what I aim to be!

  4. I read your note, and I senses something inside me relating to it, faint but there…

    p.s. you mis-spelled optimistic ( you spelled it optomistic)…

    [via Facebook]

  5. Your “Change Begins With Recognition” ironically parallels, albeit more eloquently, what I have been thinkng and feeling. At least in the sense that I’ve found myself taking more truthful stock of my situations–and in that “truth” has been a mix of not just the usual negative spins I put on things, but some real positive discoveries, joys and truth about who I am, where I am and where I may wind up going/becoming. Part of that has been making friends with some of the “if onlys” and “I wish thats” in the sense that I don’t have to know all of God’s picture to believe and accept His handiwork is still in progress. And all the times I’ve come to realize over my life that I’ve been where I’ve needed to be…so, can I finally accept that He won’t stop loving me in that manner? Placing me and keeping me in the places He wants me to be until the next leg of the journey is at hand?

    Anyway…wonderfully written piece, Steve. And I totally agree that change not only starts but makes sense once we accept and embrace the truth. Those realities, good and bad (and those we might be unsure about).

    And it also parallels a conversation I had with a musician friend about who we are versus who we started out to be in life and what got in the way. I found myself talking about those talents and dreams that God created in the first place, and how, at 53, I’m “getting my life back” in many ways, most dramatically, via my music.

    Wow…and I should say this is not the first time something you’ve written has impacted me and made me think or just made me feel a bit more grounded, but I did want you to know how much this has touched me today and how much you have helped make this day seem to fit into the “bigger picture” a bit more clearly.

    Best always

    [via Facebook]

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