Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I just realized something the other day . . . . . . I’ve changed.

I look the same as I did when I was 18, gosh I can pass for 18 (that’s 10 years baby). I don’t sound any different, I don’t look any different, I really don’t act any different, but I am different. And I’m not talking about some huge noticeable alteration of who I am. People still recognize me, people still describe me using about the same words, but I know that I am different.

Changes . . . .

They are so varying in scope and in depth.

Some changes are very noticeable; these usually deal with appearance and actions, the external. These changes are often very abrupt also, or take place over a short time period. They can be marked by miles and meters. The before and after are so distinct that you wonder how you ever were other than what you are now.

But then there are those changes that are small, that are barely discernible, the internal. They are measured in millimeters and yet years. These changes are not the product of an action or a decision; they are brought about by the eventual wearing down or slow alteration of time. These changes, while small and often undistinguishable to the naked eye are larger in scope and impact than most physical and external changes. These changes can precede an external change but they also continue long after the external is different.

Yes I have experienced the external changes. Time and life have caused alterations in my appearance, in my behavior, in my actions. But those aren’t the changes I recognized. Those are the changes I expect, the ones I take for granted, the ones that I am accustomed to experiencing.

It is the internal changes, the small baby steps of transformation that I realize have occurred. These changes almost resist definition or distinction. They are so minute and yet so basic that they occurred slowly so as not to peak my notice. It is almost as if my heart and my character have eroded to reveal these new qualities that once did not exist.

Those characteristics that I once possessed are not gone they are just softened; they are diminished if only by a degree. And replacing those parts of me that were so dominant are other new qualities that were not native to my soul.

The changes are minute; they are inconsequential in the grand scheme of life. You could overlook them, but for one thing: They are dramatic changes. While they may be small they are not insignificant.

Because these changes are core to who I am, they are the result of a process that is painful and yet freeing. A process that is marked by struggles and refining. They are the product of sanctification. Big word, simple meaning: I must decrease so Christ may increase.

Because really what is happening is a transplant of sorts, a transfusion of character, of self. The changes of the external are made often by will, by strength, by choice. But the changes of the soul, the transformation of character, those occur more slowly and not through our own hands.

Now I have attempted to make these internal changes on my own. I’ve done a pretty good job of fooling myself into believing that I could change the core of who I am, for a moment at least. But human nature will rear its ugly head and we fall back into who we naturally are. It isn’t the qualities that must be changed but the nature. For when the nature is changed, when it is released to be molded, to be formed, to be transformed, then the character will soon follow. We cannot be of one nature and exhibit the qualities of the other. I am either my old nature or I am my new. Something inside of me has to change, something has to transform when my nature itself is altered.

So this transformation, these changes are not by my hands, my works, or even my will. For me to change it must be by an outside force. I must resign myself to these changes; I must lay bare my heart for them to occur. For the most dramatic changes, the greatest alteration of our character, of our hearts, of our selves is done by the hands of another. I am only to look up with a sigh and a wince and let go.

The changes may be small; in fact they are hardly noticeable to the naked eye, if at all. But changes such as this, the transformation of character, of a heart, creates a ripple effect in our lives. So those small internal changes are seen though external ripples. My actions, my behavior are altered, not by willful choices but by the decrease in my nature and the increase of His.

KrisT asked in a recent post what my greatest accomplishment has been. I racked my brain to come up with something of great worth that I could proclaim that I had in fact achieved. And as I thought more, I realized that my greatest accomplishment is this, the changing of my heart. But the best thing about this accomplishment is that I take no credit for it, I claim no work in it, and my role was only of submission and supplication, but I reap all the fruits of His labor.


Blogger Heather said...

Isn't it absolutely incredible how the smallest grain of sand can completely change the foundation upon which we stand?

I think that we have to make sure that we always check in with ourselves and see who and where we are because change for the bad can happen as easily as change for the good and when it's such a gentle slide, you often don't notice it.

2/01/2006 1:43 PM  
Blogger krisT said...

Very beautiful post KT.. I've changed dramatically over the past year. My thought process and the way I react to things has really gotten better over this year.

Once I gave my heart to Christ, it seems like a fog had been lifted off my eyes and I could see things clearly. Also, I noticed a boulder had been removed from my shoulders.. Change is so wonderful.

Seems like the smallest changes reap the most beautiful things in the world.

2/01/2006 2:22 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

You know, those little changes that make up who we are really are the greatest accomplishments in life. No amount of fame, money, popularity, success, could ever, EVER compare or replace!

2/01/2006 2:43 PM  
Blogger green said...

That is remarkable, the changes, subtle for sure, that change a heart, a soul, a person.

Truly it can be said that He is the potter and we are but clay in His hands. Yet He will not mould you or I if we do not want Him to.

I think some people want to be moulded, need to be moulded, yet are resistant to the change.

He's been working on me for quite some time now and He's not finished yet.

Excellent post, as usual. Thanks for sharing that.

2/01/2006 4:11 PM  
Blogger Aim Claim said...

This reminded me of our lesson last night, how awesome is the replacing of the old self with the new self.

I think Margaret said... when we first take on Christ our sinful nature is stronger, but with time we gain our strengh with Christ. What a beautiful change it is... like you said, I decrease so that Christ may increase.

Good Post Katie!

2/01/2006 6:23 PM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

Way to go K-T, I am proud of you for accepting the change God has for you. I see subtle changes in myself as well. I realize that I spend way to much time on myself. What I want. What I need. Life's just too short for that. I need to spend on the things that really matter. (Although I WILL be watching Survivor tonight) :)

We do have to keep in mind that He is the potter, we are the clay, and He will mold us how He sees fit.

I struggle alot with decreasing myself so that Christ can increase His work in me. Wish it wasn't hard, but it is.

2/02/2006 7:20 AM  
Blogger Sydney said...

Dying to our human nature is such a daily choice. Great post... I think I will just make your post my daily devotion. Love your thoughts!

2/02/2006 9:39 AM  

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