Change: The Road to Healing with Hope

Today I chose to take another route home after taking my son to school. Typically, I race straight home or to the office, directly to my desk and dive in to work.

Change
(Image by Samuel Foster on Unsplash)

Today was different. I needed space—which is getting harder to come by in our town. I realized this as I navigated my way home, deciding to visit a few places that carry significant meaning for me.

I stopped by the place I first met my now-husband after vowing to never remarry. (Never say never!)

I drove under a canopy of trees shading the lake and fountain I used to sit by to clear my head, and I glanced up at the windows of Insight for Living Ministries’ former office building.

I finally turned the corner and saw where my daughter and son went to high school. She’s now married; he’s about to finish college.

Then, I drove by the neighborhood elementary school my son went to when he was 9; he’s now 20.

Ch- Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes

We moved to Frisco, Texas, ten years ago. In my neighborhood, there was . . .

  • One gas station
  • Two high schools
  • A few corner cafes

And some subdivisions surrounded by wheat and corn fields that waved quietly in the afternoon breeze. Quiet, organic, twenty minutes from the mall.

Then what seems like millions of people and thousands of businesses decided this little town was a fabulous place to plant their American dreams.

Those fields are now layered with apartments and parking garages, swanky hotels, chic restaurants, and, of course, the Dallas Cowboys new headquarters.

A lot has cropped up in ten years.

Growth may surround us, but often we don’t notice it until we look back, slow down, and choose another way home.

Not only are we surrounded by change, but every day we change. It may be minute or monumental, but we are creatures who are constantly transforming.

Biologically, not one cell in the human body remains the same—each one cycles through death and regeneration. Emotionally, our feelings shift, shrink, grow, and change our focus and perspectives.

Change in our soul and spirit—the deepest and most powerful level of change—is the most significant area of movement in our lives. It’s wonderful to reflect and remember how God has provided.

It’s vital to recall those humanly impossible situations that turned into miraculous healing by God’s providential, protective hand.

However, reflecting on God’s provision doesn’t make the transformation process easy. We often resist change because it is messy, uncomfortable; it forces us to be vulnerable.

When we are vulnerable in new spaces, we must wrestle with a vast lack of confidence because we haven’t developed the skills to move through what is unfamiliar or different.

We cannot transform and grow if we choose to resist change.

The reason I needed to drive home another way to reflect and remember originated with a recent comment one of my editors offered me on one of my recent blog post drafts.

She read past my words (which is the best kind of editor or friend to have) and observed—unbeknownst to her—a soul issue I needed to face. Her intention was not to call me on the carpet, knowing God consistently does that better than anyone.

Talking

(Image by Samuel Foster on Unsplash)

It was to point out a different perspective; she was writing from a place of wholeness, where I had written from a place of being wounded in a church situation.

Sharifa began . . .

So, can I be honest? I don’t recommend your negative generalization of “most Christians.” You can FEEL this way, but I advise against shepherding people this way. Here is what I suggest:

Point to Jesus.

Point to God ministering to Elijah after he was exhausted and terrified.

Point to Jesus laying hands on lepers and talking about marriage with the woman at the well.

Talk about His easy yoke and light burden.

Talk about Jesus drawing the scorn and slander of many, His unjust trial, His undeserved execution.

Talk about His nakedness on that cross; they humiliated Him and He could not even cover Himself.

He is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.

Then draw the contrast. When we—Christians—ignore pain, when we minimize it, when we offer platitudes without compassion . . . we are not following Christ’s model.

I was “acquainted” with my sorrow, hurt, betrayal . . . not with how Jesus longed to heal these places should I choose His transforming process. I needed to become “acquainted” with God’s healing.

“Most Christians”—including me—will be both hurt and hurtful at times. Whether we were in a Christian church, fully unchurched, or somewhere in between; we all have been hurt and we all have hurt others.

If we allow Christ into our hurt places instead of building walls of protection, we move toward soul change. When we accept responsibility for wounding others or for holding on to a grudge, we are embarking on a new route.

We become vulnerable . . . and HUMBLED. We step into soul change, which is the most powerful of all change in our lives.

It Takes Humility

To be humbled is not comfortable, but it’s necessary. For your life to point to Christ and not to your own pain requires humility. You may believe you have a “right to _________” (you name it), but that’s not necessarily true.

I haven’t found in Scripture where Jesus said He had a list of “rights.” Instead, Jesus’ life was the way. He pointed to God and fully submitted to His Father’s will.

The Lord indeed ministered to Elijah, lepers, prostitutes, and so many others. He gave them room to lament, to struggle, to ask Him for help, and experience His transformative power. The Lord calls us to do the same.

Read Psalm 131 for a picture of humble expectancy:

LORD, my heart is not proud;

my eyes are not haughty.

I don’t concern myself with matters too great

or too awesome for me to grasp.

Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,

like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.

Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD

now and always.

Where do you place your hope? Is your life a signpost to the God whom you serve? Are you willing to listen to those who see your pain and call you to a higher ground? Is life more about getting even or giving honor to God, the one who sent His son to die for you and me?

Let Me Hear from You

This will take courage, but I’m asking anyway: Will you ask someone close to you to tell you what area of your life distracts or discounts Christ’s transforming work in your life?

Will you be brave and step into the discomfort, not leaning on excuses or lists of who has hurt you? Will you be willing to learn how to live differently? Maybe you need to recalculate a transformational new route to healing by letting God lead the way.

Let’s discuss the topic of change this week.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • Scotty Sullivan

    Good stuff kid! Sometimes we have to drive farther to get a better perspective of where we’ve been…. its worth the drive….roll down… slow down

    Blessings

    Scotty

    • Scotty,
      My dear friend!!!! How did I know you would connect to this?!?!?!
      In fact, I thought of you as I was driving and rolled down my windows, slowed, and took it in. You’ve made an unforgettable place in my heart; so thankful our paths crossed when they did.
      How are you, your lovely bride, and your work? Would love to hear how the Lord is working in ya’lls lives. Thank you for being an agent of change in mine.
      Have a great weekend. So good to connect. Colleen

      • Scotty Sullivan

        We are doing well! The Lord blesses us daily, and my latest work project allows me to work from home!! I was becoming quite road weary ( imagine that ). It is wonderful to sleep in my own bed and be home with sweet Mary. I always enjoy your posts, raw and real. My prayers always for your peace, your family’s peace….the strength and courage required to just “live” and share. Someday we will lay our heads on that eternal pillow and finally exhale. Sounds good huh? Please be sure to give regards and blessings to all of your family….special hugs for your sweet momma, loved her talk on healing and forgiveness. Tell your dad I have adopted him as my grandfather as I didn’t have one as a child. Thankful for our paths crossing, and you never know, I’ve been known to show up, sit in the front row…….blessings in HIM….

  • Gina Marie

    Yep, spoken from my woundedness instead of healing a number of times the last couple of weeks. This confirms my conviction to ask forgiveness from a friend, and approach another needed conversation from healing not pain.

    Been silent from down south of the equator here, but kept up with your posts and continued to pray.
    Gina

    • My dear friend, Gina….SO great to hear from you!!!!!
      How great is our God…to put what was needed into words that will hopefully bring reconciliation in your relationships. I’m so with you, girl…seeking forgiveness is so humbling and so healing. I pray you find comfort in knowing we all will hurt others at times, yet healing comes when we are willing to seek forgiveness. Way to go, I would love to hear how things turn out. You are a delight, have a wonderful day! Colleen

  • Leesa

    Hello Colleen,
    Thank you for being so raw and real, we all need each other and in this loving friend Sharifa who edits and proofreads has shown you kindness. I often wonder why so many pass the opportunity of maybe a discomfort and not knowing how to be so graceful to show up as a true friend as Sharifa has here. I know you Colleen have shown up for me on numerous occasions and been remarkable just as Sharifa, so I am not surprised you have someone near you in your work that would know exactly what or how to approach this with you. As you say so many times we need each other, in the way of Jesus, gentle loving and kind. Just like when I was seeking the prayer hotline volunteer work, you were genuine with me as to your seeing I was not ready yet. There are so many other times it was you that took that step to show me the way of the Lord.
    It is interesting I read this post today as this morning I have sat with what feels like hurt, hurt of becoming increasingly aware of those non believers that speak offensively of Jesus and God almighty as if there is no authority and with such hatred. Well I think last nite I could not let it go, I was not following His way, in that I had to find a car magnet that expressed hey, stop this hatred! and I read every car magnet saying, and found myself reading more hate blogs out there regarding “keep Christ in Christmas” and how many do not believe this is even truth. Colleen, I love our Lord with all my heart and soul, and this hatred today has me sad, so I called my Pastor this morning and left him a voicemail that I know I can pray, but what else is it that God is leading me to do in “His way”, what do I need let go of in what “feels” I need defend and “protect” our God, Our Lord Christ and all He has endured for our salvation. I will speak to my Pastor in person probably this evening about all this. I signed up for an outreach group at Church upcoming yet I believe I need still more scripture under my belt, so I will discuss this with him also.
    Thank you Colleen for always being who you are, so Loved you are, so real and true always, and for taking the step to share these most raw changes that do require us to be ever so vulnerable and humble, Thank you for your tender spirit, and for expressing with all of us on your blog as you grow and change, and become increasingly aware of the self reflection that you have spoken of, and sharing with us all . We all I believe are remarkable works of God and we all have these passages that we may get stuck, your being so honest and open with insight from your journey leads to the encouragement ,hope, insight and inspiration of another. Lets stay connected,we need each other , and even more than ever in these times of change in our world of Christianity and in an uncertain world as a whole.
    Thank YOU!
    I am hoping too that you did receive the envelope ,some material great for identifying trigger and old beliefs and ask is this really true? to become aware and add to how to change old belief patterns which I am currently recognizing within myself what is with my soul that can distract from remembering His way.
    With loving care,
    Leesa

    • Leesa,
      I have found that when one has endured such abuse and mistreatment through life (my life included); there is an all-out, full blown passion to protect others who are mistreated. When there is such disrespect, especially towards the Lord, our internal response is incredibly powerful. In psychological terms, this is sometimes called transference. Without realizing it, we can transfer our emotional responses to certain situations onto others, believing they feel just as we do. When, in reality, we can’t know how others truly feel unless we ask them or seek to understand. As a Christian, when Christ is made fun of, put down, spoken of with disrespect and even disdain, those who have endured mistreatment can often “transfer” our internal emotions, believing Christ must be feeling what we are actually feeling. Because Christ is perfect and unchanging, He may grieve for the soul of the lost person who is being rude; but doesn’t feel “hurt” or rejected like we may think. Often, this is an excellent time to stop and examine why the feelings in you are so strong. Perhaps there is grief you have yet to release connected to your own childhood pain and mistreatment, anger that no one stood up for you so you want to ‘stand up’ for others-even Christ. Ask Christ to help you identify what is in you that needs to be expressed, grieved, worked through, resolved.
      I will also add, as I’ve come to know you, your spirit is tremendously tender, highly intuitive, and longs for peace. When there is mistreatment towards others, your natural instinct is to truly ‘feel’ their pain. Many caregivers and those who have been wounded also have a highly developed intuition. So my encouragement to you is to ask the Lord to help you care with empathy and understanding but keep you from taking on what is not yours. He will have the final say, justice will be served to those who reject Christ. Our job is to guard our hearts from exhaustion and assumption; and to always ask the Lord for direction when our internal reactions are strong. I hope that makes sense.
      Yes, my dear friend and editor is a treasure. I sat in her office last week talking through another post I had written which needed more discussion. When a person is safe, we are able to hear their words more clearly. That is Sharifa; fully safe, fully honest, fully loving. I’m so thankful for her friendship. It is not common to find such safe people; I pray the Lord brings such a friend into your life as well. You are such a gift to this world, please let me know if you have questions. Colleen

      • Leesa

        Hello Colleen.
        I had a deeper gut feeling that there was something more to what strength of emotion and sadness was overcoming me. I am so glad that I reached out to see further what was beneath my reaction. I could not totally grasp it myself. I appreciate your sensitivity and genuine care to point to Him as I am doing today grappling with what is I believe hurt and residual anger that I too am identifying in trauma program and can benefit through the art therapy some release wound is still unexpressed and not yet healed. I wondered why I was feeling so exhausted. I had not felt so sad and tired in such a long while and it began building as some of the siblings I have become closer in a building relationship are away in Aruba on a vacation. I am happy for them and I realized a little sad too that I am not as close in a relationship yet to be included. Financially even if their asking me join I would not have been able right now anyway. And it just seemed I was picking up too much anger toward Christ and Christianity as a surprise and shock really how suddenly I viewing online , the news I mentioned nyc and sometimes need just not read – this time it was just before me that I did take on personally .
        I agree there iare more old wounds I am bringing to our Lord and I know I will find the way through.
        Yes Sarifa is a wonderful true friend and editor. I pray too that our Lord bring me someone of male friend have in a marriage to be this kind of friendship too. And a friend I can treasure outside my marriage for healthy balance of the dynamic of having a healthy woman fellowship /friendship that just knows you as you seem see me and know me as the layers I am and who wants also best for me always .
        Thank you for this insight. It validates a lot what I need still grow with .
        Have a great afternoon and holiday weekend rest and restore and heal is wished for you and family
        With lioving care
        Leesa

        • Leesa,
          WOW, incredible! Yes, this life is not our home and we ALL are a work in progress. How fantastic that you can take this to therapy and dive into your heart asking the Lord to release your sorrow and heal what is wounded. You are tremendous; so enduring and determined to allow God to transform you. You are a rare gem; I’m so honored to be walking this path with you. Have a great weekend. Colleen