Recently my teenage daughter, Ana, has been having friend problems at school. As teenagers they are learning who they are and how they fit in the world. Sometimes to fit they try to change themselves or change others. In a conversation with my daughter we considered change and some of its ramifications. I mentioned how many couples think they can change the behaviors of the significant other and agreed that this theory can be applied to any relationship. The other thing I pointed out to her was maybe this wasn’t the best thing to think. We agreed that a better theory to go by is instead of trying to change someone we should focus on changing how we, ourselves respond to the other person.
After I dropped her off at school and was on my walk I thought more about our conversation. I began to wonder; how often do I try to change God? How often do I try and fit Jesus into a box of my making?
My answer unfortunately: Most of the time. In the last few days I have been presented with an opportunity that I would dearly love to embrace. As I explore the opportunity I have a deep gut wrenching feeling that if I discuss it with my husband, he will say no and I will be forced to acknowledge that it doesn’t fit in our budget. So I pray, but in my prayer I am saying God make this happen; create a way for me to take advantage of it. I am disappointed when he doesn’t answer and start to wonder why He would dangle this carrot in front of me, when He knows there is no possible way I can take advantage of it unless He intervenes. I expect Him to change and meet my expectations on my terms.
As the days pass and I become more and more dissatisfied, my intransigent position begins to crumble, my prayers begin to change. I realize that I am putting God in my box, expecting Him to change and do things my way.
My prayer morphs into “Thy will be done, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for me.” The answer may not be the one that I want, but it will be the one that God has in store for me, the one that is best for me.
The flip side of the change coin is changing ourselves. This can be both good and bad for us. Now don’t get me wrong her; I am not saying that we should never change. It is how we change that makes the difference. If we didn’t change we would become stagnant, stuck in the same patterns and places. Change comes through education, growth and faith as we strive to meet Jesus where He is.
So, back to the teenagers; they are trying to fit in and in so doing may try to be something they’re not. Ana has a friend, a very nice young lady. She is the polar opposite of Ana. While Ana is an introvert the other young lady is an extravert. The girls like different kinds of music, have different tastes in clothing and lifestyles, but they are friends in spite of these differences. This may seem like a good thing, and for the most part it is. However it’s not all a pretty picture. The young lady in question does what she can to change herself into being more like Ana. She feels if she can be more like Ana that Ana will like her more. What she doesn’t see, in her efforts to change herself, is that Ana and their other friends already like her for who she is, for the lovely young lady God created her to be. It’s when she tries to change herself, to conform to the others that the troubles start. Ana and the other friends don’t want a carbon copy of themselves. They like her for who she truly is.
Too often I am like this young lady, trying to fit myself into some perceived notion of who I should be instead of seeing and accepting the person God made. God doesn’t need me to change this way. There are many issues and things happening in the world today that need changing by the person God created me to be, not the person that tries to conform themselves into something other than what He meant.
My Prayer for myself, those teenage girls and for all of us is that we see ourselves and world through God’s eyes. May we see the beauty within ourselves and the world as God intended.