March is typically thought of as a month of transition from winter to spring. So far, there’s not been much evidence of spring. The occurrence of three snowstorms, with one so quickly following the other, has caused much distress in this country. I long for sunshine and warmer temperatures. I wish like in the movie “Frozen” that spring would instantly and magically appear. I wish that this same kind of instant transformation would take place in my transition from an imperfect-performing follower of Jesus to a perfect-everyday-in-every-way saint.
What I wanted and hoped for, years ago when I committed myself to a relationship with Christ, was instant perfection and a problem-free life. I thought that these would be automatic benefits which would be granted to me without any effort on my part. These are not the promises that Jesus made.
He said,” In this world, you will have trouble”; his next words were “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). He also says to us in the words of his follower Paul, “work out your own salvation” (Philippians 2:12 ESV). We do this through what I call the “dynamic dance of choosing grace.”
As I said in Emotional Freedom: The Choices We Must Make, this dance with Jesus “has two basic steps–grace and responsibility. Grace is God’s step of love toward me. Responsibility is my step of love toward him”.
Jesus is not a magician. He does not mysteriously and instantly transform his followers from foul-smelling skunks or fearful, hiding, turtles into loving and courageous creatures. Character transformation does not occur in a straight, steady, upward line of progress. It’s marked with ups and downs, yet who I am today is significantly different than who I was yesterday.
Like the month of March, I’m still in transition and my performance varies from day to day. I believe that God will keep his promise to complete the work of transformation that he initiated. (Philippians 1:6) Therefore, I live in confidence not shame.
Like March, I can’t make up my mind
Some days I’m cold; some days I’m warm
Eventually, produce a storm
In this season of transition
Sometimes I laugh; sometimes I cry
I want to move into the future
It’s tough to tell the past goodbye
Although winter means restriction
Familiarity feels safe
In the spring of growth and freedom
Will I know how to navigate?
Like March, my days are limited
Someday, the storms I face will cease
So, I will heartily pursue
Ways that advance both love and peace
I will uncover roots of fear
And with God’s help detach my mind
From the constraints which block my joy
Through truth and knowledge, I will find
Ways to manage anger and pain
So they do not control my frame
Strengthened by grace and acceptance
I am no longer owned by shame
Jane Ault 3/8/2018
The dynamic dance of choosing grace. What a lovely amazing concise phrase. It summarizes so nicely the things I have been wandering through. Thank you for clarity and published insight.
Thank you, Rich! I feel encouraged by it. Being a poet, I enjoy the ability to state things concisely, with an artistic quality.
Thank you, Jane. It is nice to know that I am in good company. I too desire to be instantly transformed, to whisk right past the hard work into the good stuff. No one wants trouble or suffering, but those are the things that bring about our transformation. It is that dying daily to self that we all want to avoid. The funny thing is Jesus did not avoid it. His death won our transformation! I appreciate this timely reminder. A great reflection for this season of Lent. This blessed me this morning!
Thank you for your comment, Sandy. Your statement, “His death won our transformation!” is powerful. Something I will meditate on, today.