Change Can be Hard
For the past several years, my wife Teri and I have been thinking, discussing, and studying the idea of finding several acres of property outside of town. We’ve coupled that with plan of downsizing (again) our abode. We did that once when she retired from her corporate career, and were sure we were ready to take smaller living another step. Certainly not all the way to tiny – since climbing a ladder to a sleeping loft has, for us, long-since lost appeal. But smaller living can certainly be less expensive to heat, cool, and maintain.
Well, during the summer of 2017, the Lord provided just such a place. More property, less house and still close to town. The financial processes of buying and selling were – interesting – but finally were completed. So far, only patience and basic human kindness were required, and no real surprises had been encountered. That is, until the financial processes were completed, and it was time to move from “idea” to “reality.”
The yard sales were fun, in that quick cash was in hand. Choosing which things to give away to those in need was rewarding. Then, the surprise; the new reality arrived. In this case, having to part with many large pieces of furniture, lamps, and other home accessories. We called a local auctioneer, and he and his men were soon due to arrive. Then we realized that the loveseats we had used for years to pray and read the Bible together – were leaving. A trusty old leather club chair in which for decades we had relaxed and napped, was leaving. And a beautiful, oak dining table, on which countless family meals and completed hobby and craft projects, was leaving as well. There would be no room for those things in the new cottage, in our new life. The excitement of less space to maintain, and more property to enjoy, was in competition with the loss of pieces which held many treasured family memories. We could not realize the new dreams, without the willingness to release the old ties.
But then another surprise. As soon as the auctioning company men came and removed the items, the dread and sadness were almost immediately replaced with a sense of relief and freedom. It caught both of us off guard, but the change was unmistakable. Our planning, thinking, discussing and studying were beginning to change, and the empty spaces in our old home where the pieces had been, meant change was arriving, and had arrived. What a relief, because we were assured the sacrifice of possessions, was leading to a simpler lifestyle.
At Community Christian Counseling we frequently talk to people about changes in their lives. More often than a topic like a voluntary change in living quarters; we listen and encourage counselees about leaving life-patterns of harmful, destructive, self-serving and often secret behaviors. As biblically-based counselors we rarely refer to those lifestyles as disorders, but rather sin. Certainly not all of those seeking help at CCC are, themselves, those caught up sinful behavior, but rather are the victims or recipients of the damage of the sins of others. But when the case effort is to confess, stop, and turn away from wrong or hurtful behavior, change is always part of the conversation.
To be free from a larger house and stuff, Teri and I had to be willing to take the necessary steps of selling, releasing and change. When, in our human weaknesses and pride, we take on sinful behaviors as a lifestyle, we have to take the necessary steps of confessing, rejecting and turning away from (repenting) of those behaviors – then replacing them with upright and Christ-honoring behaviors and attitudes. The Apostle Paul says it this way, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
That sounds right, and it is right, but is rarely easy. Temptation and sin, especially secret- sin, can seem attractive and alluring. But even when the Lord sees to it that the truth is known, and darkness is brought into the light, change can be hard to carry out. Yet the relief and freedom that are then made available can be profound. Again, Paul writes, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by slavery (to sin).”
Over the next few months our blog posts will follow this storyline. That is, what are the dangers and consequences of choosing or demanding to live in rebellion and sin; as opposed to the eternal benefits of confession, forgiveness, and renewal the Bible describes and promises? The CCC counselors will be providing posts with biblical insights real-world examples of both paths. We won’t be discussing various human disorders, but rather the blessed hope and order for life, described by Scripture and provided by the grace of our heavenly Father. I encourage you to follow along the journey of discovery! Stay tuned.
Incidentally, Teri and I have decided to think of our new residence not as a cottage, but a tiny house mansion!
Jim Evans, MHA, MS
CCC Executive Director & Counselor