Every New Year Begs the Question, “Can I Ever Really Change?”
The energetic and ardent sound of Gungor, what some have called an Alt-Folk band, has captured the attention of millions of followers since 2010.
With good reason.
One of my favorite pieces is their song, Beautiful Things. Beautiful Things grabbed me the first time I heard the moving lyrics purr out of lead vocalist Lisa Gungor’s mouth.
It did so within the first stanza by asking a most penetrating question.
The question is one that dogs every human alive. It’s also one we face head-on with the passing of each the new year.
Recognizing the pain that lurks within us and looms around us, Gungor asks:
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change, at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come out from this ground, at all?
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way?
I wonder if my life could really change, at all?
A question we all ask, especially this time of year!
Join Me on a 2018 Journey into Change
This question, “Can my life really change, at all,” is one I will tackle over and over again in 2018.
It’s a question that comes with a hopeful answer that must be discovered in the midst of our frantic and often frenetic way of living.
The Anatomy of Change and Transformation
First, I am going to explore what it means to change.
Next, I will explore what’s required to achieve lasting change.
Before you make that long list of new year’s resolutions (or, if you’re anything like me, anniversaries of last year’s resolutions), take a second and read a little further.
You might just find that you’ve been going at this whole ‘change’ thing wrong all along.
It may not be your drive to change that is the problem (which does tend to wane around the third week of the year). Instead, it may be how you’ve defined what it means to change and the energy you’re investing in order to achieve it!
Change: To Break Apart
Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, offers some insight when he says,
“The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But transformation more often happens not when something new begins but when something old falls apart. The pain of something old falling apart—disruption and chaos—invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place because the old place is not working anymore.”
Rohr’s words remind me that profound change, lasting change, occurs when things around us fall apart.
This idea is the central thread behind this blog, Disruptus Renovatus (To Break Apart and Restore To Life).
DisruptusRenovatus is a transliteration of old English/Latin terms. I use the past participial form to emphasize their adjectival capacity. In other words, the terms are used to describe an ongoing and ever-growing experience of spiritual formation.
When used together they accentuate a cherished belief: lasting change requires ongoing disruption. I find this to be particularly true when speaking of deep, inner change associated with spiritual formation.
Asking Questions More than Knowing Answers or Making Resolutions
If I am right on this, it means that change begins the moment one becomes aware of (and is willing to disrupt) patterns/behaviors that are holding them captive to a life they no longer wish to live.
Awareness and willingness is only the beginning, but quite frankly, it’s often the most difficult part of the journey.
Because most of us are blissfully unaware of the area(s) in our life in which change is required (somewhat like a blind-spot). Even worse, many of us are blatantly unwilling to admit that we need to change.
It’s just too easy to blame someone else for the problems all around and within us.
- Work environment.
The first step is to become aware of the default mechanisms we’ve erected over a lifetime of navigating the same terrain!
That’s just where we begin.
The second part of this multi-layered process is to then become attentive to more fulfilling and life-giving possibilities.
Aware of and Attentive to What Needs to be Redirected or Realigned
It’s just a matter of redirecting our focus and realigning our loves. We will take a look at that in the next post.
For now, before you go about the task of declaring and committing to a new slate of resolutions that looks depressingly similar to last year’s slate, I want to conclude by asking you to reflect on the following questions:
- Can I honestly assess the areas of my life that are broken?
- Do I regularly depend on patterns or return to things that are fundamentally in need of repair (pride, lies, image-management, alcohol, anger, porn, etc.)?
- Am I willing to submit my life to the scrutiny of someone who loves me (caring husband, loving wife, courageous friend, compassionate parent, etc.) and hold their opinion in high regard?
Change can happen, and it requires far less effort than you’ve been lead to believe.
It’s all a matter of where you turn your attention, what you’re willing to surrender, and how you align your affections!
Disrupting to Renew!