Approaching Transformation Practically
Seasons of transformation carry much uncertainty. Questions of the unknown abound: Where am I going? Who am I? How am I going to survive? Will people like me? The questions we end up asking are not of the garden-variety kind. They are deeper, requiring much greater sensitivity and care to approach.
Because my fickle heart is being exposed, and the ways I have trusted upon myself for my life are being laid bare, seasons of transformation tend to be very difficult to walk through. Will we do the hard work of diving into the process, or shrink away in the face of adversity? Will the Father’s heart be formed in me, or will the repeated patterns of the past continue to dominate my everyday life?
Back in 2015 I had a dream. In the dream the Lord had said, “My acceptance of you is not based upon who you are but who I am, and I love you.” In the dream I began prophesying and weeping, and then jumped off of a cliff. A bowl was collecting all of my tears.
In years past, I had prophesied because I could gain the acceptance of others. Years after realizing that, I came to grips that I prophesied because of the rush I received from the prophetic word. The Lord had to strike a death blow to both of those insecurities in my heart. My rest had to come from His acceptance of me. Not because I had done anything, and not because I could do anything. This would require great faith (the leap in the dream) and would move me to tenderness (weeping in the dream).
I can safely say that God will faithfully walk you through difficult seasons of transitions. Paul recognized this:
Philippians 1:6-7 Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
Paul was convinced that God would walk the church of Philippi through difficult seasons because he was a partaker of the same grace that was with them. God had sustained Paul and Paul was sure that God would sustain them.
Through seasons of transitions I have learned three keys that will help you wade the murky waters of your inner life.
Don’t beat yourself up
God does not break a bruised reed, nor does he extinguish a struggling candle. He will care for your broken heart; let Him.
Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.
God deals with us softly and gently, but our problem is that we have allowed certain areas of our lives to become overrun with complacency. This verse should make you ask, “How tender am I?” A bruised reed and smoking flax are both tender, supple, and require care and attention. How attentive are you your own brokenness, lack, self-worth, and need? And not from other people, but from God. When we recognize that we could be snuffed out in a moment, we are apt to take greater care in recognizing our condition and running to him. Unfortunately, we rarely do this.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
When you are beating yourself up remind yourself that God is tender. When Adam and Eve fell He did not come into the garden and kick them out. He asked, “Where are you?” When your tendency is to beat yourself up, hear the soft answer of the Father, “Where is your heart?” The only question that really matters is: “How connected is your heart with His?”
The Father’s heart is for me
A few years ago, when I was attempting to walk through a difficult season, I spent the morning watching a video of a couple prophesying over a number of people in the congregation. At each prophetic word, waves of the love of the Father would wash over me. I was crying over each individual destiny as it was proclaimed. I was stunned at the goodness of the Father. He is absolute love and He loves His people absolutely. I couldn’t fathom what was working deep in my heart.
Then the Lord said to me, “You are My friend. you are weeping over My people.” I knew something profound was taking place (especially in that season). I wasn’t quite sure what He was doing, but I knew I was beginning to care for what He cared for.
Then the Lord followed with this, “Could you weep over yourself?”
Just as the Father’s heart was for each and every one of those people in that room, so it was for me. The same way I wept over His great love for each of them, so I could weep over His great love for me.
When you begin to grasp a realization of His heart, repentance becomes the most normal recourse for your life. Not repentance in the sense of sackcloth and ashes, but in the sense of a lifestyle. Repentance begins the process of unwinding what you have become, in the same way God does not remember your sin, repentance is forgetting what you have been (with all its pain, trauma, and heartache) and embraces who you are created to become.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.
There is only one thing that scripture says that the all-knowing, all-encompassing God has ever forgotten. That is your sin. Could you do the same for yourself? And for others?
Prayer is simple, it is merely a heart turn
The spiritual journey is one of union, not of knowledge. For a long time I exchanged the two, thinking the quest for knowledge was the quest for God, they are not the same. Knowledge does not transform, a union of hearts is what transforms.
“Prayer is nothing else but the application of the heart to God, and the interior exercise of love.” Madame Guyon
Prayer is a lifting of the heart. It is setting your affection upon the Father. The Father’s heart never leaves you. If He seems distant it is a reflection on your heart, not on His.
While I was on an extended trip away from my wife and family, I was thinking of them fondly because I missed them. The Father intervened in my thought process and said, “Long for Me the way you long your wife.” As our destiny is to dwell and abide with Him the most natural thing to do when you are not with the one you love is to long for them and wish they were present. This is the simplicity of prayer. It is a longing in the heart to be with the object of your affection.
In John 14, 15, & 16, Jesus claims that the Holy Spirit will come to us to dwell in the heart and that we are to abide in Him and He in us. This means that our natural home is within the Father. Prayer is recognizing that when your heart is absent from the Father, you are have been given the open invitation to place it right back in His care.
The journey towards Christ is not one of knowledge. You are not united in minds with Christ, you are united in Spirit.
I Corinthians 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
He does not promise to dwell within your mind, but within your heart. This is a far deeper union than that of the thought life. You are called to move with God, and you must be moved by Him and not by the world. Be moved by Him and not by others. This is the true simplicity of prayer.