I have had a lot of time in the last week. Time alone. Well, not exactly alone. I’ve been watching my friend’s two cats, Moo and Sadie. I love cats. It has been so nice to have them here and to hear them purr. I miss a cat’s purr.
But I digress.
What does one do when one is spending time in the back of the house with the two furry guests because the one furry inhabitant of the house doesn’t appreciate the guests’ appearance? One thinks. A lot. On my mind this week has been the idea of self change. You see, there are many areas in my life that I want to change. The problem is, I am unable to execute the changes needed. At least in my own strength.
If you know me and have read any of my writings, you may think I am a bit bipolar. It’s okay. Sometimes I think I am a bit bipolar as well. My mind can go from thinking something positive to thinking on something–sometimes the same thing–negative before I even know what hit me. I don’t like that about me. I want it to change.
My kids would tell you that I am a bit overprotective and I worry a lot. I don’t like that either. I want it to change.
My husband would testify that I am often very critical of myself and others and that I don’t trust anyone. I don’t like this either. I want it to change.
As I think about these things–and a list of others–that I want to change, I find myself getting overwhelmed. It’s like being really thirsty but instead of drinking water from a glass, I am trying to gulp down the entire ocean. Overwhelming.
This morning, as part of my Bible study, I read some verses in the book of John. The focused verse was the one where Jesus told his disciples that He was the vine and they were the branches. If they remained in the vine, then they could accomplish much–they could bear fruit. But, if they did not remain in the vine, then no fruit would be pleasant. I began to ponder those words.
I thought about how, as a kid, I would try to plant branches my dad had cut off from our tree. He used to tell me that the branch could not grow even if I planted it in good soil and watered it. Once it was cut off from the root (the vine) it was destined for death.
There were two applications I took away from this.
First, God is my root. When I water my garden in the summer, I don’t just spray the leaves of the plants. The leaves are incapable of giving the plant water. I need to water the soil in which it is planted so that the roots can soak up the water and carry it to the rest of the plant. If I don’t water the correct part of the plant, it will die. Since my root is not me (selfishness) but rather God, I need to make sure that it is God who is feeding me. How? By spending time with Him–in His Word and in prayer.
Second, I need to remain in God. Let’s go back to my garden. If a plant gets pulled out from the soil, it will die. I can’t lay a seed on top of the deck and expect it to grow. The same is true for me. I can’t play on Facebook or Twitter, watch television for hours a day, read magazines and such and expect to grow spiritually. I need to be planted in God and remain in God. If at any time I realize that growth has stopped, I should look to see where I am “planted”. If it isn’t in the soil (God), then I need to return to it. The awesome thing about God is He will graft me back into the soil should I sincerely come to Him and ask. Most of the time, once a garden plant is pulled from the soil, if not quickly replanted, it cannot survive. God is a God of second chances. And third. And fourth even. He sees my heart and He knows if I am sincerely sorry for leaving the soil in the first place. My attitude has to be correct.
As for my list of things I so desperately want to change in me? I am working on giving that list to God. He will change me in His time. I often am hard on myself and believe others to not want to be around me because of my attitude. I can understand if that is how they feel. I probably wouldn’t want to be around me either. Sometimes I wonder if I am meant to be an island, especially when I hear someone positively affirm a character trait in someone else that I desperately want to be in me.
I’m not always sure where I stand with people. A person can say I am loved, but I wonder if that is just what it is–a saying, a platitude to make me feel better but has no truth to it. For now, I am thankful that I have some furry visitors who love me unconditionally. People let me down once again. Through this, I am trying to remember that people will let me down, but God never will.