I get the frustrated email all the time. “Wayne, it doesn’t seem like anything is happening in me.” People who go on a journey to learn to live in the love of the Father get impatient when change doesn’t come as fast as they hope for. I understand. Many are used to intellectual change. I hear something. I believe it. And then I should be able to apply it to my life.
But transformation doesn’t work that way. We may know God loves us, but letting him win us into the reality of that love takes time. It may even seem as if nothing is happening and we begin to doubt either God’s love or the process. I’ve watched over many years as people write me frustrated that they don’t seem to be “getting it.” In fact Brad and I recently did a podcast on what may be the scientific reason Why Transformation Takes Time. If you missed it, you might want to give it a listen.)
I try to tell people to relax in the Father’s affection and to relax in the process of how he changes us. I know it isn’t easy. We want quick-fixes and be in control. But we can’t rush it. It isn’t ours to do. All we can do is just lean into him each day as much as we are able and set our affections on him. Yes, we’ll make mistakes. Certainly we’ll fee trapped by habit patterns and ways of thinking that don’t seem to change. But what we miss is what’s going on deep down in the core of our lives, beneath the level of us simply trying to act better.
That’s why I tell people to let it unfold the way God wants, even if it takes two or three years to see progress. I know that’s hard, but one day you’ll begin to see that things have been shifting in your life and now you are able to transit circumstances with more freedom that we’ve had before. That’s when you’ll know God is doing the work not you. Like Paul, you’ll end up with nothing to boast about except him and his work in you.
I got this email earlier this week from someone I’ve been in touch with over the past few frustrated years. Look at what God has done:
I (am now experiencing) what I have been seeking for years. I can only describe it as heavy warm feeling on my chest that leaves me feeling peaceful and I am left with an excited expectation for what is next to come in my life and that all is well. I found out I have grown into Fathers reality a lot more than I ever dreamed because when the chips were down and I came to the end of me, grief lost its power, fear had no effect and I was left with a simple faith knowing he is in control. That’s the only way I know how to explain it. I was growing up all along and didn’t even know it.
I love that. Changing by our own strength is much quicker, but it doesn’t last long and we soon slip back in our old patterns. Transformation works more deeply, helping us think differently from the inside, so that we live differently on the outside. I hope this email encourages those of you for whom change seems to be moving too slowly. He is at work in you. You’ll see it one day and then you’ll overflow with thanksgiving.