Thoughts on growth and change

I think I always thought some day I'd "get there."  This wasn't an overt belief.  More like subtle conditioning. After all, in school we are taught that we are working to graduation, then we graduate and life doesn't feel all that different. There are simply more goals to chase.

Internally, I was operating under a similar idea.  Again, not taught exactly. In church there was a lot of emphasis on unwavering faith and because that faith was defined in terms of a doctrine, there wasn't a lot of room for change or discovery spiritually.

Once, I was having a conversation with a friend whose faith I deeply admire and he said something to the effect that we needed firm beliefs to anchor us.  I pointed out that this was a terrible metaphor.  After all, so much in Scripture is about movement.  The first instruction to Adam and Eve was to go. The first Hebrew temple was a tent that moved with the Jews. Jesus traveled and sent his disciples out and his last words were to "go". The Holy Spirit is described as wind and fire. The Apostle Paul makes journeys. Anchored boats aren't serving their purpose.

It isn't that anchors aren't sometimes useful.  It is more that we like things that stay still. We would prefer to camp rather than getting up each morning to follow "a pillar of fire by day or a cloud by night."

I think what I discovered that I didn't see coming is that God is so big and so vibrant, that a relationship with Him is continually moving us. And maybe this spiritual dynamic of movement is why it is so important for us to know that God doesn't change--that He is the same "yesterday, today and forever." And while God doesn't change, I have found that He seems to be extremely fond of blowing up my images of Him. It strikes me as significant that the second commandment is to not make any carved images of God. We may not do it in stone anymore, but we do it mentally all the time. We like our gods to come in neatly defined boxes so that we know the height, depth and breadth of them.

When we are young, most of our knowledge of God comes from externals...through pastors, Sunday School teachers, doctrine and the like--which feels measurable. But for those who mature in their faith by meeting with God daily, the knowledge becomes internal. Just like having coffee with a really close friend, the relationship is intimate and personal. Never static and always hints at the vastness that has yet to be discovered.

God doesn't change, but as He reveals more of Himself it always requires us to change.  I think what keeps surprising me is how little time I get to spend with the anchor dropped.

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Maira Gall