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When I Can't Change


I want to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self controlled. I know this leads to better relationships and the true things I desire in life. No matter how hard I try, I cannot be any of these things on my own. I simply do not have it in me because I am not naturally any of these things.

Learning about how to produce the fruits of the Spirit only causes frustration because of  repeated failed attempts at an outward form. I may be able to keep it up for a while, but eventually an unexpected hardship, an insurmountable offense, or a situation that catches me off guard will cause who I really am to surface. Who I truly am will always be revealed in hardship and everyday family life where I am truly seen. I cannot act in ways I have not experienced. Where I am reacting and acting in ways that are harmful, I need God. HE is the one who changes me from the deep places so I am not ACTING more healthy or whole, but I AM more healthy and whole. When I am pressed, who I AM will always be seen.

When I begin to see and receive who he is towards me, I will begin to act that way towards others. I can only give what I have received.

He is loving towards me. He cannot be anything other than that because he IS love. The definition of love is him. There is nothing I can do to outrun it, or keep it at bay. It surrounds me all the time and every day of my life whether I am aware of it or not (Psalm 103:11) Any time I have experienced true sacrificial love in my life, it is only a fraction of his love for me (I John 4:8). When I am loved, I can give love (I John 4:19).

He is joyful over me and rejoices over me with songs of joy (Zephaniah 3:17). Not only does he not grow tired or weary of me, but he enjoys me. I do not annoy him, aggravate him or confuse him. He does not tolerate me, but wants me. When I know I am enjoyed, I will enjoy others and bring joy to those around me.

He is patient with me (2 Peter 3:9; Psalm 86:5; Psalm 103:13-14). The way I act is not confusing to him. Rather, he understands everything about me and wants me to come to him in my weakness and with my sin. He carried my sin and shame so I wouldn’t have to. Grace is a gift he loves to give when I come to him. His goal is closeness to me and that was demonstrated when he chose the cross for me rather than distance from me. His patience will help me be patient with those around me.

He can bring peace to any situation. The peace he brings is a guard against anxiety and stress (Philippians 4:6-7) All I have to do is bring those fears, worries, anxious thoughts and hard situations to him and he will begin to exchange those with a quiet confidence in him. My perspective will begin to change as I begin to measure my situation against who he is. As a result of the peace, I will be more peaceful and will bring peace instead of add to the chaos.

His disposition towards me is kindness. His kindness is inexhaustible and he saved me in order to show me kindness forever (Ephesians 2:6-7). It is not based on who I am, but rather on who he is. Because of his kindness, I do not have to fear coming to him. Rather, I want to be with him because he is a safe place for me in my everyday life. His kindness puts my heart at rest and enables me to be kind to others in my life.

He can’t be anything other than good and he has good intentions towards me (Psalm 119:68). Everything he does is right, and is done from a place of wisdom, integrity and honor. I can trust him to never humiliate me or use me for his own gain. His goodness towards me enables me to begin to see the value in others and no longer use them to fulfill needs in me, but rather look for ways to honor them.

His faithfulness is steady and he will never leave me. His faithfulness surrounds me in my everyday life and because of it I am not exposed and without safety (Psalm 91:4). I never have to wonder if he is there and ready to act on my behalf and on the behalf of those around me. He does not leave me on my own, but surrounds me with himself. Because of his faithfulness, I can be confident I am never alone and he will see me through whatever situation I face.

He is gentle with me when I am confused, exhausted, misunderstood or fail (Psalm 145:8-9). As a father has compassion on a child, he has compassion towards me. When I experience his gentleness, I cannot help but be gentle with others because his gentleness heals me.

His self control gives me safety. Never acting on a whim, he always works with intention bringing restoration and hope to every situation (Ephesians 1:7-9) All he does is thought out and planned according to all he is. When I lean into him, he gives me wisdom for every situation day by day. Every single thing he does in my life has intention to it. He doesn’t react to me but instead responds to me with the intention of bringing me closer to himself. He teaches me to act according to wisdom and good intentions instead of living my life reacting to situations.

I will lean into him because he is the one who changes me. I am not left on my own, but am able to walk with him day by day. As I see more of him, I will begin to act more like him. He is the one who brings the change to my life that I never can because I am not able.

Father, Teach me to lean into all that you are. Where I cannot see you clearly, begin to show me who you really are. Thank you that I do not need to live my life on my own, but instead can live it with you. Give me strength for every situation I am in today. Give me eyes to see how you are working. Help me to know you more intimately and change me to be more like you. Amen.