A Treatise on Change

This is hardly going to be a treatise –I just like the way the word sounds. I have been thinking a lot about change lately though. Along with faith and doubt and grace and patience, and how all these things go hand-in-hand.

We use urgent words words when we talk about change: necessity, concern, sin, repentance . . .
We take the urgency (as in significance) of a situation and equate it to immediacy, when, in fact, critical circumstances more often demand more careful care. There is a quote by author Ann Voskamp: “Life is so urgent it necessitate living slow.”
Instead we use words that implore action. Now.
Since when does life work like that? We say we need to surrender, to trust, to rely on God. While at the same we put time constraints on ourselves and others as to how quickly change needs to happen –which is another way of simply defying that surrender and trust and change we claim to seek. We seek change, but too often within our own timeline. Surrender, when we think it’s about time it happened. Repentance, because we, they, need to stop messing up, as soon as possible.

In addition to expecting change to come quickly –because we recognize the need for it quickly, but have a difficult time waiting for it to take root- we somehow envision that through this striving, we can somehow get it right. We can learn to rely fully, to surrender fully. We feel that we can find a perfect harmony with God, if we try harder, seek more, dig in deeper. We forget that this broken world distances us from the perfection of the Lord.
I feel this for myself in the area of faith especially. I feel a general inadequacy in conviction, even when I wish so hard to believe. I am learning, trying to learn, to embrace this inadequacy, trying to stop beating myself up for it. I feel this particularly when my faith is characterized by doubt. I feel this when I lose hope and, sometimes deliberately, sprinkle my life with mistakes. However, I trust that God takes what we can give, where we are now. He has understanding for each of us in the moment we are now occupying.

I feel that this lack of grace we frequently have trouble allowing for ourselves makes it harder to extend grace to others when they struggle. We seek to see ourselves and others in the places that really would be better, healthier for us. However, we often believe that we should be there right now. We wish we were better, feel we should be better. I experience this all the time with myself, this frustration at my inability to be where I “should” be. I also see myself frustrated when those I love are not where I wish they were. I am learning through my own experiences feeling urged into change, that I long for grace in the struggle that I am in. I long to be encouraged and called forward, but I am desperate for the understanding that I can’t change all at once.

“We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die.”
― W.H. Auden

We are naturally resistant to change. This quote by Auden is one of my favorites, because I spend large portions of my time either lamenting changes or quietly fighting them. But there is a difference between refusing to change and having patience for where you are in the process:

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”
― Albert Einstein

Change comes in knowing ourselves, how we have been designed, and accepting the moment we find ourselves in. If we are able to do that, we find that change comes easier, if still slowly.
It is a faith unto itself to find hope and trust and surrender in the baby steps we take –really which allow us to experience the richness of Christ’s love. The richness that comes through diligence, especially when we see no immediate reward or results.
We find reliance when it seems like we’re not doing enough, or going far enough, or moving fast enough. We find peace when we trust that that is okay.


  1. Debra Brouhard · · Reply

    You expressed this so well. Especially the part about perfection. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  2. tammy Babad · · Reply

    Yes! thanks, Elyse.

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