“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!” – 1 Corinthians 15:51.
It’s a new year and a new decade and you are once again motivated to eat better, exercise more, drink less caffeine or make any number of the positive lifestyle changes you’ve been telling yourself you want to make. You’ve tried before — last year to be exact — but without much success. This is not criticism. Making substantive change is challenging. We are hardwired to resist it. And then there is this whole family thing.
Many people would like to change their family for the better. They see a genuine need for change, but they themselves are unwilling to change. They are unwilling to reevaluate their thinking, their behavior, and their attitudes. So they secretly hope for change on the inside, but they themselves will not change.
If someone asked you what the biggest problem in your family life is, you’d probably answer with something like, “Well, so and so has relationship problems,” or, “so and so just doesn’t understand.” It is disingenuous to expect change, when you yourself are not willing to change. To say, “Well, I will change if other people change,” is not the answer.
Real change is a change of heart. It is a change in the way you feel about things and a change in the way you see yourself and your life. It is a change not only in perception but in what you choose to do as a result. That is real change. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll see that relationships are how the world ultimately defines us. They say more about who we are than any biographical sketch or social profile. But when all is said and done, the only relationship that defines who we genuinely are is our relationship with God.
Our relationship with God should define how we perceive those who God brings into our lives. We should see the rest of the world as God does. Even those members of the family that seem very strange are also made in His image. They are also God’s masterpiece. They can also love Him, serve Him and live eternally with Him right alongside us.
When we realize that everyone else can connect to God in the same deeply meaningful way we do, it should be easy to find reasons to deeply connect with them and encourage a relationship that is significant, selfless and sacrificial. A relationship defined by a mutual appreciation of the One who made us is a relationship that will endure. When that becomes our de facto way of thinking, our simple interactions will change and our deep connections will grow exponentially. When we know the people in our lives are meant to be loved, served and valued, we begin to see how God loves, serves and values us.
In those instances, it will be a relationship devoid of all the stuff that causes chaos and conflict in a family. But it starts with us.
- Where can you get the power to make changes that you don’t think you can make on your own?
- Do you need to change the way you think about your most important relationships?