Creamer column: Embracing changes

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 8, 2011

My wife and I enjoy working in our yard. This spring we have been spending a great deal of time enlarging flower beds and moving plants and shrubs around. Some of the shrubs had outgrown their spots and needed more space.
For some of the plants it was time for a change because we wanted a different look. Gardening is all about change. You have to be willing to move plants around. Some plants require that you dig them up from time to time to divide them. These plants multiply, and if you donít divide them they lose their beauty.
The other exciting thing for us is that we now have some new places for some new plants and shrubs. Gardening is about experimenting with something new and seeing how you like it. Recently we added something to our landscape that we are now working diligently to remove because it was too invasive. Gardening is a learning process. A true garden should always be changing.
Soon we will be heading to the garden centers to find new additions for our yard. Plans include removing one dying tree and planting a new one. We want to get more daylilies, a new butterfly bush, and we hope to create a shade garden. There always seems to be something in a pot waiting for a new home. People share things with us and we in turn share things with others.
God has been talking to me about this process of change. I quickly explained to him that no one really likes to change. Change is often difficult and unwelcome. But God showed me, through my own yard, that change can be a good thing. In fact, he said that our spiritual lives should always be in a state of change, just as my yard is.
As we grow and mature, we may need some trimming. Pruning, my wife has taught me, spurs new and stronger growth, often leading to a better plant. Spiritual pruning can also bring new and stronger spiritual growth. Sometimes God may need to move us to a new location ó even if we donít want to go. My wife and I have moved a number of times in our lives. Often after we get settled, we find we like our new home. We grow into our new spot. I have been a part of some wonderful churches in my life and would have missed some great friendships if I wasnít willing to move.
Sometimes God will bring some change into our lives that will require some hard work. Walking with God is not easy. God wants to change us so we will be more like Christ. There are many parts of my life that are not exactly Christ-like. It is Godís desire for me to change those areas. While it would be nice if God touched me and instantly made those changes for me, often that is not his method. The Bible teaches that we have to work out our salvation. Some of the changes God brings to our attention will require us to change our attitudes and behaviors.
When I see God coming to me with change on his mind, Iíll confess I often run in the opposite direction. God patiently waits for me to come back. God is trying to help me see that change can be beautiful. When I look at my yard and see all the beauty we have worked to create, I am glad we did the work. Were the changes easy? No. But in the end they were right. Spiritual changes are no easier, but if we trust God, they will be beautiful too.
I want to encourage you to embrace the changes God wants for you. God is going to be there as you change. Your job is to take trust him. If we will choose to walk with him, he will make something beautiful of our lives.
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