I now embrace the times I become aware that I can do better, raise the standard of who I am and to be a closer reflection of my higher selfhood. Areas of my life that need changing are my opportunities to become more like God sees me, as His perfect child. My prayer is to accept the ability to see myself as capable of changing.
But looking back, I see how often I became convinced that there are certain characteristics that I simply was stuck with. Let's look at my tendency to be messy in my housekeeping. Come into my home 20 years ago. Dishes fill my sink. Clothing has found its way to the floor, not the closets; and newspapers and literature are scattered throughout my apartment. Add to that the toys, etc. of a 10-year-old child, and you have one messy home. This is who I am, I think.
My sister, who takes the time to tidy in her own life, remarked, "So this is what hopeless looks like." She taught me to make piles. She taught me how to tackle those piles one at a time. It took a while, but soon I was at least a pilemaking messy person.
Marrying someone who understood the rewards of dealing with dirty dishes as they happen truly helped me. It was a surprise to see how effortlessly my house became more orderly as I tackled items before they had the chance to become piles. For me it was a metaphor for facing problems and fears as well. Don't let them pile up and overwhelm you, define you, depress you.
But this lesson was not one of learning better habits. If that were the case, we could all hire personal trainers, like at a gym, to teach us how to change our lifestyles. I knew the benefits of being orderly. I even knew that I needed to make more of an effort to achieve the goal of being a tidier person. But the important step was turning to God for a greater sense of inward worth.
I was a person worthy of a clean, orderly apartment. Why? Because God loved me and did not see me as imperfect. I changed more than my outward habits. I gained a greater appreciation for my ability to go beyond a limited view of myself and began to see that there was no form of limitation to becoming better. Defeat was turned into victory.
The woman who founded this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "Simply asking that we may love God will never make us love Him; but the longing to be better and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 4).
The Bible has many accounts of people changing and becoming better. One is about a man named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was the tax collector of his community, so you can imagine how unpopular he was. When he heard that Jesus was going to pass through his city, he climbed up into a tree to see him better. Not only did Jesus pass by the tree, but he actually called up to Zacchaeus and announced that he was coming to see him, to be a guest at his house! (See Luke 19:1-10.)
Think of how that must have felt. To be able to host this holy man and sit in his presence for an entire meal. The account continues that he met Jesus at his home and announced that he was giving half of his possessions to the poor and returning fourfold anything he may have taken unlawfully from another. Jesus rejoiced over this change and said, "... the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
The things you want to change about yourself may seem beyond hope. But God will "mould and fashion" you anew, if you let Him. Start small; think big. Step by step, change comes.
The steps of a good man
are ordered by the Lord:
and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
Psalms 37:23, 24