Over the last five years I have noticed that I have been through three transitions. The first occurred after I had moved from Charlotte to Baltimore and back within 9 months-time. At first I lived in an apartment for six months and then bought a townhome—three moves in two years. For at least a year after that I felt like I had no ground beneath my feet and yet felt totally held by God. Then, in the last year or two as I wrote the Exodus book, there were times when I just had to wait for the Holy Spirit’s inspiration to continue. Meanwhile, I would be rocked by different things arising within me to be let go of—more grief about Hank’s death, now 16 years ago, missing my Dad who’s been dead since 1984, having to give up my way of doing things in favor of God’s, to name just a few.
I began to understand that I could not write again until I was healed and transformed, first of this issue, then of that. Now that I am selling the book I have needed to get into a marketing mode which is not my strength, yet another transition.
And so there have been some rocky moments as I have tried to re-orient myself from a contemplative mode of writing the book to a more activist stance as a marketer of the book. It’s been a transition for me which is now in full bloom in what I do.
As I come out of this latest transition, I now believe that I have been in transition ever since I surrendered my life to Christ in the early 1980’s, and maybe since I was born. And that I will be in transition until the day I die. I’ve been on a long transition from living by the world’s ways I absorbed from the culture to living in God’s kingdom. I know I am a long way down this road, but I couldn’t begin to name where I am, but I can tell you that I’ve come this long way because I have done everything that God has asked of me all along that way.
Early on, I learned that whatever He asked of me was always self-affirming, not of the ego, but of my deeper self, my soul. Along the way I was learning about who I really am, who I was created to be, what kind of help I can be to the kingdom and much, much more. I was seeing the dis-function in me being healed and transformed. As I see deeper and deeper levels of that dis-function in me, I know that there is always more to be revealed.
It’s a long journey from the world to God. The world has a grasp on us that we are not aware of. All our conditioning and training, all our parents’ and teachers’ and church’s expectations of us is writ large in our unconscious, largely unknown until our behavior or thinking is highlighted by God for us to see and to acknowledge. For it is in owning all that we are that we gain freedom from our conditioning and training, so that finally we can stand bfore God as just who we were created to be, no longer just a pawn of the culture.
As we live in God, it becomes clear that we are living in paradox—a kind of both/and–in the world and in the kingdom. As Paul wrote in Romans 7:15ff “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me….I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” At the same time, Paul is carrying the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the far reaches of the Mediterranean Sea, converting Gentiles wherever He goes, doing the work of the Lord. And there within him is his own sinful/human nature and the servant of the Lord—both/and. A tremendous paradox.
It’s how we live in that paradox that defines the great transition in us from the world to the kingdom. Can we hold both our human and divine nature as part of ourselves, as we were created to be? Can we honor both and not fall into the trap of having to be perfect before God or of falling back into sin?
Can we trust that this paradoxical nature is just how He created us to be? And to learn to love and accept and even embrace both parts of ourselves? For that is how God sees us—with love and forgiveness. God is not punishing us for our mistakes. The punishment or blessing is built into the choices we make. If we follow God’s law, then we are blessed. If we choose to ignore it, we are cursed. We choose the consequences—the blessings that we enjoy or the curses that we suffer from. [Deuteronomy 28] What do I need to do to choose God’s law and his embrace of me? What do you need to do to choose His law and accept His embrace of you?
How do we live in this great transition that defines our lives and, especially, our relationship with God and still be true to ourselves and to God? The only way that I know is to keep our focus on Him.
Questions to ponder over the week: What have my transitions been like? Did I choose to change my life or was change foisted on me? Am I good at welcoming what is new in my life? Do I reject it and just want to stay the same? What have been the gifts of the transitions I have been through? The difficulties? Can I see God’s hand in everything that happens and listen to what He is saying to me in this and that? Will I let God teach me how to embrace all the changes I go through?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who accept and embrace the changes in our lives. May we seek always to understand what is happening to us and its benefits. May we turn to God always for His wisdom in dealing with our lives.
There are archives of my blog on this page going back to 2011.
My new book, “Exodus: Our Story, Too!”, is available at amazon.com.Its thesis is that the Exodus story reveals an invitation for us all to give our lives over to Christ in the deepest way possible and the template for how to do that. The author’s name is my full name, Patricia Said Adams. Also available at Park Road Books in Charlotte NC, at Sagrada in Berkeley CA and at the Mercy Center Bookstore in Burlingame CA.