Monday, June 27, 2011

The Influence of Change

My mother used to tell me when I left the house to go to school, that I and my siblings are representing the family and for us to behave accordingly; reason being, we don't know who is watching us and lives can be changed by the way we conduct ourselves. As children this didn't mean as much to me as it did when I became a young adult and saw one of my high school friends recognize me while I was in church. We had not seen each other for a few years. When she saw me, she hugged me and began telling me her horrific story when we were both attending the same school. When she finished all that she said, she concluded with, "it was the conversations we had that got me through it." Personally, it freaked me out a little. The responsibility of what my mother repeated over and over again just became real.

That's the changing we all do as children. Thinking that we are so cool until something hits you like a Mack (c) truck, then all of the teaching we have had over the years makes sense. Its like right at that moment, we really decide to choose life - and for real this time.

So then we meet others who we are attracted to and the possibility of choosing this person to be our mates for the rest of our lives...only, if it weren't for that birth mark with the hair sticking out of it, would this person be perfect for me, or if he lost all that belly fat, or if she wasn't the kind of person that wore weave, or if she could wear better looking glasses, or if his feet weren't so big... and so forth and so on. Well, what's the matter with desiring the best person possible for ourselves? After all, you have to be attracted to all aspects of this person in order to be with him/her for the rest of your lives. ...and isn't that what God is doing? He isn't presenting the church to Jesus as of yet because He would like for her to be without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:24-27 AMP), that's all your doing in seeing all of those tiny little changes that needs to be made for him/her to be perfect for you. Right? Its all good. Right?

I saw this episode of The Jenny Jones Show way back in the early 90's, I don't recall the topic of discussion but there was this woman in the audience that Jenny Jones walked over to with the microphone. She found this audience member intriguing because the woman was so in love with her husband that she carried around his t-shirt. She liked the way he smelled. Then the woman took the shirt, buried her face in it, and inhaled. When she revealed her face again, her eyes were closed and she had the biggest smile. Jenny Jones watched her. With the mic to the woman, she asked, "would you like to smell it?" Jenny barely sniffed the shirt and said, "it smells like dirty laundry." The audience laughed and Jenny walked away looking as if the woman must be on drugs.

I have thought about that woman now and again. she had to be content with herself in order to attract a man that treated her so well. There would be no way a woman who was misused, neglected, abused would ever keep her husband's smell anywhere near her. In fact, she would be thinking of ways to be further away from him. When I saw that episode, I thought, it had to be his cologne that she liked. Jenny Jones thought that too, until she sniffed the garment. That man belonged to that woman. It would only be normal for her to be that way with the smell of him.

Initially, the changes we make are done so, naturally because we grow from not having responsibilities to gaining more and more. How we manage them all tells us much about ourselves. When coming into the knowledge of the truth, we learn to make more changes because of it being a better way of life. The more we make these changes, the more we are like Christ. God is pleased and we are to be satisfied. He teaches, and we gradually change all the more. It is a process.

Sometimes during the process, some of us cry out to the Lord that we need a mate. Are all of the changes in place for us to get the best of what God intended or do we choose to settle for whatever comes along? What if the whatever that comes along tries to change you? Is that alright? The Domestic Violence Handbook calls it the initial stages of abuse. If compliant to make those changes, it begins a cycle of control. As a Domestic Violence Counselor, that kind of seed, you do not want to see the fruit that it produces. It truly is not love.

Let the process do what it does. A minister used the analogy of fruit on a tree. He said though it looks as if it is ready and it really isn't, the fruit will be hard and even taste bitter. That description sounds like jealousy and envy. If the fruit is too high to reach, why not wait until you have gained the proper tools to get it without harming yourself. That sounds like low self esteem. If you get tired of waiting and start picking the fruit that have fallen to the ground, need I tell you what that sounds like? Fruit that has fallen is usually rotten.

The first message I ever heard from Joyce Meyers was about a peach tree she had planted in her back yard. She was so pleased with this tree and when it sprouted the flowers and the flowers changed to getting the first fruit from the tree. When the tree got its first yield, she called her friends even before she picked the fruit. Then she said the Lord told her to go to the tree and begin to prune the branches back. She did as she was told. When she got to the tree, the Lord told her which branches to prune. When she got close to the fruit, by which she was so pleased, He said for her to prune the fruit too. She didn't want to. It was as if she was hurt by cutting those branches of fruit she had made plans for, yet she did what she was told. When her friends came to see the tree as she had described so excitedly, it looked worse then it did when she first planted it.

Her message was that we know the tree by the fruit it bares. I got that. She continued to state that the next year the tree had more fruit on it then it ever did and it was all the more juicy just because of the patience she endured with waiting for the second yield. Because of the pruning, the roots were allowed to be more established. The nutrients were allowed to strengthen the branches. Because the process did what it knows to do, the fruit could be all it should be. Yes, that was rhema and it helped me to be more patient with the plans God has for me in my life. Nevertheless, there was more to that message that I received.

In knowing a tree by the fruit it bares (Matthew 7:16 AMP), takes time. When discovering what the fruit is, do we partake of it? You know what a pear, apple, peach, or orange look like. How do you know that it is time to pick the fruit from this yield or has it gone through for its second yield yet. To Joyce Meyer, the fruit looked good enough to pick the first time. What if she moved from that residence right after planting the tree? Would the new resident hear from God too? Would the new resident know that the tree needs to be pruned back and to wait for a year (or two, or more) before touching the fruit? Those questions would be ideal in pursuing a widow/er or someone coming out of a divorce.

There is only One who has the blue prints to everything. There is only One who sees the time of all of the processes that we all go through. There is only One and relationship is necessary for that only One to tell you what you need to know to get the best He has for you (James 5:7 KJV). Trust Him, cause you could do with some pruning yourself.

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