This year will mark 20 years I have been in full time work of helping and ministering to people. Since 1995, I have helped many people grow, while traveling into various level of transformation myself. In 2004, I entered into one of the biggest chapters of transformation when I began to overcome daunting anxiety, depression, physical infirmities, as well as personal limitations. The freedom I experienced not only changed my life, but also catapulted me into new areas of writing, teaching and coaching others for inside out transformation.
Yet over the years, I have noticed very few people actually want to do the work necessary to enter into new levels of freedom. Somehow, Americans think they can enter into amazing levels of change without having to put anything on the line, pay a price or walk through intense seasons of pain. I have come to the conclusion that so many would rather live as victims, blaming their circumstances or other people, rather than taking personal responsibility to go after freedom in their life, even if the cost is huge.
There were some very specific things I had to be willing to do, that were key elements in my transformation process. These points I believe are critical to the long-term fruit of absolute transformation.
1. I had to value the process.
We love instant, miraculous changes, but the majority of them happen in a process of time. We love the “and suddenlies” of the Bible, but we take little account to the years, the heart-ache, the tears and sacrifice that led up to those incredible moments.
2. I had to be willing to invest money on resources and be willing to sow into the Kingdom.
I notice a lot of people asking for help, but rarely want to do anything financially. I was willing to buy any teaching resource, book or material out there that spoke truth to my battles. I traveled on my last dime to places that provided hope and sound teaching to help me walk into healing and freedom. I was willing to sow my finances into churches and ministries that ministered to my life in any way. Financially investing into people that help you is a critical part of the process and it honors the time, effort and sacrifice that went into providing hope.
3. I had to humble myself to be taught.
Some area of stinking thinking needs to be addressed if change is possible. I was broken to the point where I said, “God, if its in your Word and I have not been seeing it or applying it, show it to me so that I can be changed.” Little did I realize that God would answer that prayer, but I had to be willing to be taught.
Pride is one of the greatest deterrences to transformation. The moment we think “we know something” is the moment we cap our growth curve. I chose to always remain a novice, never arriving and always seeking to learn from others. To do this, we need to humble ourselves and become teachable, especially with the people God puts in our lives to instruct us. With your desire for transformation, God will usually place people in your life to bring instruction, correction and guidance for your personal renovation.
4. I had to be willing to be corrected.
This is where most people no longer grow. They want to change but they refuse to be corrected. I had to learn to let God use people to bring correction into my life; to be spiritually and emotionally “filleted” without being defensive. The only way I could truly learn to be a son before my Father in heaven, was that I was able to be corrected by Him and the people close to me in my life.
5. I had to be willing to go through horrific days.
The toughest days are the ones that formed me the deepest, but they also could have wiped me out. When I was willing to walk through those dark days and stay the course, it built in me a resilience that I would need all my life.
Life is not easy and neither is transformation. If you invite change into your life, expect all hell to break lose. This is satan’s automatic response to resist the work of God from shining forth in your life. Many do not understand the importance of carrying an overcomer’s heart. They back down and their character is not forged deeper.
6. I had to be willing to forsake comfort.
One statement that I had to learn in my life is that “God’s number one concern is not my comfort, but my transformation.” Change and comfort rarely ever go together, so I had to learn to be “comfortable with the uncomfortable.” I quickly noticed that people in this generation are constantly scurrying towards places of comfort and pleasure in their life, so they never saw and reached for the greater potential in their life. This is mainly because they were not willing to pay a price. I had numerous people come to me and say, “I am all in! I want to jump all the way in and see change in my life.” But soon they were taking out by the discomfort that came their way. Unfortunately, many choose ease over transformation.
7. I had to be willing to let go of anything.
I find that true deliverance and freedom in life often comes with a letting go of things that either harm us, limit us from greater freedom or simply become idolatrous hinderances to our spirituality. When faced with the chance to go all in for transformation, I had to be willing to let go of anything, my pride, my reputation, toxic relationships, what people thought of me, my addictions, my comfortable habits and lifestyle. When Jesus initially spoke to people, He was always “all-in” with his approach. “Sell everything you have, let the dead bury the dead, leave your father and mother,” all spoke to the absolute surrender necessary when walking in God’s transformative power. Many want the fruit of blessing, but don’t want to go all the way in with God in the process.
Question: Which of these becomes the most challenging when it comes to transformation and change?