I recently had a conversation with my mom over facetime so that she could see my six-month old son. Of course, his attention span is very short as he is busy wanting to move, explore, and grab anything he can get his hands on. In this case it was the computer we were talking on and then my cell phone. As I moved them both away from his grasp, he got angry and fussy. He wanted something that he saw in front of him no matter what. He wanted something and was angry when he couldn’t get it. My mom said something that stuck with me; “it’s that sin nature in him.” As I’ve thought it over, I realized she is right. We all come into this world with a selfish nature that wants what we want when we want it.
This can be true of material things such as a car, an outfit, a sum of money, etc. But what it prompted me to consider is the selfishness I can display at times in wanting a certain result, but not putting in the effort. I certainly do not mean that it is selfish to want healing or change. But I do believe that often that selfish, sin nature can cause us to look at something we want and demand it rather than put forth the time and effort to make changes and put in the work to help bring about change.
This can be true in many areas of life, but especially in therapy. People come to therapy to seek help, heal, and bring about change in their lives. However, one thing I make clear to those I meet with, is that therapy requires work. Sometimes the work can be painful and challenging, but the result is worth far more as it awaits on the other side. Desiring something different but doing the same things or with minimal effort will often make it feel like change and healing is out of grasp. We are not guaranteed most things in life unless we put in the time and effort.
What might this look like? This looks like showing up each week, being open and honest with yourself and your therapist, practicing skills or tools learned in session, and being willing to talk about the hard things. There is no specific timeframe for change, but often I have found it to be slow and gradual. It is very much like losing weight. We might have an end number goal in mind, but it takes discipline to eat healthy, exercise, and take proper care of the body to begin to see the weight come off. It can feel discouraging when the process is so slow, but I have found that like losing weight, change and healing happens slowly, which often means that it will last.
Quick fixes in life typically do not create lasting change. They serve only to put a band-aid over a superficial wound rather than address the deep wound that can’t be seen. The day in and day out of pushing through is necessary to refine, grow and change us. Scripture is filled with assurances to keep persevering, keep moving forward. It is often through the process that God can do His greatest work as we can learn to depend on Him when we stumble and struggle to do what we need to do. In this way it is vital to surrender it all over to Him.
My son is slowly learning to crawl. It is exhausting watching him pull and push himself across a room, but when he is determined to get somewhere or to get something in his sight, he will do everything he can to get there. It may be tiring, it may take a while, and you may not always get exactly what you want the end result to be. But know this; in walking with the Lord through the hard work and through the pain, healing and growth is waiting. Perhaps it may look differently than you first pictured, but regardless, if you show up and invite God in, He will sustain you until you reach the other side.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14