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A few weeks ago now, I went on a morning walk to get some fresh air, get my body moving, talk with God, grab a coffee, and do some homework in a new space. I know it’s one of those days where if I don’t get up and do something now, I’ll just stay in this place of wanting to do nothing. Nothing in particular is dragging me down, not that I can express in words anyways. I guess it’s just one of those days… weeks… okay, months. You ever feel that way too? But I really don’t want to feel that way, so I decide it’s time to get up and get out. 

As I’m walking down the street I’m thinking how excited I am for the trees to change colors and trying to recall if at this time last year the fall colors were already in full bloom. And then I shift my gaze to see a tree already well into its transformation. It is truly beautiful. But all the other trees in the neighborhood are still very green. Then I start thinking about how often we see some sort of change or transformation occur and wish that were us. I think of how we rush along and try to make something happen for us too or perhaps even worse, get more “stuck” where we are only wishing some big change would come to us. And I tell myself I need to sit down and write more about this when I get to the coffee shop or maybe back home.

Of course, I get my coffee, knock out some work and haven’t really thought about my walk or that tree again. Until I’m walking back down the same street and I see the tree once more. This time with a new perspective. This time a powerful thought enters my mind: “It is so okay, actually it is important that even if things around us stay the same, we choose change.” And the thought trails on and I’m deciding in fact often times we probably should change. We probably shouldn’t look all that much like the person next to us. And I’m not just talking about wearing your favorite outfit even though no one in your circle would ever dare. What I’m really talking about is having the boldness to go through changes that you need when other people around you don’t. Maybe you’re facing a challenge that no one else you know your age has had to battle yet; and because of that you’ve had major lifestyle changes and taken on new roles and responsibilities. Maybe “fun” should look different now because your values and boundaries are shifting. Maybe you need a job change, or to be the change at your job. Maybe it’s time to host a Maybe it’s time for you to go after that dream you’ve always talked about. The one nobody else is on fire for. Maybe now is the time that you’re still afraid and step out in courage because you really are not where you are supposed to be. 

Ultimately it comes down to knowing God and listening for His voice. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  I didn’t have this new profound thought walking past the tree for a second time because I was determined to gain a new perspective. My perspective had shifted because I had spent time talking with God in prayer. I was asking Him questions and reading the accounts of the history of His faithfulness gifted to us in the Bible. It has nothing to do with me and my physical perspective, it has everything to do with the Holy Spirit showing me more of the mind and heart of God. 

It’s possible that right now you only have my initial perspective of this beautiful transformation which leaves you asking, “Why not me? Why is that happening there while I’m stuck here?” We should desire change for the sake of growth, but not to the point that we envy another’s changes and neglect that God has made us uniquely and therefore has a unique journey of transformation for each of us individually. He created us to reflect His glory, His majestic character. So I have bold confidence that He will graciously transform us through both His gentle promptings and refining flames if we so humbly ask Him to and learn to listen to Him speak.

Haylee Whitson
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