Christians often refer to the season of Lent as a second chance at our New Year’s resolutions. Our broken January promises are renewed as we vow to give up unhealthy foods, to take on healthier habits, to change in some significant way. For the most part, I love this time of year because it ushers in a season of transformation and renewal, as we embrace growth and progress. But there are some “side effects” of this approach than can actually halt our progress in two significant ways if we’re not careful.
- A constant focus on all the many ways we need “fixing” can become a roadblock on our spiritual journey if we hold ourselves back from God because of this belief that we are not good enough.
- Our efforts to do it all ourselves as we choose and control our own path to change can get in the way of God’s plans for us.
On both January 1st and Ash Wednesday, I always used to say: “I’m a work in progress. There’s a LOT of work I need to do.” Somewhere along they way I reframed this statement
I am God’s work in progress, and he is working in me.
The best way to make this shift in our thinking is to begin with pondering our own creation. God created us from the dust and breathed life into us. He created us in His own image. That is no small thing!! Our very existence is an intimate act of union with our Creator.
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
God knows us better than anyone. God lives in us. God has a plan for our lives that is unfolding each and every day. And in the words of the amazing song by Stephen Curtis Chapman, “It is going to be a glorious unfolding!”
As much as we are programmed to take control and be the captain of our own ship, we need to cooperate with God’s plan for us. By listening. By letting him in. By letting him do the work. One of my favorite metaphors for God comes from Isaiah 64:8:
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
God will mold us into what he knows we can be. It isn’t always going to be easy. But then again, what prize truly worth having comes easily? My dear friend Barbara once told me about a method of sculpting called “cut and slam” in which a piece of clay is cut into two pieces and one piece is slammed on top of the other. This process is repeated over and over until the clay is ready for sculpting. Not exactly a gentle experience for the clay, but necessary. And when the sculpting is complete, the result is something new and beautiful. It is the same for us when we experience struggle or challenges in our lives. We are being molded in ways that are necessary for our growth. We are God’s masterpiece. Always a work in progress, we have to allow God to move in us if we want to grow.
For the remainder of this Lenten season, I invite you to ponder the ways in which you are God’s work in progress.