Friday, August 1, 2014

Something New

Yesterday, I told you the transformation of our hearts and minds has to start with new wine. Today, I'll tell you why.

There are two basic theories on change. The first is that as you change, you will seek better things to surround you. The second is that as things change, you will seek a better self to be worthy.

Most of us, when we make changes in ourselves, make them in the negative. That is, we decide we're not going to do something any more or we're not going to be a certain way. That's...almost worse than whatever broken thing you're doing. Why? Because there are a whole lot of things you could besides lie, but they wouldn't necessarily be better things. You could sulk. That's not lying. You could get angry. That's not lying either. You could stay silent. Still, not lying. When we decide to change our lives in the negative, we start seeking out anything that's not the thing. So we're not necessarily making our lives better; we're just changing them.

What's the point? It's such a waste.

But even if you do this nobly, you're setting yourself up for failure. Because you've added an extra step. You can change yourself all you want, but it's not until you get into circumstances that your new self is revealed...or not. You can decide you're going to do x, y, and z but when the opportunity comes along, you either become a person who does x, y, and z or you don't. In essence, you're setting yourself up to make the decision twice and as new it is it, it's really hard to do that. You first have to sit within yourself and decide, "I am a person who..." doesn't lie, let's say. That's well and good to decide that, but you don't truly decide that until you are in a position to lie and still choose not to. See? You decide, but you have to decide again when it matters.

A measure of this is always true, of course. In any significant season of change in my life, whether working from the inside out or the outside in, I have a period in which I am entirely different in the privacy of my den than I am in the public of...anywhere. Even so much as venturing outside to talk to a neighbor, and I realize I am not the woman I thought five minutes ago that I was finally becoming. Change takes time.

When we take our new wine first, though, it's a little easier. For no other reason than that it gives us something to work toward. No longer are we arbitrarily looking to make a change. No longer is it abstract that we want to be doing something different or better in our lives. Now, we have an idea. We want to live a life in harmony with the new stuff that's happening. The very good, very exciting new stuff that's going on all around us. We want to make changes in our life that matches the new wine.

I think ladies understand this in a beauty sense. Ladies - we go and get a new haircut, for no other reason than that we're sick of the old one. The stylist works her magic, and we look in the mirror and see a new woman staring back at us. All of a sudden, we want to live the kind of life that rocks that hair!

Men may have a similar experience when, say, they get a new man cave. They've finally talked their wife into giving up that corner of the basement, and's awesome. All of a sudden, he becomes a man who values the camaraderie of other men, who seeks out opportunities to throw a good game party.

Any change is hard work. But changing from the inside-out is harder. Because it comes from something deep inside of you that is not yet connected to the outside world. It is decision after decision after decision in the right direction; it is discipline. I wish we all had such noble intentions and strength of character, but that's not the world in which we live. It's not the world in which I live. That's for sure.

Start with the new wine, and change is joy. It's inspiring. It's encouraging. You look around and see all of the things you want to live up to, and settling back into the way things used to be feels like such a waste. You're inspired to be better. You yearn to be better. You smile because you see that things are getting better, and when you look in the mirror...perhaps you are, too.

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