“In ten years, the only things that will change are the books that you read and the people around you.”
I saw this quote on a business sign today, a business, I might add, that regularly puts up different quotes and quips, ones I usually agree with. But as I passed this one several times in the last few days, I had to completely disagree – at least with the “only” part.
I disagree mostly because I took a long look at myself and the changes I have been through in the last 10 years. Ten years ago, I was still basically a newlywed, no kids, enjoying carnival rides and late nights with our youth group and the ability to pick up and go wherever we felt like on a whim. Of course, it was also about 10 years ago that I got pregnant with our firstborn, beginning the mad descent into mommy-hood and baby brain and all the fun years to follow.
But beyond the obvious changes (2 kids, a change of scenery from cornfields to desert, a change in church families, getting a permanent place that we were totally in charge of), I’d like to think there’s been a lot of personal change. Actually, I’m pretty sure that if I haven’t changed a lot in 10 years, there must be something wrong.
I’m convinced that our God is living and active, and the Spirit that we are filled with when we make Him Lord of our lives therefore causes us to be living and active. If we are not, then we are stagnant, unmoving. I’ve seen lots of swamps, having grown up in a wetter climate than the one I now reside in – they are pretty, but only if you have a clothespin on your nose. And only if you don’t look too closely at the decay all around you. If we are squelching the living spirit within us to the point that we are swamps, well, don’t stand too close if you’ve got a weak stomach.
If I haven’t changed in 10 years except for the people I hang out with and the books I read, then I am a swamp. Completely content to remain exactly as I’ve always been, to not ruffle the waters or try something new, or follow God’s leading to the very important adventure, however, big or small, that He has ready for me. I am then saturated in the everyday cycle of keeping up the status quo, doing only just enough to get by, never opening up myself to the cool running stream of the Spirit that will flush out the impurities in the water.
I am not the same person I was 10 years ago, praise God! I am stronger in my faith. I hold tighter to the truth that God has it under control. I am less stressed (most of the time), less busy (well, a little), less focused on myself. I don’t have it all right yet, and in the next 10 years I’m certain I still won’t. Funny how just when I’ve finally conquered one thing, God shows me something else that I need to work on.
Ah, but that’s what it’s all about. Working through the rough spots, clearing out the moss, pushing more mud and muck out of my life – some times more slowly than others – to continue to be more like the purified pond fed by a clear running spring; ever changing, ever improving. And though some days I want nothing more than to wallow in the warm, still water right up to my nose, I know that the small trickle of freshness that tickles my senses will win over the day. God is still working on me – and my books and people I’m around. :)