Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How Little We Change

It has been three weeks since our move, and while several rooms in the house now actually resemble a home, there are still pockets of chaos here and there.  Stacks, piles, clumps.

Because we sincerely hope that this was our last move (except for when it comes time for "movin' on up" :) we are taking the time to sort things that have not seen the light of day in decades.  We are finally doing the "three piles" exercise:  donate, discard, keep.  The objective is to make the "keep" pile the smallest of the three.

And thus today I came across a list, from 1984 no less, of things I wanted to accomplish that year.  Some items on the list had to do with relationships, some had to do with budget planning, and some were simple household projects I wanted to take care of.

As I read down the list, I was struck by how similar it was to lists I have made just this past week or month or year.  I did not know whether to smile or sigh.  Twenty seven years have gone by since I wrote that list. 
  • New picture over the fireplace.
Just yesterday I gave away the one that used to hang over our fireplace in Sacramento.  Now I am looking for a new one that better suits our new home. 
  • Pray for healing and health for "X."
Still praying for that individual.  Relationships I am still working on.  Personal faults I am still trying to eliminate or at least minimize.

Oh, here was one that did make me smile.  It read: 
  • Lose fifteen pounds. 
Well, just recently I actually have, through no focused effort of mine other than "fetching and carrying" as I care for a family member with an extended health problem.

I guess what I realized most clearly in reading that old list on yellowed paper was that I have not changed very much in nearly three decades.  I hoped that I had, but I was kidding myself.

Briefly I recalled seminars I have attended, books I have read, papers I have written, all in the hopes of becoming someone other than who I was.  Someone "more than", someone better.

And yet here I am, looking at most of my life in the rear view mirror these days.  And apparently, based upon the lists I used to develop and the ones I still make; I am very much the same person I was in 1984.

How can that be?  I went back to school in 1987, obtained two college degrees, three national certifications, taught seminars, earned money, traveled far and wide, made an impact (or so I have been told) on a fair number of folks' lives.

And yet here I am.  Still pretty much the same me.

It now, belatedly, occurs to me that there is something a good deal more important than who I am, or who I was. A much more vital thing is to allow Him, to make of me what He will.  It is less about effort, and more about surrender.

How different might these past years have been if I had recognized that fact a little sooner.  Talk about a late-bloomer!

Hope you are moving in a good direction this week, and allowing Him to guide you in that effort.  I am still learning as I go... Until next time ...Marsha
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"But who are you, oh man, to talk back to God?  Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?" Romans 9:20-21 NIV


  1. A very interesting point of view. I agree there are some things about us that never change but I also feel that changes do occur, probably slowly, sort of growing with you and so you don't notice them creep up on you. For example I am much more tolerant now than when I was younger but I don't have as much self confidence as I used to have.

  2. Just an excellent post. I'm happy that you brought HIM into the discussion, because you are right---surrender and humility and faith can be grown over time. And while our genes don't change and many of our habits and inclinations remain constant, we can become closer to God as we mature. That's really all that matters...

    BTW---we downsized 6 months ago and still have a few clumps and piles. Sigh....

  3. I can so relate to this because I did the same when we moved this summer. Part of it encouraged and then part of it made me wonder if I had changed for the better at all. I again had to say, "it is by His strength and not mine"

    Great post...I know He continues to work in all of us for His Glory, so there are the changes He desires

  4. Diane - Good point. I, too, am more tolerant but have less self-confidence. But that is a good thing, don't you think? :)

    Clint - Some of your posts on your move (I recall the one about too many pictures for the new walls :) have encouraged me these past weeks. We seem to have too much everything for this new place.

    Janette - I have really appreciated your account of your move this summer. It helped me and made me smile.

    Blessings to all of you - as we continue to "sort stuff."

  5. Marsha,

    First can I thank you for visiting my blog today.

    Well done on losing those pounds.
    I know it is because you are busy looking after a family member and probably running around more than you should
    but I bet you feel better after the weight loss.

    I am glad to read that you are pretty much the same now as you were when you wrote that list many years ago and I hope that your life will continue to be good.

    Have a good week.


  6. I love what you said- that it's less about effort and more about surrender. We humans are such a stubborn group. If we could just master that principle...

  7. Loved this one, Marsha. A few months ago my husband and I cleaned out (sorta) our garage. In the process, I looked through many journals and notebooks that I had from when I was in high school (I'm 57, so you can imagine how old they are - actually, don't do it - the subtraction is too much stress). I was also a bit dismayed to find how little of me had changed. And yet, I was so gladdened to hear my young voice talk about the Lord, and my desires to be used by Him. It made me rather happy to know that that one thing had not changed in my life.

    God is faithful - and He keeps working on the "pockets of chaos" that He finds in me. I'm so glad...I'm a slow learner.


  8. I so enjoyed reading this post! I bet you have changed more than you think, though at the core you are still the same person. Your past experiences, relationships and educational pursuits have allowed you to become a wiser, more emotionally intelligent and well-rounded (not weight!):) individual. I agree with Diane B, the changes have probably been gradual, less noticable to you. That said, the conclusion to this post is so very poignant. Beautiful!

  9. I enjoy reading your every post.....I like the attitude you have towards life!

  10. Ultimately we ARE exactly who we should be - just as God designed us. We can change the exterior and smarten up our brain but we are still the same person. I think you're absolutely wonderful and I would imagine that those who knew you 30 years ago think the same thing!