Five days ago, I had to say goodbye to a 10 year member of our family, Manny, named after a very large woolly mammoth my family loved. Yes, we name our cars; always have and always will. He securely carried our family of five for 250,000 miles, provided us comfort, space to grow, miles of memories and an extra element of safety because he was so large. Manny was a wonderful car for our family, and he will be missed. I have to admit that purchasing a “new” car should have been more exciting for me than it was. I have trouble letting go of “comfortable” especially when comfortable is paid off! In the midst of choosing a new car and all that goes with that process, I found myself having to totally reframe my thoughts, even five days later, and I feel silly!
After all, who wouldn’t want a new car to replace such an old model which sucked gas faster than the wallet could fill, could not spit out cold air anymore, creaked and groaned with every movement of its over sized body and cost us too much in repairs over the last couple of years; all good reasons to retire Manny. But when it comes down to it, Manny was a comfortable part of our family dynamic, and to replace him (OK, “IT”) with a much smaller, sleeker, extremely gas efficient and reliable model, although the right thing to do, serves as a loud reminder that things for my family are changing much faster than I would like. Two children have left the nest, one is only a couple years away, and I now have a car which can no longer carry my entire family. Life is downsizing, and I am not ready!
This process has been a reminder to me that I like comfortable too much, and even when I know God is calling me to embrace the future, my tendency is to hold tightly to what I know, even if it is not what is best for me. It reminds me that in order to embrace change, I need to put my emotions in their proper place, which is not at the head, and I need to renew (a constant ongoing process) my thoughts and mind.
- “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:3
- Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind…Eph. 4:23
- “Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Phil. 4:8
With renewed thoughts comes a renewed attitude. With renewed thoughts comes renewed emotions. With renewed thoughts comes renewed expectations in the midst of change.
My Luke 2:52 Project is all about embracing change, for the sake of growth, and I am going to be spending this week identifying those areas of my life in which I have become “too comfortable” and I would even say are creating “stagnant” places in my life.
- What am I hanging on too tightly to that has simply become more of a burden than a blessing?
- Where am I not allowing change and why?
- What area(s) needs a fresh perspective? What doubts am I struggling with which keep me trapped?
- What negative or confining emotions need to be put in their proper place to create space for rejuvenating emotions?
- What negative thoughts (I messages, You messages, Yeah-but messages) are taking up too much space in my day, not allowing for thought renewal?
- What growth hindering attitudes are keeping me stuck and why?
I will start with this present situation. Manny is gone but not forgotten, and now we have the newest member of our family. He is fast, sleek, draws attention with his metallic green body, guaranteed for at least 100,000 miles, zips in and out of traffic, holds just enough luggage for a weekend trip and sips gas instead of guzzles. No doubt he will take us to many new places and create a whole new set of memories. And no, his size does not mean the whole family is excluded, it just means we have to be more creative, especially when grandkids come along:)
So, welcome to the family Kermit! Glad you are part of our new adventure!
Luke 2:52 Project Plan:
- You now have a purpose for the index cards and the small photo album to keep them in. I have found it is important along the journey to put the scripture to memory on a weekly basis, to have these scriptures every present and to be able to categorize them for quick retrieval. These scriptures will be transferred to index cards, along with the previous scriptures and placed in the small album. Title and highlight these as “Increasing in Wisdom.”
- The second project for this week is to log in the answers to questions listed. As an educator, it is always important to me to apply what is learned and to do it in a memorable manner. For this reason, one of the first items going into this year’s Luke 2:52 box is a bag of shells, any shape or size you determine. There are instances in history in which shells represented a pilgrimage, baptism and even regeneration. I love the concept of a pilgrimage, which is in effect what this whole project is, but for our purposes, they will be used as a renewal reminder. Each shell will simply identify those areas, emotions, thoughts, and attitudes which need to be renewed on a daily basis in order to allow room for growth. I encourage you to spend time praying over these items, releasing them and anticipating the growth God will create as you commit to renewal. To go one step further, on paper, renew those thoughts, emotions, doubts and attitudes by replacing them with scripture truth!