What Changes Us?

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To the best of my knowledge, there is no definitive answer to the question, “What changes our life for the better?”

Here is what I know.

People inspire people. Programs seldom ever do. I remember teachers who were passionate about their subject, and caring toward me, more than I remember the subject matter they taught. Helping people reach their potential is a highly interactive pursuit. It requires people to trust each other and be real with one another. It means being around as things come up in life. It is very messy, and, at times, totally frustrating.

Stories touch hearts and minds. Information seldom does. Stories make us human. They help us understand how ideas and opinions developed. They give us someone to relate to, and they hold our attention. Reframing facts into stories is just good teaching methodology.

Change happens because we decide to change, not because someone or something outside of us tried to change us. People don’t change because of a class or retreat, not for the long term. Each person determines his own mindset. Granted, life circumstances can force our hand and cause us to feel we must change, or to believe we can change, but it is all deeply personal. Nobody can possibly do this for you.

Change is gradual, rather than dramatic. All of those testimonies of God miraculously, instantaneously delivering people really mess with our minds and cause us to think something is wrong with us. But those cases of instantaneous change are the very rare exception. They are usually told right after the big change, before the person has had much of an opportunity to stumble again. Here’s reality, life is composed of forward steps, backward steps, and just staying the course.

It would be great if the general course of your life was always positive, but that is not the case. You will get off course; fall off the wagon, stumble, whatever you want to call it. One of the real signs of maturity is not sulking and staying there.

Image Credit: Marie-Chantale Turgeon. Permission: Creative Commons.

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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