The Cost of Praying for Change

Over the last few months we have been talking about healing, particularly the healing of deep wounds so that our lives are released from their effects on our choices. In this article I would like to address the issue that this healing process can lead to an increased sense of havoc.

It may seem like things are getting worse and not better. When we pray to God, or address the universe for circumstances to change in our lives, we open ourselves to a process that invites chaos.

New life often comes from a messy explosion of the old ways. As the bits fly about to settle, you will, at the very least, feel scattered, confused, and scared.

Have faith. You’re not falling apart…you’re falling together!

The problem with change is that it really is a change. Meaning it’s not the same as it was. And getting to the change we want means passing through that place where change is in the making.

This transitional place, this passing through the stages to new life, can be quite disconcerting. Change requires a breakdown of the old so that there is place for the new. This can create a seemingly chaotic dance between our internal experience and our external circumstance.

This dance (of healing/change) can be distressing. And this is mostly because we don’t see the bigger picture. And we hold tightly to expectations of what things ought to look like.

My son has been asking the hockey coach to improve his play. In a recent game he was shifted to first line. However when it came time for power plays, he was replaced. The game was close with several penalties and he sat most of the third period. His ego was bruised. He felt angry and unfairly treated, despite his being put on the first line. It was difficult to understand everything about the coach’s decision.

My son couldn’t see the big picture. And talking him down from his funk was difficult. He must trust that he is becoming a better hockey player (like he is asking to be). And the coach’s decisions had the best of intention. If nothing else, he is learning to be a team player. Which is actually a big deal in that sport.

The same happens when we asked God, or the universe, for help to change. We are going to go through a whole stage of being broken down so that we may be built back up. We must trust the process. And this trust is not easy when circumstances become disordered and we can’t see the bigger picture.

A philosopher once said, “in order to properly understand the big picture, everyone should fear becoming mentally clouded and obsessed with one small section of truth.”

In my experience, this cloudiness arises from our expectations. We want healing and change but too often presume we know what that looks like.

Truth is, change is on the other side of what we know. Otherwise we’d already be there. Assuming, we are a people who want the best for ourselves (and those about us).

As I see it, in the process of healing deep wounds (or for that matter, simply asking God for small changes) there is usually a storm before the calm: an intentional, unsettling, release of our old obstructive ways.

The question is not so much, “can I find healing and relief?” You most assuredly can! The question is this, “do I have the courage to let go of the things I know?”