God promises to do something new (Isaiah 43:19), and I believe the promise. I have been praying to be open to the something new God wants for me, but I sometimes wonder how God can do something new if I am clinging tenaciously to the old.
So I have also been praying to be more aware of what I am holding onto and where I am resistant to change.
The prayer seems to be working; almost every day I am aware that I am being resistant to something. I catch myself saying, “I don’t like…” or “I don’t do…” or “I don’t eat…” or some other words which express that I am being obstinate.
For example, I tend to be fairly adventurous when it comes to trying different foods. My one disclaimer is that I don’t eat Brussels sprouts. (Ok, full disclosure, I also don’t eat those baby chicks on a stick they sell in the Philippines, and I get a bit queasy about some of the greens I have had in Africa, but otherwise, I am willing to try just about anything.)
A few weeks ago at dinner with a friend, she suggested we share a Brussels sprout salad. “I don’t eat Brussels sprouts,” I said. She was willing to order a different salad, but the restaurant was known for this particular one, so I moved against my resistance and agreed to try it. I am not sure what they did to alter the taste, but these Brussels sprouts were very good and I actually enjoyed the salad.
Later that same week, I received a gift bag full of spa-type products, including a loofa. I have received loofas before, but not used them; I use wash cloths. This time, though, I decided to try the loofa. When I went to work and gushed about my discovery of the wonders of the loofa, my co-worker looked at me quizzically. She has been using loofas for a long time. “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” I asked. “Why didn’t I listen?” is probably the better question.
The habits, patterns and guidelines I have created to give structure to my life can lead to a rigid rejection of anything different. That which is familiar and comforting can get in the way of receiving the new that God is offering.
Whether it is trying a new food (or one I have previously decided I don’t eat) or trying a new endeavor or welcoming a new person into my life, whenever I hesitate or hear myself say no, I know I am being resistant. My little resistances are signs that I am not free, that I am holding too tightly to something.
Every day, God offers me the opportunity to live my life in a different way. Brussel sprouts and loofas are just two steps along the path to freedom.