When I first read the (paraphrased) quote of Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” I didn’t understand what he was trying to tell me, the world, or anyone else.
For years, I made many of the same mistakes over and over before grasping that I needed to make changes myself to see and experience change in the world, to enjoy the life God envisions for me and become the person He wants me to be.
Along the way, I discovered that internal changes were linked to the external ones:
- a change of heart leads to clearer perceptions
- clearer perceptions means better understanding
- better understanding impels a fresh approach
- a fresh approach results in a change in circumstances
- a change in circumstances brings about a renewed heart
Just as significantly, even when circumstances didn’t change (because sometimes they don’t or the pace is excruciatingly slow), I realized that I could still take steps forward, whether anyone else cared to come along for the ride. And even on days in which I didn’t witness measurable improvement, I could still rejoice and be glad in the day that God made (Psalm 118:24).
Today, I see struggle in ways that are familiar to me. We may desperately want things to be different in our lives, our families, our community and the world. But we either refuse to take even modest steps in a different direction or the steps we take seem to make little difference.
We try to do the right things according to our standards. We go to school, hold jobs, raise children with love and care, are active in community groups, etc. We make good decisions. But, we may not know how to build community, and bring about meaningful change for personal and community transformation.
One thing that I found missing in myself is a desire for inner transformation that could lead to real changes. In Luke 6:45 (World English Bible), Jesus says, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings out that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.” Thinking about this statement reminds me that while I pursue outward good, I also need to pursue good treasure inside as that is what will be reflected in my words and actions.
My intention is to consider how life and families and communities and maybe even the world can be transformed, not by wishful thinking but through encounters with God, meditation and practical application of scripture, coming together to share our stories, inspirational action, and a cycle of experiencing and practicing renewal.