‘Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete’ –Romans 12:2.
This week, I turn 49 and will enter into my 50th year on this earth. My birthday always finds me reflecting on who I’ve become and how the world is different. In 49 years, I’ve seen technology explode our planet and make the world much smaller. I remember the computer room my dad would take me to at the university where he worked. That computer took up more space than my bedroom in my house. I think it might have been bigger than my parents’ room, as well. I remember fully embracing the risen Jesus–not just loving the Bible stories, but really and truly loving Him.
That would have been the late 1960s and early 1970s.
I remember women’s places changing from home to career. I remember the first woman professor in my dad’s engineering department. My dad didn’t know he taught me inclusivity by respecting her work. He never got on a soap box; but he lived his professional life without feeling threatened by women. I developed the belief system that as a woman, I was equal to men–even within church positions.
That was the 1970s.
As a teenager, I remember listening more to what my parents talked about with each other. As children, we observed more of how our parents lived than what they tried to tell us. As a teenager, I had enough brain development to understand more of what they talked about. I learned how to treat people with compassion and how to live my life with integrity–mostly the same person in public as I am in private–by watching how they acted in public and at home. I learned what to look for in a politician and what to look for in a life partner. I remember the list I wrote before God of what I hoped He would provide. Jud embodied that list.
That was the 1980s.
As my life progressed and my view of the world broadened, I understood more of my mom’s perspective–especially in raising children. I found how daunting a role ‘Mother’ is. However, I still believed that I could find answers in a book that would give me the formula on how to raise godly children. I still believed a formula existed for most of life’s endeavors. I still believed a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ way existed for marriage, children and church. I began to understand just how wrong my beliefs were.
That was the 1990s.
At the turn of the century/millennium, I remember knowing that I had become a farce–as a mother, a wife and a church-goer. I had played all the games, followed all the ‘rules’, and read all the books; but none of those things made my life turn out the way the ‘teachers’ said life would become. I no longer found the presence of God in church, I couldn’t live up to the suburban-soccor-mom stereotype that people lifted up as the godly way to live, Jud and I had to re-learn what it meant to have a ‘christian’ marriage by re-learning how to be a wife/husband to each other–not the one-size-fits-all husband/wife rules of all the ‘christian’ marriage books, classes and seminars. God began to reveal that sometimes church can have its own ‘world’ attitudes.
That was the 2000s.
Now, in this next decade, I can take all I’ve learned from the previous decades and transform even more. After learning some facts about Bible interpretation and scholarship, I’ve had to re-learn how to read the Bible and accept its limitations. I’ve found that by accepting the limitations (and many months of confusion, throwing a book or two against walls, and a few screaming matches with God, followed by some not-speaking-to-Him time), the Bible has more meaning, relevancy and depth than I ever dreamed. Frankly, the stories have become so much more interesting and passion-filled–especially stories about Jesus. I’ve learned to welcome and embrace the humility of broken living. I’ve learned to allow churches and pastors the same broken-ness. Transforming my mind, God has developed a deeper sense of compassion, justice and a fuller belief in His power and work in this world. I look forward to having more and more revealed to me and our world about God’s heart, thoughts and ways for us. I look forward to the struggle, the heartache and the joys as we become more and more like Him.
These are the 2010s.
I’d love to hear from you! How have your views of yourself, life, God changed over the decades?