Refining Your Character
Refer to Step 9: I humbly ask God to change anything He wishes, and I ask Him to heal my pain. Because God forgives us as we forgive others, I forgive my abusers.
A spiritually optimistic point of view holds that the universe is woven out of a fabric of love. Everything that is happening is ultimately for the good, if we’re willing to face it head-on and use our adversities for soul growth.
If you ask someone if they want to be a better person, the answer will always be yes. Nearly everybody wants to be a new and improved version of himself or herself. The problem is people generally lack the tools to get from point A to point B. Consequently, most muddle through life in a languid state of mediocrity.
Some try positive thinking, meditation, or a myriad of other ways to improve themselves, occasionally going to great expenditures of time and resources to do so. Some of it is helpful, but little of it gets to the core of what really changes a person—at least not fundamental character change.
To achieve that, you have to go before the Lord and allow Him to reveal you to yourself. If you don’t go willingly, He will do it for you. Trust me about that; I know from experience.
When that happens, you become undone. It’s like you are standing naked, with the essence of your being exposed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. He understands your thoughts and can discern the intentions of your heart, taking your vulnerability far past your comfort zone, revealing the huge gap between Himself and the wretch you recognize yourself to be.
In the aftermath of such an experience, at first it’s difficult to regain your equilibrium. Seeing yourself as you really are—instead of who you project yourself to be—is unnerving, humbling, and ultimately transformational. You start to ask yourself questions, and often you don’t like the answers. Having had such an experience, I asked myself the following:
- What do I need to do to become the person I was created to be?
- How can I put the needs of others before my own—and not just say that I do?
- What areas of my thinking need to change?
- What beliefs do I have that hold me back?
- What grandiose expectations hinder my personal growth?
- What attitudes do I hold that are self-serving?
- What specific behavior needs to change to get me from point A to point B?
As I moved forward, with my mind and heart renewed, I thanked God for giving me the opportunity to become a better person.
I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)