One of the things I say all the time in counseling is “It’s a process.” People usually hate it, because I say it when they are frustrated at how hard therapy is and how long it takes to be better. I also just say it because it’s true. And because my amazing clients need encouragement. It’s a reminder that just because I know something doesn’t mean it always translates in my behavior or thoughts or feelings. It takes a lot of trying and failing to begin living a new way. And sometimes the biggest part of the process is just learning what I didn’t know. All in all, lots of process in the therapy world.
In my real life, it’s not much different. Various stages of “getting closer to being done” all around me. My kids are in the process of growing up, so I’m in the process of letting go. My marriage is in the process of growing deeper, so I’m in the process of learning to love sacrificially. My house is in multiple levels of repaired and broken and needs to be updated. My laundry is in the process of getting caught up after a 2 week absence of working washing machine. My body is in the process of aging and fighting aging. My mind is in the process of being transformed. In all these varied processes I sometimes lose focus. I get distracted by the steps and discouraged by my feelings. This is the verse that gets me back on track, every time:
“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering; becoming like Him in his death and so, somehow to attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil. 3:10)
As I mentioned in a blog 2 days ago, I’m not part of the tatoo craze sweeping the nation, but if I was I would tatoo Philippians 3:10 on me somewhere. Instead I’ve memorized it, quoted and re-quoted it and claimed it as my life verse. I used to be content to know about Christ- but that doesn’t bring you peace. Or lasting joy. Or a changed life. What I have come to realize is it is ONLY in knowing Christ that I make sense of this world around me. As I experience His love shown through the cross, I understand the need to suffer. As I learn to willingly follow in suffering, I begin to experience power. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. That was a great day. The crowds were excited to call out for a Savior on that day. Soon after, they would turn on Him, and he would experience His greatest suffering. But 3 days after that, He would display power like the world had never seen. So I attempt to follow the process Christ laid out for me. Join Him in suffering to the point of dying to myself, then watch Him resurrect life in me. Over and over. Until He returns and process is complete.
“He who began a good work in you, will carry it on unto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)