Two of the most challenging aspects of life are surprises and change. In the natural, being surprised or making a change can bring on the experience of stress, emotions, and uncertainty, but in the spiritual, some of the richest experiences in life, resulting in the greatest blessings, come packaged in challenges unexpected.
Like surfing a challenging wave, even if the surprise is a good one — a surprise birthday party or an unexpected gift — you may find your heart rate elevating and your mind racing to catch up and process the moment, taking in all of the sensations, experiences, and perceptions as they flood over you, starting to reset your approach for the moments that follow.
It’s the same with change. Any deviation from your expectations, your habits, your preconceptions, your private predictions, and your beliefs about what is possible can bring on a fight of flight response from the most natural parts of your mind and your body. Recalculating how to approach a situation and deal with change, accepting life’s surprises with grace, and making use of the temporary pressure of a situation to take advantage of the new opportunities that arise when circumstances shift are all learned responses to the basic fact that change is fundamental to life and there is always another surprise just around the corner.
Positive or negative, surprises and changes require you to re-frame your position, re-consider your context, and re-assess your approach — all of which requires work: mental and physical. Developing your mind so that it has the resilience, depth, and perspective to take life’s challenges in stride and leverage every opportunity that comes your way requires more than just a high IQ or an advanced degree. The key skills that set apart success or failure in so many situations in life are not simply patterned responses to stimuli or improving your mental reflexes and habits. The key skills that set apart victory and defeat, happiness and apathy, fulfillment and depression, accomplishment and failure (the list goes on) — the key skills for overcoming, conquering, and breaking through to new levels of victory, happiness, fulfillment, and accomplishment in your life are skills of the spirit.
Patience. Confidence. Vision. Insight. Listening. Perseverance. Strength. Wisdom. Compassion. Mercy. Justice. Love. The list goes on. All these and more make up what a lot of people call “character” and what God calls “spirit”.
Who you are. Your identity. Your depth and capacity to take on life and survive and thrive comes from your spirit — the life that God puts into you every moment of every day.
A lot of people talk about the human spirit like it is something that is inserted once at the beginning of life and then grows and develops on its own. The fact is, your spirit is a continually developing and perpetually renewed resource that is the direct result of your relationship with God. Every moment of every day God is actively giving you life, inspiring and enlightening your mind, healing and restoring your body, empowering and enriching your desire, your passion, and your ability to accomplish, to succeed, to overcome, and to achieve.
God’s touch. God’s presence. God’s influence. Every interaction that God has with you to maintain, develop, and expand His ability to bless you are growth opportunities for your spirit. God’s influence in your life is not far away and long ago, back at the beginning like some sort of master clock maker who put together your pieces, wound up the spring and then set you loose to go as you might under your own power. God’s influence on your life is immediate, perpetual, and eternal because He is the immediate, perpetual, and eternal source of your life.
And so, when you consider the changes that you want to make in your life and when you find yourself responding to the surprises that seem to always be just around the corner — reframe your response in the context of your spirit — embrace the opportunity to grow your connection with God, get excited about the chance to receive His blessings in new and different ways, and step up to the challenge of developing the skills of the spirit which will set you up to succeed in life today, and in the eternal life that God has envisioned for you from the beginning.
You are blessed. You are chosen. You were created on purpose for a purpose. And God is with you right now, giving you life, giving you strength, giving you insight, giving you health, giving you resources, giving you connections, giving you whatever it is that you need to take that next step, to choose the better life, to rise from the ashes, to turn the situation around. Wherever you are weak today, God is ready to bless you with new strength. God is the source. God is the connection. God is life and life abundant. And God is ready to take the skills of your spirit to the next level so that you can receive everything that He has in store.
No matter who you are. No matter what you have done. You can be made new today because your spirit is not the result of your past experience, your spirit is the result of your relationship with God. You may have a long walk out of the darkness, a short step out of the shade, or you may already be walking on sunshine, but no matter where you find yourself today, choosing God’s answers for your life and accepting the gifts of the spirit that God is offering you will open your life in ways that you cannot imagine. God is ready to show you what abundance really means. God is ready to take you through the changes and show you the possibilities of embracing a new identity in Him. And when you do, God is going to take you places that you’ve never even dreamed of and give you life and life abundant.