I used to call them light switch moments.
At one time, the light was off. Then, it was on. This clearly defined transition worked well for me until recently.
I remember a time at which I thought it was perfectly reasonable to eat only mac and cheese for all meals, always (I happened to be 4 years old). And, then there was a time that I started to eat vegetables and meat and realized I had a severe dairy intolerance. Light switch.
I remember a time when I thought going to the bathroom in public restrooms with the door open because I was afraid of the “dark and bad guys getting me” was socially acceptable. Then, Amy Nosser let me know I was misinformed in the 3rd grade. Light switch.
I remember thinking that that there was next to nothing wrong with drinking until I blacked out and partying my nights away in high school, because I had to make my own mistakes . . . And then, that was clearly not the truth. Light switch.
I have spent a lot of time with teenagers trying to find their way to freedom, typically through faith. I have explained this theory to them when they say to me, “I just can’t seem to make a change.”
“One day, a switch will go off and you will understand,” I would say to them. “You will look back at the person you were the day before and think, I never want to be that person again. You won’t be perfect from that moment on, but you will have an understanding of who you want to be that changes the weight of your decisions.”
Here’s the thing. I don’t often admit that I am wrong. So, be nice to me.
I think I missed it a little. Here’s what led me to this moment:
As I’ve gotten older, and further removed from certain pressures (to be replaced by other pressures) I have had fewer “light switch moments.” Does that mean I am no longer changing?
Anyone who knows me well, knows that could not be further from the truth.
I am definitely not the same person I was at 17. I am far from the scared girl I was 8 years ago when I got married. I am not the same wife I was 5 years ago when I became a mother. I am a different woman than I was even a few months ago, by a long shot.
As a parent, I understand a different kind of change. We call it growth.
When I see my child every day, I don’t notice until their pants start to show their ankles that they have been growing taller. But, when Auntie Karla sees them after a year, she is floored at their development!
Sometimes, we experience growth spurts and grow 5 inches over a summer. Sometimes, we go through puberty and LITERALLY EVERYTHING CHANGES.
Then, there are the frustrating times we measure ourselves 5 times and haven’t grown an inch!
The Creator designed our bodies to grow. He designed us to change throughout life. I believe that everything created is intended to be a picture of the relationship of our Creator and His family: Our bodies grow to give us a picture of how our spirits grow.
Paul, a leader in the early church said it this way:
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:11-12
I used to call them light switch moments. I used to think that there was complete darkness and then there was complete light. Then, we move on to find a new darkness that can be switched to light. Black. White. Moments that I control.
Now, I am convinced that life is much more like an out of focus masterpiece. A reflection we don’t see clearly. But, we don’t know it because all we’ve known is out-of-focus sight.
Before I got glasses, I didn’t know how bad my vision was. I can still remember seeing clearly for the first time in 4th grade when I put on my new glasses. That first day I was able to finish school without a headache.
In my new normal, I experienced less pain and more clarity.
I want to live my life experiencing progressively less pain and more clarity as my vision clears.
What’s so encouraging about this whole idea is that I needed glasses to see. We need a new lens to see life through for our vision to clear. It is not within our ability to heal our sight.
Christ is our new lens. Only through Him can we see clearly.
Growth is about realizing how incomplete my sight is and trusting that God sees me completely. It’s clear sight (both hindsight and foresight) that changes the weight of our decisions.
It doesn’t matter as much how quickly my vision clears, as long as I know that the God I give my life for sees me and all that is around me with perfect clarity. His vision is the standard by which I can measure my growth.
The Creator-Redeemer has perfect vision. And, He is a perfect artist.
Darkness is bigger than my moments. And, it is defeated by the Light that sees all of Creation with perfect clarity.