About eight years ago, I began a journey to make changes and transform my life. My Christian walk had become dry and lifeless. I began searching and praying for change. I began taking part in life-changing events including my initial weekend with The Crucible Project. My transformation curve seemed to make an upward turn.
However, there were times that I slipped back into my old ways and patterns of doing life. When that happened, I felt worse than before. And during those times, I began to question if I had made any change at all. Over the course of time I have seen some indicators of change. The answer to whether or not I have changed is… “Yes.”
I lead a group of men who have also attended a Crucible Weekend. After a year or so of leading this group, I began to notice a common feeling among some of us.
The conversation would go something like this: “I did my weekend and I am faithful to group, yet I sometimes feel that I have made no progress at all.”
For me — as the group leader — I could see quite a bit of change and difference in the man who was wondering. I quickly pointed out to him that I could see quite a bit of change. The group concurred and supported him. He could not see it, but others around him could.
That was the first indicator that I am not the man I once was. By watching someone else and his transformation process, I realized that I am changing too. It is hard for me to see it looking in the mirror.
I’m also a high school principal and we’ve been making some changes at our school. As we navigated those changes, one of the books I read was Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change by William Bridges. . Personally, the book has given me a new glimpse in the momentum I have established in the transformation process I started eight years ago. If you’re wondering the same things I have been, then Bridges’ insights might be useful for you. Bridges breaks transitions into three phases (see diagram below):
- There is the Ending, Losing, and Letting go phase.
- There is a Neutral Zone.
- Finally, there is a New Beginning.
Here’s how his phases have applied to my personal transition:
- When I started my transformation journey, I began the Ending, Losing, and Letting go phase. I took part in several activities and processes to “end” how I was previously doing life (One of those activities was my initial weekend with The Crucible Project).
- “Ending” how I was doing life placed me in the neutral zone. In the neutral zone, I do not see the new beginning clearly. However, in the neutral zone, I can take risks and try new ways of living. This area is scary, ambiguous, and sometimes disorienting. There is a lot of unknown in the neutral zone. It is easy at times to want to go back to the old way of doing things. I am still letting go of some old ways and patterns. However, I am freed from the old life to walk new. I’ll fail at times. But the moving forward toward the new beginning has given me new life.
- The new beginning will create other areas where transformation will need to occur. I know that God can change me in an instant. But I also know that is not how He works to build me into who I supposed to be. I have to let go of the old, wrestle with where I am, and look to the new. This will be ongoing. That is why life is called a journey…not a destination.
So, when I wonder if I’ve really changed after all this work, here are three things I do:
- I see the change in others and realize that I have changed as well.
- I look at the old me and reflect on where I was versus on where I am now.
- I recognize that I am on a journey … and not just reaching a destination.
I may not see my transformation progress like I see it in others. But ,when I begin the process of reflection and awareness, I begin to see and believe that change is happening. The journey continues, men.
– By Byron Myers
Byron completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2009. His deepest desire is to help believe in their God-given goodness and live lives of integrity, authenticity and feel loved and accepted. Byron recently published his first ebook, Weekly Devotional Thoughts: Weekly Applications of God’s Word. Byron is the High School Principal at Midland Christian School in Midland, TX. Follow Byron at Weekly Devotional Thoughts.
Photo Credit: Robert Anthony Provost