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A Psalm 25 Study for Personal Transformation

Facing our Behavior

It isn’t easy to face the truth about ourselves and our behavior, yet failing to do so can cause our situation to grow from bad to worse. David, in Psalm 25, found that the more he resisted change the more his problems multiplied. He had to face the truth about his actions and behavior and be willing to seek God’s forgiveness if ever he were to move forward to live a life of purpose.

The more we sit with whatever negative behavior or thoughts we have; the more likely we are to continue to repeat our negative behavior. The more we stay where we are and refuse to “face the music” for our action, the more likely we are to add on in an attempt to cover up or to justify our conduct. Sooner or later these things will become unbearable. God will let us sit in our mess until we are ready to acknowledge our actions and the pain leads us to seek forgiveness and transformation. Forgiveness, however, is not enough unless we also commit to changing our lives.

I know on my journey out of the darkness it took reminders from people close to me that what I was doing was self-destructive. I needed friends to speak the truth into the situation, even when I did not want to hear what they had to say. Several bouts of broken hearts and depression finally led me to hear what they were saying and to seek professional help. As part of that professional help I found that God was walking with me and standing with open arms to accept me, to forgive me, and to transform my life. It took many years and much anguish, but today I can say that God has released the bonds that trapped me and I have been rescued from a devastating life style.

Have you found yourself stuck in a behavior or activity that is causing you anguish and keeping you from the things you should be doing with your life? It could be something as simple as using your credit cards to pay for things you want rather than paying off your bills and finding financial freedom. Maybe you are holding a grudge against someone and it colors not only your reaction to the person you think slighted you, but it also colors how you interact with other people. You may build walls to protect yourself and you may be missing a greater blessing. It could be as serious as needing to seek professional help with an addictive behavior—be it drugs, alcohol, food, or sex. Maybe you did something that was unethical and haven’t owned up to it yet, so you live in fear of being found out. Freedom comes with speaking truth and sharing.

Whatever is keeping you on the darker path, remember that God will not abandon us. He may let us suffer in our mess longer than we like, but when we reach out, he will be there. I learned for myself that the longer I stayed in destructive relationships, the sadder I became and the more I removed myself from relationships with my friends. Today I am humbled and blessed to be able to share with others just how God inspired me to change by letting me hurt so that I would ask for help. I hope today you will be motivated to seek help to change your life too.

© maggiemarcum.com

“My problems go from bad to worse. Oh save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins.” Psalm 25: 17-18 New Living Translation

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My Faith & Transformation Journey

Keeping the Faith

It can be hard to keep the faith and journey forward when life throws you a curve ball. I learned that I will soon be out of a job and am struggling to see God’s hand here. I know it is there, but when the sting is fresh, it is hard to believe life’s upsets are part of his plan. “Remain steadfast,” I tell myself when everything seems be unraveling before my eyes. “Persevere,” I see in my own writings. But: “how?” and “why?” and “what now?” cloud my thinking right now.

There is a verse in Proverbs 16:9 that says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” This goes with the old Yiddish saying: “Man plans and God laughs.” I was reminded by someone that God saw this coming even though I did not. It would be easy for me to become frantic about my finances and my grandiose plans for the coming months, but the truth is—those were my plans. There was a part of me that realized that I was riding on the edge again with some grand schemes I thought I could circumvent the process just a little to get what I want.

I…me…want…

You see, this is what happens when you step on the God road forward. The road may have bumps in it. You may steer clear to avoid them only to land in the ditch. Once back on the path, the road may smooth out for a while, until the next pothole throws you out of alignment. Correction follows correction. Gripping hard to the steering wheel of self will is only likely to send you flying in the wrong direction. Loosening the grip and gradually steering down the road of change is more likely to get you where you need to be. Hold firm instead to God’s promises and live to see the solutions unfold.

“We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.” Proverbs 16:33

These bumps today lead me back to where I can trust that God will provide for all my needs. Jesus tells us not to “worry about everyday life” and to be content that we have enough to cover our basic needs. There is nothing to be gained from worrying about tomorrow. If I allow those thoughts to dominate my thinking, I will most likely derail my progress by thinking that all has been lost. I would much rather stay hopeful and believe that all these pieces fit together for my good, as he would have it.

I am learning that I have to adjust my plans to better align with God’s plans. I have learned not to doubt that there is purpose in these bumps. If I can remain steadfast, I can also get through to the other side of pain and discomfort much faster. God has hit me with the two-by-four again and has closed the door. I prayed and he answered. I dug my heels in when he said: “go” and now I am gone! It will all be good. I will grow. I will be stronger. And I will be right where God wants me to be. Where I have needed to be all along.

How do you deal with life’s curve balls? How do you keep moving forward when your plans have been upset? I would love you hear what scriptures help you keep on the path when life knocked you off.

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My Faith & Transformation Journey

Courage to Change

Living a purposeful life often requires us to make changes in our behaviors and attitudes. I can tell you from personal experience, that change is never easy. It takes courage. It takes willingness. It takes a first step. Maybe the adventure you are setting out on will change the lives of many people, or maybe it will just improve the circumstances around you. Regardless of the reason you have decided to begin to live a more purposeful life, you know it will require change. And it may require a degree of tenacity to make those committed changes in your life.

I have been drawn to The Beatitudes (Matthew 5) lately. Just as Psalm 25 was where I found forgiveness and grace, The Beatitudes is where I am finding courage to move forward with my dream. I want to live a life for God. I have never actually done that before and it is terrifying. I can’t begin to imagine the changes that God has planned for my life, but in these words I am reminded that he will bless me and I will find a joy I have never known before. That part excites me!

I have had this dream of helping other women to climb out of the dark life that is keeping them chained and unable to see the light of God’s purpose for them. I have wanted to reach my hand out and give them courage to change their circumstances. I have wanted to find a way for them to see their potential and to walk with them as they grow in faith and as their life circumstances improve. I have wanted to be God’s instrument and I have been afraid because I wasn’t sure I had changed enough yet. And I was, and probably still am, afraid that I would be laughed at and mocked and told that I wasn’t good enough.

Thankfully, I have a few good people in my life who have asked me the tough questions about dragging my feet. They are helping me to see the Holy Spirit working in my life and to “get over myself.” Purposeful living isn’t about us, it is all about God and how he will use us. Once we realize that and take that first step forward in obedience to his plan, the whole world will open up. This vision for my life that I have sat on—God knew it would take time. He let me sit in the dark just long enough for me to be ready to move forward. Baby steps forward. I have started and will see where it all goes.

How about you? Are you ready to take a first step toward purposeful living? Are you ready to start by saying: “I need to change a few things?” What is on your list of things to improve? Do you need to ask someone for help? Ask. Ask someone to walk the road from here to there with you. Pray that God will provide that person for you. Come out of the dark. I know it is scary but the light is so much warmer and brighter.

“God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it. Be very glad! F. And for a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted too.” Matthew 5:11-12 New Living Translation

Categories
My Faith & Transformation Journey

Slowly Transformed

Walking in the zoo the other day, I saw this tree that was beginning to turn into autumn colors. Way at the top, just a hint of red was showing through. It was surrounded by other tress that were already fully converted to fall and full of red and bright orange leaves. And there were trees around it that remained a stubborn green. And I thought; “isn’t that like us—some just starting to transform, some well on our way, and some who are holding back?”

My transformation journey took me to a few key passages in the Bible which I cling to as my inspiration to change. One is Psalm 25 and the other influential passage on my life is Romans 12:2. I heard it at a youth conference and was so moved that it became my mantra and one I often share with others to encourage them. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (NLT)

Every time I read this passage I am reminded that God wants me to be and do more with my life than what I was and am doing. Every day he wants me to move forward and a little closer to his image. I learned here that God could change me in ways I could never change myself. He could break the bonds to hurtful times in my life and set me on a new path unlike any I was living. He could fulfil my “if only” dreams of a better life. But it had to begin by changing the way I think, or maybe enriching the way I think.

Yesterday I began a list of things I wish I did differently. I wish I gossiped less and complained about people less. I wish I was fully doing what I believe God has called me to do. I wish I could forgive quicker and show mercy faster. I wish I was doing a better job with managing my finances. I wish I gave more time and money to others. I wish I could lose these 50 extra pounds of unhealthy living. I wish I was fully living out God’s purpose for my life.

And then I looked at the things I am good at and the things I have accomplished. I feel loved when I never trusted love. I am better at seeing people as God sees them and not judging them. I am not hiding relationships that I should not be a part of. I have time I never had to change the things above and to answer God’s call. I am being honest about my financial situation and have a plan forward. I am eating healthier and losing a little weight at a time. I have a strong rich spiritual life and an unshakeable faith. I know what God wants from me and I have put one foot forward to get where I’m going. I am happy. I am content. I have real joy.

These things came slowly. Just like the slowly changing tree, I am making progress on my wish list. And some of the things I started to change a few years ago are now full blown and bright spots in my life. And yes, I am still probably digging my heels in on some things—but God will get me on them when he is ready for me to get on them.

Transformation—a process forward. What inspires you to change? What motivates you to take the first step? Where are you heading and how are you getting there? I would love to hear your story and weave it into my God-story. Please share your ideas below.

Blessings,

Maggie M.
© maggiemarcum.com