Monday, January 7, 2008

Life Changes - Five Ways They're All the Same

This was originally written and posted for my Nutrition blog, but I thought it might be a good one to post here too...

I've had two major "conversions" in my life (and probably other small ones too): my "food conversion" and my Christian conversion. DON'T LEAVE YET! I won't go weird on you, but this really is kind of interesting, so stick with me. Even if you haven't been through either of those types of conversions, chances are you've had other times in your life when you've noticed a difference in yourself and began having new convictions as far as how you chose to live from that point on. No matter what area of your life you made changes in, I'll bet you've noticed some of the same things that I have. (If you've noticed other similarities too, please leave a comment below!) I thought a post on this topic might help, so you know you're not alone when you deal with the same issues.

Here are five ways I've found all life-changes are the same:

  1. After I went through both conversions, I wanted to tell EVERYONE about it! I was so excited about these newfound truths and thought the world should know. I have no doubt in my mind that in both cases I irritated some people like crazy. (And still do at times, I'm sure!) It took time and some growing to realize that everyone isn't always ready or willing to hear what I wanted to share, just because I wanted to share it. Sometimes, just like I was previously, they aren't "there" yet and may not care to ever be there, either. (It wasn't that long ago that I didn't care about things like trans fats and high fructose corn syrup on ingredient labels either!) Now I try to be a better listener to their stories and hear about where they are at, instead of talking about myself. (Every person has a lot to teach others, no matter where they are in their own journey.)
  2. I learned that whenever you make big changes in your life, you will be attacked for it. Sometimes in huge ways, but at the very least you will probably be accused of going "overboard" like I was, although I never could figure out how in my particular types of conversions someone can go overboard. When it comes to Christianity, how can you try too much to be more like God, who is only good? When it comes to eating healthy, can you do that too much? Especially in America?! Nevertheless, people sometimes feel they have to defend themselves, because maybe they aren't ready to make the same changes yet. I've been accused (often) of "depriving" my poor kids of sweets or junk food. So when this happens, I've learned to have thick skin and not let it bother me, because usually they're only joking around, or sometimes they just don't understand. I know that what I'm doing is better for our family, not just in the present, but far into the future, and that's all that matters. The point is, anytime you are different from others, you will be persecuted (some things never change - remind anyone of high school?!), and I happen to think that means I just might be on the right track!
  3. I also learned in both instances that nothing you say is going to make some people want to make positive changes in their life until they are really ready (or when it comes to Christianity, until the Spirit moves in them...) This is a tough one for me because, like anyone else, I really love my family & friends, and just want their body & souls to be healthy! But I remind myself that nobody likes a know-it-all or a bulldozer, so if there is a way I can help or when the timing is right, I pray I'll be ready and speak when I'm supposed to. Until then it is not my business what choices others make in their lives, and I'm sure they are where they feel they need to be for now. I'm learning to respect that and keep my mouth shut more. (I still need a lot of help with that one at times!)
  4. The time frame that change happens is different for everyone. No matter what type of conversion is going on inside you, for some people it takes place over a very long period of time (years) and for others it is fast (a moment), and I've heard many stories in-between. However, no matter how it happens is "OK", all that matters is that you're growing over time and becoming more the person you want to be (or even more important, the person God wants you to be.)
  5. Lastly, both times I learned that God really can do the impossible in us! Even though I grew up going to church now and then, there was so much I didn't understand about even the word, "Christian", so for me to be able to get past those barriers and many others, and decide to open up to Him more in my own Christian conversion, was miraculous. As far as my food conversion, this is how I know He did the impossible with that: when I can go to the grocery store and bypass my beloved Cocoa Puffs or Pop Tarts because of all the junk in their ingredient labels, you KNOW He has done something impossible in me!

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