It may be theoretically possible for a person to willfully change his character. However, if I tried that, chances are my new character would be just as screwed up as the old, as any change I concocted would be based on my own self-centered ego. My intentions might be admirable, but the results just another disaster, as I would still be my own reference point.
So how does meaningful change take place? It may be by doing two things consistently–waiting and listening. Over 2500 years ago in Israel, the prophet Elijah who went into a funk after taking on Jezebel and the prophets of Baal, ultimately pulled his head out by doing exactly those two things as God spoke to him “in a still small voice.” He waited for the flow, and it came to him and carried him. It was the last thing he tried, but when the voice came, he was listening.
I’ve watched the Brazos River become a raging torrent during floods. Its power and sound are imposing and frightening. I’ve also sat for hours and watched its normal slow but steady current as it leaves Lake Whitney and quietly makes its way through Central Texas to the Gulf of Mexico. Its flow was almost imperceptible but still peacefully powerful. If I hadn’t closely watched it, I would have thought it completely still.
As Richard Rohr says, “our common metaphors for the Holy Spirit all honor and point to a kind of flow experience: living water, blowing wind, descending flames, and alighting doves.” Sometimes the flow takes time and is almost unnoticeable. It’s like God can’t be too obvious, or I would ruin it.
Time is one commodity that is plentiful here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, so waiting will happen. Listening is doable, but certainly more challenging.