You know the moment. Everything seems to converge at once. Sometimes it revolves around one bad thing after another happening. Sometimes, in the case of transformation, nothing will ever be the same again. All that you’ve been through, all that you’ve learned and suffered suddenly crystallizes in a breakthrough experience.

We’ve all been through a few transformation moments. Heck, we made it through our teens, didn’t we? But when transformation and Christianity combine, I get a little scared. I fear I’m going to be asked to do something I don’t want to do. Do you know what I mean? Jesus wasn’t all that popular, you know? If I’m going to be like him, I’m not sure I like that unpopular part. I still want to be liked, you know?

Sometimes I’m not sure how much I want to be like Jesus.

I know the devil encourages this fearfulness. I try to push it away.

Already I’m in trouble with this line of thinking. My terms. Self-centeredness. I’m supposed to desire to do the will of God, not my own. Okay, I hear my heart acquiescing, but it does so grudgingly. Does that make me a bad Christian? apostles photo Photo by edenpictures

The apostles grumbled and mumbled a lot among themselves, so maybe you and I aren’t that far off base if you’re with me on being a little afraid of Christian transformation stuff.

You see, I’m feeling off lately. And I don’t think it’s just about moving (which we did at the end of the year) or Hurricane Michael (October 10, 2018).

Something was about to change.

transformation photoSomething was about to change. Do you know that edgy feeling? Like something is brewing inside? Like maybe God’s working on you somehow? I’ve been told that could be the Holy Spirit working inside us, removing obstacles, pains, old wounds… I’ve felt this feeling before. The apostles, I’m sure, felt it in the upper room.

Transformation makes me edgy.

I don’t like the word transformation. It sounds too theological and demanding. To transform means to change and that can be scary.

Transformation is an Easter word, a conversion experience—ultimately a Christian experience—for to know Jesus is to change. Some new Christians don’t change a lot at first. Some change for a while but revert since for centuries, we humans fall back on our old ways. The Bible is full of those stories.

But if we hang out with Jesus, if we do more than give Him lip service and send Him an occasional greeting as we do with social media posts, then we end up becoming like him, in other words, transforming.

Becoming more like Jesus

Jesus and Mary at the tomb photo

Photo by Tim Evanson

He loves you.

When Jesus called Mary Magdalene by her name on the morning of his resurrection, he communicated to her that he knew everything in her life and accepted her unconditionally. In this moment of hearing her name, she realized how much Jesus loved her. Fr. Thomas Keating called this her first step in transformation.

“The movement from the human condition to divine transformation requires the mediation of a personal relationship with God. The personal love of Jesus facilitates the growth of this relationship. The experience of being loved by him draws the Christian out of all selfishness into deeper levels of self-surrender. The simple utterance of one word, “Mary!” brought to focus all her longings. Her response was to throw herself into the arms of Jesus as she cried out in her joy, “Master!”

“We are not told how long this embrace lasted, but through that experience she was raised to the next level of contemplative prayer, which is the capacity to see all things in God.” Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ

As we continue our relationship with Jesus in these days after Easter, our heart may ask, “what’s “next?” What’s next in your relationship with the One who calls your name and loves you unconditionally?

Wouldn’t that be something, to see all things in God?

John Bartunek in his marvellous book, The Better Part, asked why Jesus used an angel to tell Mary that he wasn’t there. Why didn’t Jesus do so Himself? His answer is because Jesus would never force himself on her or us. He needs to see we’re ready, we welcome him, we “knock.” Or in the case of Mary, we go looking for him.

What’s next, Lord? I’m a little nervous about what you might ask me to do next, but you are an amazing God. And I do love you. So, I wait. What’s next? I’ve got my antenna up.transformation photo Help me choose the better part.

If you’re looking for a story about how someone listens and learns from God in their everyday life, read or listen to the audiobook God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul. Click here to read what others say about it.