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The Power of Observation: Hope for Christian Transformation

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

It can be discouraging to feel like you never measure up. Let’s explore one key to true and meaningful Christ-like transformation.

No doubt, you have been there before. You went online looking for something benign but what you found was a someone who seemed to be more attractive, more exciting, and more (fill in the blank) than you. Next thing you know, you are feeling lousy about yourself. The comparison game is no fun when you feel like you are not on the winning team.

I think we all pretty much know by now that the pictures and stories of the “supermen and women” we see online are not reflective of their true selves. Photoshop and good copy editing has seen to that. But there’s another reason it’s not reality. And that is: as soon as we become an observer of our own life for the purpose of documentation, that very life changes. There is no way around it.

Just think about it . . . how different would your family hike last weekend have been if you left your phone in the car and had no way of documenting it while it was happening or when you were done? At the lookout, would you have spent time trying to get that perfect shot, or would you have just soaked in the wonder of God’s creation?

In Fredrich Beuchner’s book, “The Alphabet of Grace,” he tried to observe the work of the Lord in his life during the course of one ordinary day and document it. But he noted that by looking for the ways God was working in his day so he would have something to write about, the work of God in his day substantively changed.

If this “observer self” stance can produce a change in behavior, then we have a lot of reasons to be hopeful.

First of all, we can stop comparing our insides to the outsides of people online. (Let’s face it, if you had the time to write and photograph every moment of your day, your life would be a lot different too.) And secondly, we can stop striving in our flesh to change and stop beating ourselves up when we fail. The road to real transformation starts inside, with simple awareness and a heart intent to move in His direction.

Take a minute to meditate on these verses of hope:

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

“Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col 3:10)

“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6).

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “. . . this Helper who will, in the long run, be satisfied with nothing less than absolute perfection, will also be delighted with the first feeble, stumbling effort you make tomorrow to do the simplest duty.”

So what are some “stumbling efforts” we can employ? One way is to simply be aware of God’s presence throughout your day. Talk to Him, invite Him to occupy your thoughts. Ask Him for the ability to reflect on your own heart and motives. Try to adopt a stance of looking at your life with the “mind of Christ.” Try “documenting” your life by journaling with Him about a situation you are facing and then asking, “Lord, what do you want to say to me about that?” Then write what you hear Him say. He will answer.

If you are a follower of Christ, a sort of superman/woman status (ie, Christ-likeness) is waiting for you, regardless of how close you get to it in this life. Remember: it’s not about perfection today, it’s about the direction you are headed, one intentional, self-observing step at a time.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

About the author

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura Kuehn, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in children and families. CfP is the place she combines some of her very favorite things: writing, parenting and God's word. She loves encouraging parents to build their families upon Jesus, the one true Cornerstone. She is happily married to a wonderfully supportive husband and is the mother of two delightfully inspiring children.

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