Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hope and Change

I would like change.  I wish I were thin.  Really, what I would love, is to wake up one morning in a new body.  Convinced that I could maintain a healthy weight, if only I could start over again.  Isn't that what we all would like?  A clean slate.  A new start.  There is only one problem - me.  I am who I am.  It was me who got me into this fix, and it will have to be me who gets me out.  A new body wouldn't make a bit of difference.  Oh, for a few months, everything would be great.  From the outside, I would look like a whole new person - but the reality of who I am, the real me, wouldn't have changed.  As time went on, that would become evident in my new body.  A few pounds here and a cookie there and I would be back where I started.

I have seen this replayed over and over and over.  Friends have moved great distances for the lure of more money.  When they have more money, they reason, they will no longer be in debt.  No more living paycheck to paycheck.  With more money, they will control the beast they have created.  Much to their dismay, however, maybe even to their demise, the beast is not conquered, it only grows.  With more money feeding it's every desire, the beast of their creation not only grows, but quietly consumes them.  Thinking they could change their circumstances from the outside in, they were lulled into a false sense of security.  "If only we could start over, we could beat this thing....".

I have known people who live in squalor, garbage piling high, a veritable epidemic waiting to happen.  They think "If only we had a new home, then we would keep it clean", only to find that wherever they go, there they are.  Their new home soon takes the shape of their old one.  Why?  Because they didn't change themselves from the inside - they only sought a change of address, not a change of heart.

Our leaders are selling hope and change. They are encouraing us to attempt to change ourselves, our neighbors, our cities and our nation from the outside in.  We give more money to the schools in the hopes of improving education.  We enroll more and more and more people on food stamps and medicaid, claiming to battle ignorance and chronic health problems.  We pour money into impoverished neighborhoods and move the underprivileged into "better" homes.  We make ourselves feel better because we are "doing" something for our fellow man.  But, the truth of the matter is that we are doing worse than nothing.  We are crippling people.  We are lying to them.  We are telling people that mere money will change their lives, but we are leading them down the path to certain failure.  The truth is that only diligence, hard work, and perseverance will change people's circumstances.  Only when people see that they are living wrongly can they begin to live rightly.  Giving mortgage assistance to someone who doesn't pay their mortgage doesn't make their lives better, it only extends the period of time in which they can avoid the inevitable.

Interestingly, when we get into the business of "helping" our neighbor at the expense of their own growth, we are the ones who end up paying the price.  Not only do they blame us for their predicament, they expect us to fix it for them.  After all, weren't we the ones who said this would work?  Think about it - we have, as a nation, attempted to fix the unemployment situation with government assistance.  That, of course, didn't address the real problem.  Now, we have unprecedented numbers of people applying for Social Security Disability (because their 99 weeks of unemployment ran out) and we are expected to cough up more money.  Why?  Because we told them we could fix their problems with other peoples money.  It didn't work.  In fact, it took away their incentive to work and robbed them of their self-reliance and pride.

The reality of life is that it is hard.  It takes work, disappointment and the guts to walk forward.  Life means making sacrifices and doing things you really don't want to do. But in the process, you change.  And then, an amazing thing happens.  As you change, so do your circumstances.  After years of diligently working hard and spending your money wisely, you find that you have a comfortable cushion - no more living from paycheck to paycheck.  After denying yourself the foolish cravings of your stomach, eating only what you know to be good for you, you wake up one morning with energy beyond your wildest expectations and clothes that are 4 sizes smaller.  Picking up the clothes on the floor and the garbage in the yard, even when it would be far easier not to, rewards you with a tidy, well kept home that you are proud to call your own.

We need to change our nation by changing ourselves.  We have to learn the value of diligence and suffering and sacrifice.  We have to the do the hard things in order to realize true change.  We have to quit putting money where our mouth is and instead encourage and value the work and character required to make us better people.

Offering hope to our nation requires work, not money.  We are going to have to get our hands dirty to change our lives.  Only when we quit trying to effect change from the outside will we have hope on the inside.  And then, only then, will we flourish as a people, a culture and a nation.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18


  1. Some will tell you "It's not that easy".
    The truth of the matter is it is that easy.

  2. This is truly an amazing post. You're a fantastic writer Enola. You speak the truth in a heartfelt way.

  3. i get earfuls every day about how things are not easy, or i cant do that, or i dont know where to start or how to do it...anon.4;54 got it right and it is that easy...we have a very lazy, spoiled society these days who have been raised up to have no common sense or reasoning.

  4. Very well said! May I post a link on my fb? I would love to share your thoughts.

    1. You are more than welcome to post this on your FB page. Thank you for your comment.


  5. Great post. I totally agree. Shouldn't we expect the last days to be like this, right is wrong and wrong is right? Don't believe God is going to let this sinful world go on much longer.

  6. If Noah and Sons, Inc. did not build the ark - but instead " left it up to the other guy to provide for him and his family ", perhaps .... pause ... - perhaps HE was teaching us ANOTHER lesson !

  7. Amen! We do our neighbors a great disservice by not allowing them to help themselves.

  8. Something I found out the hard way some years ago-there are people you can't help. They may be related to you. I felt sorry for some family,and allowed them to stay with me for a while-"until they found a job"..Long story short, you can drink more if you have someone else providing the rest. They became more demanding as time went on. Three very long weeks. Sometimes, your own family will do it to you harder than any stranger will, because they feel you "owe" them(but never ask them to help with anything!), or that it's OK to beg/steal/lie/complain about everything/generally be a pain because you're family.Throwing them out will cause even more drama with other family members(who are now worrying that the ones you threw out will show up on their doorstep). I don't mind helping someone, so long as they are trying to help themselves as best they can.

  9. Oh, if only everyone in America could read this!

  10. Amen! We can not force charity! It is only after we give our selfish lives to Christ that the blessings of charity is prospering. Happy Easter! HE IS RISEN!

  11. Change only comes by faith and obedience to Jesus Christ and being an imitator of Him, as His Holy Scriptures tell us. He is the only one who changes hearts. Other than one can ever change for the better. Being grateful for His provision has been lost on a selfish, spoiled nation wjho buys into every fad and toy that comes across any TV screen or, promoted by the latest movie star.

    Thank you heavenly Father that I don't have to be on the hampster treadmill that so many people "think" they have to be on to "keep up with......" (fill in the blank); I don't have to buy the next electronic wizadry gadget because I am not addicted to "images" that take me away from my family, humanity, my
    God or my life; or drugs - legal or illegal or alcohol because I want self-control over my body - God's temple. I tell my God thank You everyday that He gives me my next breath of life, food for the day, shelter and good health. I am grateful for the air I breathe and His hand upon the aches and pains in my body because they keep my humble.

    We take so much here for granted in this country that we've become selfish, self-absorbed, arrogant, brutish and lack any kind of concern or anguish for what is happening to our once great nation that has been destroyed by more self-serving, arrogant, prideful, evil, rogue leaders.

    I thank God everyday that He is in control, knows and sees everything that is going on and, like Pharaoh in the days of Moses, will only allow these cruel leaders get away with as much as He lets them to serve His purposes - to bring His people to Him to see His magnificent power on their behalf and to, ultimately rid this world of the wicked and evil forces of satan to usher in His everlasting Kingdom to come - we behold the final undoings of man's failed government that is at hand. Jesus come quickly!!!

  12. I occurred to me one time during very tough times (alone/divorced and out of work) that in the end, I was truly alone (no one else inside my mind other than me) and that 'plugging into' another person or doing things to divert my mind would not fix the situation. If change had to happen, it had to happen with me first (after all, no matter where I went, I would always find me waiting there) and if I could change my world from inside, the outside world would be alright. As Anne Raynd stated, '...the smallest minority is the individual...': words to live by in my opinion.
    Good post and words well said - thank you.

  13. Enola,
    I have been reading your blog for quite some time. Our small farm is way east of the redoubt but just the same we are prepared to hunker down and with the Lord's help make the best of whatever comes our way. I would like to say that while you and I would never agree on (most) or our politics, I appreciate whatever you have to say, mainly becaue your positions are not only well articulated, they give evidence that you are a woman quite capable of cohesive, rational thought. The process of thinking is something that seems to be in very short supply in our country. I believe you are exactly right when you talk of our leaders taking us to places we don't need to go, but again to the ears of unthinking people who rely on someone else (government) to tell them what they should do, the lies and deceptions don't seem to matter, especially if you can't "think" of any alternatives on your own. I no longer believe that any of our leaders either in office or aspiring to office are willing to share what they might know about our national or global future. Worse yet, would be if they really didn't know what lies ahead. This would be the ultimate understanding of the blind leading the blind. Because of this I no longer vote as I don't see either side having the wherewithal to tell the public the truth or the guts to pull the plug on a system that is going in the wrong direction. Thanks for listening and may God continue to bless you and yours going forward. PS, I am a native born Scot and often wonder if Sir Knight might be as well?

  14. "Change is violent!"as my former boss used to say. I've discovered that change only comes in a crisis. Otherwise there is no need when we are in our comfort zone, no matter how unconfortable that may be. Nothing changes if nothing changes!!

    Fear of the unknown is a great change deterrent but only when we've been in the very bottom of the dark pit and have nowhere else to go but reach up do we realize that what we've been doing is no longer working for us.

    Only when we walk through that gut wrenching time of making changes for the better do we finally reach the mountaintop of pure joy. We become more alive, see life through a different and better lens of self worth and love in our Creator. We have more compassion for those who are now where we've been and we made it through. Only then can we say to them as we come alongside "I understand. I made it through and you can too." Making one of life's changes for the better for ourselves and others, then coming along side another to share our journey of hope is one of God's good gifts to all of us who do so.

  15. May I highly recommend a very life-changing, deeply moving, caring and thoughtfully written book -

    "One Thousand Gifts - A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.
    by Ann Voskamp

  16. There's an old saying "That which is too easily gotten, is too lightly esteemed." I've found that to be very true in life. Easy, instant gratification, quick fix...we all want that to be true so we don't have to feel,one last agonizing time, the pain and anger of the hurt to get to pure joy.

    I appreciate and truly believe what Ann Voskamp tells us in her book above -

    "All new life labors out of the very bowels of darkness. That fullest life itself dawns from nothing but Calvary darkness and tomb-cave black into the radience of Easter morning.

    Out of the darkness of the cross, the world transfigures into new life. And there is no other way.

    Then...yes: It is dark suffering's umbilical cord that alone can untether new life. It is suffering that has the realest possibility to bear down and deliver grace. And grace that chooses to bear the cross of suffering overcomes that suffering."