Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Participation 4: Change

Question:

How is God inviting you to change?
Write your Answer – click here

Transcript of Video:

You know, all of us know that transformation, change, always has challenges and pain involved in it. And I can remember lots of times in my life when I’ve gotten to a place where I think, “Okay, I know we’re on a little plateau here, God, but I’m not really ready for any more challenges and I don’t really want much more pain in my life. I feel like I’ve done that.” And I think about God just kind of smiles and says, “We’re moving onto the next place. We’re going deeper and I’ll be there with my spirit to support you and help you but it’s just part of life.”

And I think the most wonderful thing about it is that I always know that it’s not the voice of God or the movement of God in my life if it’s something that feels too difficult and too isolating. That whenever God is offering me a challenge, I also have this great sense that well this might be difficult but the spirit will be there and the spirit will … well, the yolk will be easy and the burden will be light.

– Br. Tom Shaw

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49 Comments

  1. Annmarie on January 29, 2015 at 13:07

    To put my faith and trust in God, thank him for my life and pray every day.

  2. Yvonne Morrison on April 6, 2014 at 10:35

    It’s hard to think this way but when I am surrounded with many challenges especially when they are numerous I know God is near. God is near and drawing me closer to a change. The change can mean a new way of thinking, a renewed sense of understanding, a new direction, a letting go, or any number of things. He is near because in the midst of this chaos there is peace.

  3. Maida on April 1, 2014 at 20:50

    Thank you Bishop Shaw- Brother Tom ,
    For your asking us to see wher god invites us into change via challenge- and where might we be treading wAter where Zgid has not asked us to go!
    Lovingly
    Maida

  4. Marilyn Weir on March 31, 2014 at 07:30

    The lesson always seems to be to let go – letting go in my life. To trust God more? To have faith more? That’s all part of letting go.

  5. Deacon Susan in California on March 29, 2014 at 12:55

    I have prayed for an answer to this question. I was so deeply moved by seeing and hearing Bp Tom and so inspired by his trust in the Spirit and his rejection of anything isolating. I may be more isolated than I have realised, and that could be a good area to start to change.

    • Stephanie on April 8, 2014 at 11:30

      Yes, that touched me, too. Thank you for sharing that.

  6. MRM on March 28, 2014 at 14:44

    I pray for the answer to this question, but ever feel much certainty around the answer. Right now, I believe God is asking me to slow down and listen, and to care for people, not ideas or things.

  7. Kathy on March 28, 2014 at 02:19

    My Lenten giving up is to give up being judgmental and making snarky, gossipy remarks- to instead take on praying for that person or showing God’s love for that person through kind words or at least no words. If I can’t say something nice, then say nothing. With lots of God’s help to see through His eyes, speak His words and show His love.

  8. Ross Bliss on March 28, 2014 at 00:07

    He’s inviting me to leave my secure and lucrative management career, and go to Seminary, in another province, and to trust Him for whatever follows.

  9. John Okerman on March 27, 2014 at 23:36

    God is inviting me to change in several ways. First, in my retirement He is inviting me to spend more time with my spouse in a harmonious manner. That is a challenge. Second, I’ve spent more time with technology, i.e. computers. He’s inviting me to change but I’m not sure what it is. Is it to spend more time in technology and work harder or is it to find another area of life in which to spend my time? I need to listen more and be receptive to what He says.

  10. Beth on March 27, 2014 at 22:16

    For me.life is ever-changing. Being flexible is important, as opposed to rigid. God invites me to have faith, and trust to accept the peace of His love

  11. Jennie M Anderson on March 27, 2014 at 21:46

    I began a new commitment to “food sobriety” On January 13, 2014 (my mom’s 81st Birthday) and have been so wonderfully successful with God’s help. Each day things get a little clearer (including sometimes the pain of this very transitional place I find myself in…) and today has been a very very hopeful, good energy day… like m,y body, mind and spirit’s energy is being rediscovered as I nourish my body with what it needs and thrives on, not what it may crave as a buzz or escapes mechanism. Change is hard and I am so grateful to be given this time to really focus in on my personal needs for a time while I sit in between calls. Thanks Tom for your message. It is a joy to me that you are still among us. Peace.

  12. LindaR on March 27, 2014 at 17:45

    I’ve found out a couple of the stumbling blocks in my path have been removed, through no action of mine. That seems to be a gift and an invitation to accept the challenge of finding my way over the remaining series of obstacles. It’s scary and daunting, but becoming much more possible. I need to learn to trust the help God gives me…

  13. Marianne on March 27, 2014 at 17:35

    Since my husband died three years ago, I have been trying to define myself – who I am without him. We were very close, very much a pair. My children and grandchildren have been a gift, and I am so grateful to God for them – I do believe that, as Bishop Tom says, God always provides support through change, even at the loneliest times.

  14. Margaret Dungan on March 27, 2014 at 17:31

    There is something about how we who are anglicans express our faith in worship that has bothered me for some time, occasionly I give voice to this but usually in a fairly safe place. Recently I have felt that God is saying “why don’t you do something abot it” but I can’t discern if it is the voice of challenge or is God laughing and saying “You may learn something if you try “. It would be a substantial change and I think that sombody wiser than I would better discern the answer.
    I might just be a spoiler.
    Margaret.

  15. Dorothy Brown on March 27, 2014 at 17:25

    God has led me through huge changes lately, primarily changing the church I attend. It was scary leaving my old church, but after a year I find that I have grown spiritually and learned an enormous amount about a God that I can relate to and even love. These Lenten meditations have helped me also. I think God is asking me to not be so hard on myself for past mistakes, but to realize it was all in His plan. Yesterday my 32-yr old son told me that he often thinks about the good times we had when he was growing up, while I always thought that because of my addiction, I was a terrible mother and had ruined his life. What a gift that was!

  16. Lorna Harris on March 27, 2014 at 16:37

    God has asked me to be more accepting of other people, especially family members whose behaviour has at times over the past while been puzzling to say the least.

  17. Lynn taylor on March 27, 2014 at 16:11

    To move forward into loving others without shame t. To relinquish shame and what it seeks to hide as being ego driven

  18. Julie Watt Faqir on March 27, 2014 at 14:12

    I think God is always inviting me to accept change. Be in our move from California to Massachusetts, or my current job search or just everyday things that arise. I agree with Bishop Tom too. God is never placing obstacles…when He directs me toward Change it is always change that will be for a good reason or outcome.

  19. Christopher Engle Barnhart on March 27, 2014 at 13:42

    Our church is going through a Transition as we seek a new rector for our parish. As part of this change our interim rector has over the past year conducted adult forums to understand the process we are going through as a parish. Lately during Lent our focus has been on the meaning of Sabbath as a time to stop and rest. As a small part, he suggests finding something to do such as fasting. My wife and I chose to stop watching television. After three or four days of not watching, I found my self reading more, talking with each other more and exploring new things about each other and reading the poetry of specifically William Blake with each other. I love the change.

  20. Lottie Walker on March 27, 2014 at 13:11

    I feel God is saying to me to TRUST HIM MORE with the difficult choices I need to make as I am getting older. Also to be able to ask for help when I need it as that has always been hard for me.
    ALSO to learn to relax and play more.

  21. Pam on March 27, 2014 at 12:29

    For me, to deal with my emotions in a more mature way, to be more objective in stressful situations, as I follow Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

  22. Jane Anne Gleason on March 27, 2014 at 11:47

    God is inviting me to change. I need to be still and listen to God’s voice in the midst of the noise of every day life.

  23. Maureen on March 27, 2014 at 10:31

    I’m afraid to find the next change. Physically I’m getting weaker and mentally the PTSD and the depression it brings are deepening.
    I’m quite sure God doesn’t want me over medicated as a crazy old cripple. But is God sending me again as an apostle to the forgotten?
    I know God is inviting to places within me/God. So I’ll follow God’s path one step at a time.

    • Casey on March 27, 2014 at 14:21

      Strength and healing to you

    • Gayle on March 27, 2014 at 19:26

      “crazy old cripple” are words that God doesn’t know. they’re negative self-reproachful words. God thinks of you as unique, with unique scars from the life you’ve led.

  24. Cush on March 27, 2014 at 10:08

    Given my age and some physical limitations I thought the time of discernment was over and I could just sit back and relax — wrong. The challenges continue and the questions are new and it is wonderful to be part of this period of discernment and not fall back on the “we have always done it that way” mode. It is a bit daunting, but so refreshing to know that change is still possible. I also love the my yoke is easy and my burden light. I pray the Holy Spirit continues to speak to me and allow me to change and continue to be productive.

  25. Barbara A. Harris on March 27, 2014 at 09:48

    Recently, my family dynamic changed as my oldest daughter, who was convinced she would not marry, married and moved out of our home. I am relearning what it means to be an reliant on my self alone. Learning that being alone is not necessarily loneliness.

  26. gwedhen nicholas on March 27, 2014 at 09:44

    God is asking me to move from looking inward to looking outward to other people, to my neighbour. To do for any given person that which he/she needs. Be it spiritual, physical, emotional, or intellectual. To really SEE other people. I still need to have times of interspection to refuel, but I need to also learn to look outward to help those in need.

    • Carole on March 28, 2014 at 02:31

      Gwedhen thank you for your words. They helped me to describe my own feelings. I’ve recognized and accept that I’m being led to move from looking inward to looking outward and serving others. To not only make donations but to give of myself. To see others as God sees them and to also take time for meditation and reflection.

  27. Susan on March 27, 2014 at 09:15

    Your quote from Matthew is one of my favorite since it is part of my confirmation verse given me 50 years ago. As I look at the new challenges that face me, I hold on to that reassurance that “the yolk will be easy and the burden light.”
    God is calling me to new roles of leadership in my congregation and church school. I will watch for His guiding hand as I move forward.

    • Brenda on March 27, 2014 at 10:24

      Hey everybody I love your comments. I have to inject some humor though. I believe the word is “yoke” not “yolk”.

      • Christopher Epting on March 27, 2014 at 11:28

        Yeah, but it was even wrong on the text beneath Tom Shaw’s video!!

        • Brenda on March 27, 2014 at 13:18

          Yes, I noticed that too! I wasn’t trying to be critical, just enjoying a little humor. Perhaps the image of the egg yolk could add even deeper meaning to our discussions. 🙂

  28. Elizabeth Miel on March 27, 2014 at 08:11

    Wonderful to hear Brother Tom’s faithful witness on change and challenge as I begin to accompany my husband through the challenge of cancer treatments also. May God’s spirit continue to uphold him and us.

  29. Michael Kolenick on March 27, 2014 at 08:06

    I believe that God is always calling me to be a better person, that that it may require easy changes; or perhaps more difficult changes for me. But yes, I also know that God is there with me to lighten my burden, whatever the challenge God gives me.

    • gwedhen nicholas on March 27, 2014 at 17:16

      I don’t believe that God wants us to be better. I think that He wants us to realize that He wants us to be exactly who we are, because He created us. And to work out of that to spread His love. G

  30. Christopher Epting on March 27, 2014 at 08:05

    Moving into retirement has been an invitation to change from defining myself by what I “do” to defining myself by who I “am.” I think that’s how God does it anyway…so I’m in good company!

    • Brenda on March 27, 2014 at 10:26

      Thank you Christopher. I can relate.

  31. Br. Stephen Francis Arnold, OSB on March 27, 2014 at 07:32

    To trust Him more each day as I provide palliative care as a Chaplain.

  32. Jann on March 27, 2014 at 07:20

    I woke this morning in discomfort and anxious and worried. I tried to remind myself that God was with me. It helped but still I was anxious. Then I read the passage this morning and thought oh,this person knows what I’m feeling.
    It took away the anxiety.

  33. Win on March 27, 2014 at 06:54

    It’s been quite some time since I’ve had more years ahead of me than behind me in this life on earth. As my body changes, and I see those changes in the mirror, the mirror doesn’t quite reflect what I feel inside. I still relate to myself as that young thing that could lift heavy objects without a thought and walk distances for hours and hours. Now I adjust to what this body allows me to do and relish in the small accomplishments made through out the day. Perhaps these are the small steps toward Wisdom? I’ve always hoped to be wise one day! hmmmmm.

  34. Jim on March 27, 2014 at 06:53

    I think God is constantly directing me to be more patient and less judgmental.

  35. Stephanie Denson on March 27, 2014 at 06:49

    I am struck by the change that happens in the most difficult times of life. While I jerk forward, kicking and screaming and wishing things were different, God is always there to guide and transform me through the difficulty. I recognize in retrospect the power and light of transformation that is born in adversity. #lovelife

  36. Kathryn on March 27, 2014 at 06:31

    not go to unhealthy foods for comfort!

  37. Patricia Hartsock on March 27, 2014 at 06:26

    Most of the time change comes out of the blue. Someone suggests I talk with another person and then I find I am involved in a new form of service or in the morning as I read the scripture I find I am drawn to be more quiet and listen for next step.

    • Casey on March 27, 2014 at 14:18

      Syncronicity!

  38. Carl Riedy on March 27, 2014 at 06:22

    I have been participating in these reflections in the hope of helping me hear the Spirit and finding an answer to this very question. I hear God say: “Do more!” Pray AND act in my name.” My reply has been, “Do what, Lord?”
    As I continue to discern, may I love God and my neighbor more, as Christ loves me.
    The Lord’s peace …

  39. Charlotte Cole on March 27, 2014 at 04:05

    God is inviting me to trust in him more and be transformed by the Holy Spirit.

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