Rough around the edges
I have always loved rocks. Smooth, beautiful, colorful stones or big broken open geodes with crystals formed inside. As a kid, I would dig through the bins at the souvenir shop for as long as my parents would allow. I would fill my little cinch bag as full as I could with as many colors as I could find. The sense of rubbing my fingertips over the polished surface was soothing, unlike the natural texture of life.
I loved them so much, I asked for a rock tumbler to make my very own. I thought you could go from rugged to gemstone in no time at all. I was wrong. In a child’s mind, it took forever. As an adult, it takes 4-8 weeks, changing the abrasive grit to fine polish eventually. It felt like an eternity to allow the proper change to happen.
The grit of character development feels harsh
I imagine we have all felt rough around the edges a time or two. Thrown into the tumbler with life grinding away at us. The grit of character development feels harsh. The pressure to look like you have everything under control is almost unbearable and the progress we want to see isn’t anywhere in sight. But if we could take a moment to remember: We all go through the same process and we are all leading others by the changes we allow God to make daily and the forgiveness and grace we accept.
The allowance of this change in our human nature feeds the goodness God has instilled inside each of us. Counter that, if we don’t allow Him to change us, we encourage what is evil. He gave us the ability to choose. I wish I could say that goodness is always easiest. With family, work, friendships, and our own dreams, life can be a hard balance. Some people push us to be better. Some bring out our worst.
God knows each rigid edge and every rough point of view. He knows every jagged lie you believe and every pit of anger you fall in. He knows every veiled perspective and the harm each holds against you and the damage it causes others in the process. Our actions can show love or cut like a sharp sword. Words, being the sharpest of all, pierce our thoughts and linger for what seems without end. And unjust words, crushing, tumble like a boulder.
Change is always difficult
Until God gives us the mirror to see His work in action, change is always going to be difficult.
I went to a park recently that had a shallow creek. My kids jumped straight in and started skipping rocks across the water. As I watched them sort through and select the perfect rocks to skip, I thought about the amount of water and tumbling it took to get those stones to the shape they were. I imagined God sorting through His people, looking for just the right one to use for His purposes, some begging to be chosen, some hiding in the muck. It was then I realized, that the water changed the shape of those stones and freed the one who is stuck, just like His Spirit frees and changes us.
A rock has no choice but to separate from its weakest edges, but we do.
I imagine Jesus bending down, His eyes on the brokenhearted. When He reaches out, I hear one cry out, “I’m no good. Choose someone else.” But His response is always perfect. “You are mine and you are beloved. Treasured.” As He lays His hand upon us, we become perfected for His purpose through His power and are able to let go of the fragmented thoughts and iniquities because He has prepared us and spoken over us. Lifted up, we see our reflection below. Not as we see ourselves, but as He has made us in His image.
Perfection is relative and our time is His river that delivers us in the end, raw and broken – or polished and beautiful, overflowing with His peace. How many times have we been tossed about? How long did we remain stuck? Will we recognize the changes we have made or the rough places we refuse to acknowledge? What am I sacrificing for my pride?
Questions to consider
While we tumble through life and feel like we are being thrown against what only wants to swallow us, a place where our fears lie and wait for our return, question yourself.
- Has my character been changed enough in Him?
- Has my attitude been adjusted toward others?
- Has my mouth been tamed?
Whether we sink again or keep our head above the water depends on the reflection we choose to view. The Spirit of God within you reveals everything He has made good.
“Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
When He launches you into His work, remember where you began and recognize what has been made new. The best part…
You are always chosen.
Brooke Giles is a military spouse and work-at-home mom currently living in the suburbs right outside Atlanta, GA, with her husband and two children. She is passionate about living creatively through writing and encouraging others to do the same. Even though she is not a photographer, she loves to pretend and you will often find her making her children recreate silly moments or taking photos that tell a story. She appreciates charming scenery that inspires her and, of course, where she can do all her over-thinking and coffee sipping. She currently writes children’s books and Christian fiction/ non-fiction in hope to publish one day. IG: @holdingontogood and Holdingontogood.com.
Abrasive grit to fine polish is one of the articles from the change issue of iola. Buy your copy here for more articles, creative prompts, and beautiful photography.