When It's Time to Change...Stumbling Blocks Really Get in the Way

The author of the wisdom book of Ecclesiastes taught us, “For everything under the sun, there is a season.” David Bowie sang about the need to “turn and face the strange, Ch-Ch-Changes.” Even the Brady Bunch felt the need to instruct their audience, “When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange, who you are into what you’re gonna be.” Change is one of the only guaranteed things in this life…yet we tend to resist it with all we are.

This is another function of Stumbling Blocks. We’ve talked in recent weeks about how “Stumbling Block” is a euphemism for “sin.” Jesus uses the image of a Stumbling Block to talk about anything that prevents us from walking the path of faith, progressing on our journey, following God wherever God leads. They are the things we trip over, the things we stumble upon…the things that keep us in place. If we don’t practice giving up our stumbling blocks…then we are practicing staying in place…which means we are failing to keep up with the changes happening in our lives. This could be how we understand “sin” in general…it can be how we understand the many things in our lives that feel beyond our control. Life changes constantly…and change is difficult for humans…so we put up stumbling blocks to try and stay where we are.

It’s easy for me to see my stumbling blocks. I hold grudges…I spend too much time on my phone…I don’t make healthy choices for my body…I fail to reach out to friends and nurture the good relationships in my life. It’s only after 5 weeks of trying my best to give up some of these stumbling blocks that I begin to see how they really function in my life. All my bad habits or unhelpful choices…they are things I rely on because I am not ready to face all the changes in my life. Change—even GOOD change—makes me feel insecure, uncertain…it feels vulnerable and threatening…it makes me anxious and fearful…which makes me feel embarrassed for not being able to handle my own life.

Giving up these stumbling blocks helps me to discover God in new ways…and it allows me to see that I am resilient, I am wise, I am powerful and important…things I only learn about myself by engaging my life, rather than hiding from it. There’s nothing wrong with me…but trying to stay in place while life moves on without me makes me FEEL like there is. When I set aside these stumbling blocks and I learn to walk where God is leading…changes and all…I am reminded of the gifts of faith. Joy, discovery, celebration, new adventure and new connections.

It’s the difference between damming up a flowing stream…or letting it cascade into an amazing, overwhelming waterfall.

In these final days of Lent…I begin to wonder if “Resurrection” may be a word that simply means “Uniting with God for the journey that never ends.”

2 weeks left.

Sha na na na na na na na na
Sha na na na na

Brian Gruhn