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“A Change of Heart”

January 14, 2023
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I do not like change. I believe that most people don’t. Change upsets the routine and brings unexpected things for which I was not prepared. It throws me off course and off balance. I prefer the contentment that I feel when I get things just the way I want them and get to sit back and enjoy the perfection of it all. I am comfortable when all my happy little plans and my sometimes-overreaching expectations play out without difficulty. That is why I plan. And I almost always have a really good plan.

So did so many others.

Peter planned to hang with Jesus all the days of his life. Paul planned to hunt Christians all the days of his. John planned on being a stormy son of thunder. So many plans.

Yet so much change.

Most change doesn’t feel good. I imagine the scales on Saul’s, now Paul’s, eyes, did not feel good as he was plunged into the darkness of a physical condition he could not explain with no answers for when it may end. I imagine the guilt Peter felt as he faced the Jesus he had repeatedly denied did not feel good. I imagine the heartbreak of John, holding the grieving mother of His Savior as they watched Him take his final breath did not feel good either. This is the pain of change, and it does not feel good. This is the pain we feel in the moments when our world suddenly shifts and we start scrambling for air. This is the pain of the unexpected, the unplanned, the heartbreaking, and even the devastating.

This is the fire of change. And fire changes everything. Especially hearts.

Fire of change burned in John’s soul, producing love and passion that drove the very pen that created the words we read for hope. Fire of change firmed up a rock-solid loyalty and courage in Peter that was ready for the winds of the Spirit to move. Fire of change gave clear vision to Paul so that he could tell a true story for the entire world to hear of where he started and how far he had come.

The fire of change changed everything. Just ask the Phoenix. Just ask your heart.

Not going to lie—it burns. Change can burn to the core. Especially when we cannot see an answer. Especially when we are surrounded by what feels hopeless and hard and it is blocking our sight. When there is no resolution, no recourse, no plan. When there is nothing you can do. When we have to rethink everything. When we have to pivot into a place we never intended to go. When we have to wait. When we have no idea what comes next.

I will tell you what comes next. The real change comes next. The change that matters. The change of heart.

What comes next, after the fire, is the transformation of your plans into His. The clarity of your vision through His eyes. What comes next is Jesus lifting you out of the pain with a heart that is stronger, with greater capacity, with fewer walls, with more love. The fire grants you light you never saw coming, the growth you never thought you would feel, and the experience you never knew you would have.

So, friend, if you are standing in the fire, breaking from the loss, reeling from the shock, or panicking at the plan that just fell apart—know that a change of heart is coming. A plan greater than anything you could have dreamed up. A new plan. A new spirit. A new heart. As Peter and Paul and John have shown us, sometimes the fire of change brings you a heart that can change the world.

Now that sounds like a plan.

Shannon Leach is a slice-of-life encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.
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