Sometimes the first step is the hardest to take. The first word the hardest to say. I was shaped by tragedy. My personality formed under traumatic circumstances. I say that not as my crutch – but just as my reality. I know that Jesus is my savior and that he has rescued and redeemed me. I get that I am no longer who I used to be and that I don’t have to live in my past – I get it – in theory. But the practicality of it is that I am who I am right now based on who I was shaped to be back then. Could God completely wipe clean the hard drive of my personality and make my character new? Absolutely he could. But I don’t think that God will do that because he knows that if I struggle through this change as he works slowly on me then I will be truly changed. Now – I pause here to say that I already have been changed so much. I no longer carry with me many of the destructive behaviors of my past. My decisions are guided now by the Spirit rather than by my own selfishness. My outlook is one of hope rather than hopelessness and despair. I have already experienced great change by the grace of God. But I feel more and more that I must become responsible for some of my own deeper growth and change (some of those personality things) so that then I will see the true me, the image-bearer me come alive. While none of us can really claim our own successes – we are nothing without God – I do believe that God will allow me to struggle through in order to build up my faith. And if I seek him in and through it all then that struggle becomes a “productive” struggle as I grow and transform. There is a lot about me that I wish were different. But me is who I am and merely wishing won’t change me. My faith in God, lived out daily, my trust and hope in his power to transform, and my desire to seek him and his guidance in every moment of struggle – those are the things that will bring about my desired change. Those things will be my transforming power.