That’s what they tell addicts who are trying to kick old habits.
Not just one thing. Not just a slight variation. Everything. Do everything different.
I don’t like different.
I like same. Everything same. Nice and neat, with locks and labels. Ritual and routine, wrap it round me and keep the bad things out.
The things I tend to do. The situations I tend to avoid.
My time and my money. What I eat. What I wear. How I live.
Impossible, change. I don’t need it. I don’t want to.
Risky, change. Death and loneliness and depression and fear. Comes at you fast, tears you with its teeth. Ward it off with your wallet. Count your shoes and hold your breath. Make rules to keep yourself safe.
Watch the rules spread, till there’s nowhere left.
Got thinner – but my heart was still fat. Washed in bleach, but couldn’t get white. Work harder. Jump higher. Drink deeper.
I look out the window at the neat lines of washing.
You can die living like this.
You can spend your life, resolving to get better.
Of course everything needs to be different. I need to be different. But nothing changes.
Repentance. Bad word. It means Condemnation, Judgement, Not Good Enough. Right?
Except – I got that already. With my rules. Not life: but death in increments.
True repentance is not like my rules. It’s the new me I’ve always longed for. Not a project I strive for, a gift given in Jesus:
“If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Do everything different? It’s already been done. Be better? I’m better than better, I’m new. New life, new identity, new destiny. Every day I can put those rituals in their place- because what they never delivered, I’ve already got.
This God shows us how to break the rules.