The Pace of Transformation
The volume of information that people are faced with daily continues to accelerate. Interestingly, studies done by Daniel Amen and his brain science team at Amen Clinics show that most young people are actually growing in their ability to absorb and react to this volume quite well.
Unfortunately, it’s developing neural pathways that are well-suited to video games, but not critical thinking. Great fighter pilots. Horrible lawyers, politicians, artists, social scientists, theologians, etc.
The time required, however, for deep personal transformation --- where someone literally sees themselves and the world differently at both a conscious and subconscious level – is, based on my personal and life coaching experience, not accelerating.
Take a look at Jesus’s discipleship strategy. I am convinced that if he came back today he would still go deep with a few for three years because that’s how long it takes to shape a disciple. The word “transform” in Romans 12:2 (“be transformed by the renewing of your mind”) is metamorphosis. It’s a change in kind not degree. It’s not about a better caterpillar. It’s about becoming a butterfly.
If you’ve read my book or followed my blog over the years, you know I am a proponent of managing well what you put into your brain. If you’re looking for peace, purpose, and joy, start reading the bible and other great books and put what you read into practice for three years straight.
Jesus told this parable in Luke 13:6-9: “Then he told them a story: “A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren’t any. He said to his gardener, ‘What’s going on here? For three years now I’ve come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer?’
The gardener said, ‘Let’s give it another year. I’ll dig around it and fertilize, and maybe it will produce next year; if it doesn’t, then chop it down.’”
So what are the practical implications of this?
· Be patient with yourself. The “old man is slow to die.”
· Be patient with others.
· Don’t give up. Leaning into your growth for a year and then stopping won’t get you where you want to go.
· Giving your spiritual growth “the old college try” for a full year every 5 years over the course of 15 years won’t work either. We need to commit to a new way of life not fads or spiritual crash diets.
Abide. Read. Think deeply. Process things. Talk with others. Journal. This is more like argriculture than arithmetic. Enjoy the journey as much as you imagine you’ll enjoy the destination.