Transformation is a process we are all in; moving from where and who we are in life to where and who we want to be. It is about engaging with God, partnering with him not so we can become the best version of ourselves in the strictest sense. Rather, it is partnering with God so that Jesus is fully expressed through our personalities, our relationships, and ultimately through our connection to Him.
What I have learned is the process rarely takes the turn I expect, is longer than I want, and does not have the arrival destination here. We will always be in the process of transformation until we meet Jesus, either at our death or at his second coming. Nevertheless, the process is sacred because every step is orchestrated by our wonderful, loving, Father.
I know this for sure because of my own journey. I had pockets of chronic emotional pain in my own heart. And though I repeatedly cried out for breakthrough and freedom, I struggled. I learned to compensate much like one does when there is a physical pain. One limps a little. When the Lord tapped those pockets, I was a disappointed and a little miffed because the pain was much deeper than I thought. Yet in this sacred place, God spoke to me these words:
“Pain is not your enemy. Shame is not your protector. Fear is not your friend.”
Now, the journey and the process shifted because I confronted the deep seated pain and made this discovery: it isn’t what happened to me that brought the greatest pain but my reaction to what happened. God began to uncover the lies I believed about myself, and the situations in my life. He began to show me that I partnered with shame to keep myself hidden. He showed me that I partnered with fear as a companion because it was too painful to partner with love and be courageous and brave. As I faced, and felt the pain; breakthrough came.
The goal in transformation is not to be pain-free. Jesus said in this world we would have many trials, but to be of good cheer, because he overcame the world. Jesus is in us, so we, too, overcome the world. We pray for and believe in the miraculous, the instant resounding YES from heaven when sudden breakthrough happens with minimal pain, if any. And let’s lean in as well to the process breakthrough that also resounds YES from heaven despite the pain involved because this too is part of transformation.
Leaning into the process with self-compassion and patience is truly what Jesus does for us and in us. God does not sit on the throne in heaven rolling his eyes in disbelief or disappointment. Or worse, God is not waiting to punish us in the process. He looks at us through the eyes of a good, good Father who is forever encouraging, directing, and building. Partner with Him by practicing the compassion of Jesus toward yourself.
It doesn’t matter how old we are or how long we have been followers of Jesus, we will always be children; children of the Most High God. As children, we need compassion to encourage growth, and connection. At times, pain is part of the process. That’s okay. Pain is not the enemy.
Nancee Schroeder is a pastor on the Fusion Ministries International team. She is over the Transformation Ministries (pastoral care, sozo, transformation and spiritual formation) as well as assisting in many other areas of the church. She has been in ministry for over 20 years and is certified as a Chaplain with various certificates include trauma, disaster relief, and more. She received her M.A. from Denver Seminary in 2008. She and her husband Peary are part of the leadership team at Fusion.