The God Moment That Changes Everything
by Kyle Idleman
Transformation. Conversion. Alteration. What precipitates change? Definitely, hitting the wall can. Or a crisis situation in which a human being gets a sudden clear picture of his or her limitations and insufficiencies. A moment of glory, too, can turn us around: a transcendent moment, a revelation of a reality beyond the routine of mundane habit.
There are two memoirs by a great Indiana author, Haven Kimmel. One is called A Girl Named Zippy about a little girl who basically (with some help from neighbors, teachers, townspeople and the magazines at the corner newsstand) raised herself in the little Indiana town of Mooreland, while her mother sat on the couch and read books from the library. Then one day (book two) her mother got up off the couch, rode her bike from Mooreland to Muncie and signed up for classes at Ball State University. She also lost a lot of weight (probably from all the bike riding) and totally came alive! (She Got Up Off the Couch is actually the name of the book!)
So the first question is, “What makes people change?” and the second question is, “What good is a ‘faith’ that doesn’t?” Without a transformation, what good is religion?
In his book, AHA!, about the change-points that actually transform, Kyle Idleman leads the reader through the three stages he says are necessary to bring about a life-altering “Aha!” moment and set us on a new path.
The first is a sudden awakening, a “coming to your senses.” This new realization may be generated by a positive moment, like falling in love, communing with nature, or an undeserved mercy. Or it could be a negative happening, like a neardeath experience, a spiraling out of control, or a time of monumental failure. But whatever brings it about there must be a wake-up-stupid jolt into a new awareness.
But it takes more than an alarm clock to change the soul. There also has to be a time—usually a painful time—of brutal honesty. No more rationalizing the truth away. No more blaming someone else. No more living in denial. An awakening worth its salt must bring a coming to grips with the real culprit, and, as Commodore Oliver Perry once said, “We have seen the enemy…” and, guess what? He is in the mirror!
But even an awakening and a gut-wrenching honesty will fall short unless we “get up off the couch,” or, as the prodigal in the pigpen put it, “I will arise and go home.” We have to get up and go home—to God, to our messed-up and embarrassing past false reality, to whatever work it takes to get whole, and most of all, to the self God created us to be. Even the self-righteous older brother had to do that. He had to swallow his I-can-earn-myway self-sufficiency and learn to dance!
I recommend Idleman’s book for personal evaluation and for group growth. There might be an Aha! moment just around the corner.