Updated: Feb 7
FREEDOM Part 2: Starts With the A-ha
How did a simple conversation while on vacation with a friend turn into a transformational experience?
Neither of us planned it or even had it on our minds, but a few sentences describing a deep conviction became an A-ha moment for me. We were sitting in the hotel coffee shop in a small town in Washington state. It was the only place open because of the major snowstorm that had stranded my husband and me, with our friends, Mark and Kathy, on our way to vacation.
Mark was an Associate Pastor at our church in Seattle. It was a large church, and Mark was responsible for multiple ministries and teaching several classes. I was struck by how serene he appeared no matter how busy things got. Following my curiosity, I asked him, “Mark, how do you handle the stress and stay so peaceful when there is such demand for your time?”
Understand, I am by nature what many call a “Type A driver personality,” “Task-oriented,” and driven to succeed. I couldn’t imagine the level of stress Mark must be under as he fulfilled his responsibilities. Mark’s response caught me completely off guard, “I don’t feel any stress. I don’t have to do anything that I am doing.” “What?” “What do you mean you don’t have to do anything?” He replied, “If I don’t do another thing but hang out on the couch, it doesn’t change how much God loves me. I don’t HAVE to do anything.”
Now to some, that doesn’t sound like the makings of an epiphany. But to me, his response struck me like a bulldozer as questions flooded my mind. “Why do I feel so stressed and driven?” “What is causing me to feel this pressure to perform?” The answer was sobering. I believed the lie that to be found worthy of being loved, I had to prove myself through success and being accomplished. Without realizing it, I was trying to impress God and ensure I was love-worthy.
How foolish that now sounded. What would it take for me to believe the truth that I was already utterly and fully loved by God? But how could I be assured that God’s love for me is not based upon my performance? Again, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly and directly, “You can know it absolutely because God revealed His love for you in His Word, the Bible.” Why God chose that time or manner to turn the light on for me, I can’t say. But from that time to this very moment, I know that I know that there is nothing I have done, or ever could do to make my Lord and Savior love my any more or love me any less.
That belief soon took root in my brain and spirit in a way that it hadn’t done before, even though I was raised in the Church, was a devoted follower of Jesus, had been to seminary, and taught bible studies…it was an A-ha that changed everything in a moment. The truth was evident as I pondered the Scriptures that I had read many times before. Paul tells us in Romans 8:37-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” John reminds us in I John 3:1, “See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are!“
“But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead.” (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) Ephesians 2:4-5
Dr. Steven McVey points out that there are basically two ways that we learn and gain knowledge. The first kind of learning comes through acquiring facts, figures, and information. Gaining understanding and knowing something is the goal. This is accomplished through observation, testing, and making conclusions based on the findings. Remarkably, just learning a new bit of information can create an A-ha moment.
The second type of learning or knowledge is revealed to us. Revelation is providing insight into what is behind the facts and observations. It is coming to know things that you could never discover through natural processes. Because of God’s revelation through both the written word (The Bible) and the Living Word, (Jesus - the Word incarnate) we have the capacity to learn supernatural truths. This kind of knowledge is not resident or even available to everybody, but only those who learn it by the Holy Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:14-15, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things.”
The A-ha is when you see something you haven’t seen before. It is often the beginning point of transformation. It is the revelation or epiphany that allows you to finally see a problem clearly and/or the solution to said problem. When God is ready to change us, He pulls back the veil so that we might see Truth. The A-ha!
It is such a joy to help facilitate an A-ha moment for someone. We believe that it is up to the Holy Spirit to do the work, but we can help by creating a safe, loving environment for a conversation, asking a good question, really listening and praying for revelation. As a coach, mentor or minister we try to listen for what God is doing in someone’s life and it sometimes leads us to ask questions that may cause them to reflect on their core beliefs in a fresh way. We might ask, “What or who has had the biggest impact on how you see ______________?” “Was or is that a reliable source?”
While education will inform you, revelation from the Word of God will do much more; IT WILL TRANSFORM YOU!
Romans 12:2 tells us that the transformation process begins with the renewing of your mind. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
In other words, don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing, and perfect his will is.
The ABCs of Transformation (The Aha, Breaking Free, and Commitment to Change) is one of the key elements of the Transformed Living Coaching Model and the Transformed Living Group Experiences.
As we continue our journey of personal transformation and help others along the way, we will discuss how God breaks us free from sinful patterns by exposing lies and replacing them with His revealed Truth. As we learn to cooperate with Him more fully and grow in obedience to His Word, God’s grace frees us through the power of His Holy Spirit.
Transformation is a process. For some, the process is lightning-quick, while for others, it is painfully slow and seemingly never-ending. So, during the process, we encourage all to “seek radical obedience, give abundant grace!”