Generally speaking, traditions are good. They help preserve the history of the Church, of cultures, and of family heritage. They provide value through enjoyable, shared experiences that often bring back memories and feelings of nostalgia. Church traditions in particular revolve heavily around scripture, the lives of the saints, and specific feast days that we celebrate. While being meaningful parts of our spiritual nourishment, they can also be fun and entertaining.
But even though tradition provides so much value to our lives in many different aspects, we can’t use tradition as an excuse to reject change and progression. While there are certain integral, cornerstone aspects of our lives that can’t or shouldn’t change, we as a species are programmed to look for ways to improve in the future.
John Morales welcomed Dr. Jim Schroeder on to Morning Air to discuss how we should respond to change, especially when God is calling us to spiritual conversion.
Why don’t humans typically like changes or transitions? Well, the easy answer is that we’re scared. Change is often oriented around the unknown. Even if we know what it is, there are unknown factors and unforeseeable events that will arise. They can be good, but our fear of them being bad can override our excitement. As a species, we aren’t afraid of innovation, but as individuals, we’re creatures of habit.
Every positive change that we are challenged with should not be viewed as a battle against our very ways of life. They are opportunities for us to grow closer to God. If we squander our chances to grow and change, we’re squandering our chance to assess and improve ourselves for God’s glory. For instance, if someone is morbidly obese, they are typically aware of their status and the health concerns that they are/will be faced with. But many don’t overcome this challenge. It’s not that they’re physically incapable of losing weight. It’s that they’ve psychologically assigned a value to the food and lifestyle that they’ve chosen and they’re scared to let go of that pleasure.
Dr. Schroeder recalled the story of a nurse that he worked with for many years who had the bad habit of drinking three Cokes a day. As a healthcare professional, she was well-aware that soda and sugar are extremely unhealthy for you. While she knew that she could quit drinking it, she was scared of what she would do without that pleasure she got from Coco-Cola in the midst of what is a very challenging career. It was a crutch.
“I was joking with a friend about Dairy Queen Blizzards: we know it tastes really good in the moment, and there’s nothing that’s going to change that. So, if I look to shift away from that Blizzard every day, how am I going to get this guaranteed sense of satisfaction that I need right now,” said Dr. Schroeder.
That’s the fear. We know something can satisfy us and we can have it right now or whenever we want. If we don’t indulge, what’s going to fill that void? The answer nobody is expecting is, “It doesn’t matter”. It could be nothing. It could be something much better and fulfilling on a deeper level. We have to trust that God knows what’s best for us. Just as our parents guided us as children, Our Lord is constantly watching our every move. He loves us, wants the best for us, and He won’t make us regret a change we embraced for the better.
Lord, Thy will be done. Amen.
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