John 12: 24,25 “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

     Do you have  a pattern of behavior that you wish you could control but always end up saying to yourself; “I’ve done it again!  Why do I keep doing it over and over again?  When will I learn?”  These patterns of behavior you may eventually come to hate about yourself. How do you deal with them?

     When I was a young child in elementary school, I was bullied terribly.  One particularly nasty incident occurred when I was in grade three.  Some kids invited me out to play with them in the school yard.  I was thrilled.  At recess time we all went outside to play.  As soon as we walked around the corner of the school and out of sight of the teacher, my ‘friends’ grabbed me and pushed me to the ground.  They held me down and one of the girls stepped on my face.  I remember seeing her shoe coming down on my face.  She did it slowly so as not to put a bruise on me.    She ground her shoe on my nose. I’ll take that memory to my grave.  I remember thinking – I thought they liked me! As an adult I have huge trust issues.  I also do not like to be placed in any situation where I perceive myself to be vulnerable.  No one bullies me today!

     Many people see me as a very successful person;  well educated,  good reputation, accepted and independent.   I love to be seen in this way.  Who wouldn’t?  I love my life as seen through other people’s eyes.  I work for approval and succeed at getting it.  What people don’t see – what I hate to look at is my fear of rejection, my fear of being hurt, my anger and my resentment when I perceive that others devalue me.  All of this is underneath, much of it a result of my experiences as a bullied child.  I’m guarded and very poor at sharing what I really feel.  I have built many walls around myself to keep me safe.  I hate this about my life.

     The experiences of my childhood created a hardened shell around the ‘seed’ of what God has purposed for my life.   As long as I cling to that husk, as long as I hide within it, not letting it go I will hang on to my life in this world.  I’ll never be bullied and I’ll never really be free of fear and anger.  As long as I hang on to the lies I have come to believe about myself – that I am not worthy, that I am not acceptable – I’ll live addicted to the approval of others for the rest of my life.  Driven to succeed; driven to be liked. And never really believing that I am successful or liked.

     Jesus is telling me that by letting go of the old me – dying to it – new possibilities will open up.  What greater personal transformation can occur than to start living without fear and free of resentments?  What greater personal transformation can occur than to start trusting again?  The apostle Paul tells us that such a transformation is possible – A new person can be born into eternal freedom;  “And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)