When Transformation Seems Slow, Don’t Eat the Change

He Ate the Change

“Mommy, my tummy hurts. Real bad.”

Here’s why. He ate change. Literally.

My four-year-old friend took a dare this week from a five-year-old. He put coins in his mouth. Then swallowed.

89 cents, to be exact.

Don't eat the change

Swallowing change quickly is a dare we often want to take, too.

As believers in Christ, we want to be kinder. To be more courageous. To be more loving. Now.

  • If I can read the Bible in 3 months,
  • if I can volunteer for every ministry,
  • if I can fast for 40 days,

I’ll be changed quicker, right?

Not really. Change doesn’t usually come fast.

Transformation is a slow process.

When Change Is Slow

I finally finished my daily Bible reading plan yesterday. It’s a 2-year plan for reading all of the Old and New Testaments (already a longer time span than most plans).

But it took me even longer. The 2-year plan stretched into 3 years.


But that’s okay. I’m in it for the long haul. And if God needs to work longer on me than others, so be it. I’ll celebrate the little wins. Eventually he will get the job done on the other side of this life. My latest mantra has been “not yet” (thanks, Jean).

I may not yet be fully transformed. But I can have peace in the process if I’ll trust it’s coming.

And try to be content with where I am—who I am—today. I don’t make myself holy by reading the Bible. I can be open to change as I read, allowing my spirit to cooperate with God’s Spirit. But I’m not in charge of my own transformation.That’s holy work. I can walk the path, but I can’t make myself arrive. I need grace and peace and Jesus for that.

Learning Lessons

My little buddy ended up at the ER Tuesday. They had to get the money out quicker than letting nature take its course. They were successful.

His throat is sore today, but he’s recovering well. He’s learned a lesson.

I hope I’m learning, too.

Lasting spiritual change doesn’t usually happen overnight. I can’t force it to happen.

Don’t eat the change.

* * *

Have you or your kids ever eaten anything strange? How patient are you with your own transformation? Please share in the comments.

I’ll start over reading the Bible again next week. Do you have a favorite translation you’d recommend? (I like to read a different one each time. Just finished NLT.)

16 thoughts on “When Transformation Seems Slow, Don’t Eat the Change

  1. Alice V Walters

    Dear Lisa, we do tend to rush, don’t we? In the last year or so, I’ve been reading & hearing a lot about intentionality and being present. It’s the same with change. While we’re on the way to where the Lord is taking us, we need to think about (& learn from) where we are in the journey. Thanks for fleshing this out for us (&thankful your little guy is doing well). Blessings!

  2. Martha J Orlando

    You are so right, Lisa. Lasting change doesn’t happen overnight – it is a slow, methodical process where we need to submit fully to God.
    I’m in my fourth year of reading the Bible all the way through using the 52-Week Bible Reading Plan. Yes, sometimes I get behind, but I simply encourage myself to catch up when I can. As far as a translation, I’m partial to The Message, except for reading the Psalms.

  3. Barbara Harper

    I don’t remember my children eating anything strange, but we had to take my oldest to the doctor when a piece of apple got stuck in his nose. We had tried to get it, or get him to blow it out, but it wouldn’t budge. I don’t know why he put it there.

    Too often we mistake the tools or methods of change for change itself.

    I’ve been discouraged recently that after 40+ years of being a Christian, I’m not farther along in some areas. Yet I remind myself that the Bible says the flesh and the Spirit struggle against each other – that won’t be over til we get to heaven. Hopefully I’ll keep growing in the right direction til then. But sometimes that entails realizing in a new way aspects of my own selfishness I hadn’t realized yet. In the long run that’s good, because it makes me more aware, I can pray about it and seek the Lord’s grace for it. But it’s not so pleasant in the moment.

    I’ve read the KJV, NASB, ESV, and I think the NKJV. My favorite so far is the ESV. I’ve recently heard good things about the CSB (Christian Standard Bible, formerly the Holman Christian Standard Bible), but I don’t know much about it yet. It’s supposed to be between the ESV and NIV in the form-based vs. meaning-based spectrum.

  4. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Sweet Lisa,
    I always so enjoy your posts . . . often they are imminently practical, and always encouraging and inspiring. I also appreciate your transparency. First, I’m glad your little friend is fine. That’s so scary. Ugh. Like the woman’s child above, our daughter (very young) had picked up a small handful of little rocks and breathed one up her nose, but while I was driving. I was panicked. Great ending: Her pediatrician was nearby, and he got it out and all was well. Those were immediate changes: Her wellbeing was quickly threatened (had the rock obstructed her breathing, and was a strong possibility had it made its way further down, and then an immediate change for freeing her). God has worked like that in my life, but rarely. What you are saying is more true to form for me, where I don’t even realized I’ve changed till years later, and I can see how God has taken me on some circuitous routes to change. But there are other instances (way too many, in fact), where I know I have stalled His process. I totally agree that only He can accomplish transformation in our lives, but we have a part to play, and it is via the way of obedience. I think one reason I don’t change is that I have never fully repented in some instances. I have confessed, but have never completely done an about-face! God is doing a work in me right now where I must stop refusing to let Him probe my heart at the deepest level possible, and be willing to repent of whatever He shows me I must abandon in habits, attitudes, etc. Like you, I’ve been reading the Bible through in different translations. I know ESV is supposed to be excellent, but I’m not as fond of it. I began my Christian walk w/ NASB, and have gravitated more to NIV. I’m reading ESV currently. Last year, I read MSG and enjoyed it, but I find it to be beneficial more for a freshness of language and emotion, rather than a true translation. Too much is missing from God’s Word for me to use it as my go-to translation. And I know this having read other translations first. Next year, I think I will go through the Bible far more slowly, and not feel the need to have a year-end goal, taking time to journal my insights along the way.
    Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  5. bill (cycleguy)

    Hi Lisa! I seriously do not remember eating strange, except for food I had never tasted before. I don’t really follow a plan except one I make up on my own. I committed to reading through the NT last year and began the OT when I finished. It takes me longer I’m sure but I also underline and this year have been blogging some on it. I’m in I Kings right now so I have a long way to go. I’m actually using the ESV Reader’s Bible which has no verses or chapter headings or paragraph notations. I read until I “feel” God has given me something for that day. I keep an ESV verse Bible next to me just in case I want to reference it. I took a year off last year from Psalms and am through my second time this year so far. I think the most important thing is find what is comfortable and be open to listen to the Word speaking to your heart.

  6. floyd samons

    That’s a tough kid who’s not afraid of a challenge! Hopefully lesson learned.

    I’m with you. I’m working on my third time through reading the Bible and this last one is taking me years and I’m in Thessalonians. But you’re right of course; reading it for the sake of reading will do little. It’s always about the position of the heart.
    Thanks for the reminder.

    My sister and I ate Purina Dog Chow… pretty crunchy…
    My youngest used to eat kale long before it was the “in” thing to do. My oldest ate an ice cream cone out of the trash can for forty bucks once too. But she wouldn’t eat any of my pickled pig’s feet… Go figure…

  7. Rebecca Hastings

    There is so much good truth here.

    1. Great job finishing your plan. I’ve never read through the whole Bible. Maybe, with grace, I can.

    2. This: “I’m in it for the long haul. And if God needs to work longer on me than others, so be it.” SO FREEING!

    3. And this: “I don’t make myself holy by reading the Bible.” SO GOOD!

    Happy to share these truths today! Thank you for sharing with grace!

  8. Laurie

    Oh, no!!! I hope your 4-year old friend learned a lesson and never eats change again! 89 cents must have been quite a few coins!
    I love your Bible-reading plan. I tend to skip around and always go back to the same favorite few verses. I have read the entire Bible before, but it has been years. I like the idea of crossing verses off a list. I may have to look that one up! 🙂 And, yes, meaningful change is often slow, even though we are impatient.

  9. Linda Stoll

    Lisa, hi! I saw a clip on a local news station last night where they had done surgery on a dog that had eaten COUNTLESS pacifiers.

    He survived. Not sure about the pacifiers though.

    Yuck …


  10. Jean Wise

    WOW swallowing that change – what a metaphor for transformation and “chewing” on the Word of God. Wasn’t it Eugene Peterson’s book titled: Eat this Book? Thanks for them sharing the link too. I think it is great you finished that bible reading plan even if it took you longer than expected. I am doing a one year read through the Bible project within our church and definitely get behind. Will get there someday, not yet….

  11. David

    Dear Lisa

    Very good parable! Poor kid though — I hope he’s pampered sufficiently while he’s recovering. Yes, forcing change can backfire horribly — the demon you threw out comes back with his seven best mates. I am not patient at all with my transformation, but every step forward feels like a discovery, even after a bad fall. And I enjoy the view — where was I five years ago?

    I am attached to the “Revised English Bible” (I only have the New Testament), though I don’t read it so much because I haven’t found an electronic version. I have yet to complete a first read through the Old Testament — I plan to complete this year and then start again next year properly from the top.


  12. bluecottonmemory

    As always, good food for thought! Luckily – amazingly – none of my boys ever swallowed change! Whew! This line – “But I’m not in charge of my own transformation.That’s holy work.” – that’s liberating – for me, for how I need to handle transformation in those around me (or lack – oro their transformation taking longer so I am uncomfortable longer) – it’s hands off and hands up = and letting God do the holy work of transformation! What a Monday Morning blessing you have given me!

  13. Juanita Deloris

    I had to chuckle as I started reading this because on my 2do list is to print and start a 3 month Bible reading plan :D. I am usually patient with others, but not very patient with myself. I’m working on it, but its not easy…after a lifetime of expecting personal results “Now.” I appreciate this timely article, and I thank you for taking time to address this subject.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ha. Well, there’s definitely nothing wrong with a 3-month Bible reading plan! 🙂 Go for it.

      I understand the impatience with self too, Juanita. I can be hardest on myself.

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