I recently finished reading Dances With Wolves. Actually, it only took me three days to read the entire book since it was so fascinating. I had originally planned to donate my copy to the school library but I’ve decided to hold on to it since, in my opinion, it’s definitely a journey book that's worth re-reading.
As the story progresses, the change in the main character was amazing. He began as a white lieutenant in the American cavalry and was eventually transformed into a Comanche warrior who lived and thought like a Comanche. The old man was gone and a totally different person emerged.
His transformation didn’t happen overnight, however. It was a gradual process that occurred over a period of time as he spent more and more time with the Comanche observing their lifestyle and coming to know and understand their heart. As he began to spend most of his time with the tribe, he began to dress like them. However, for a while, he still continued to wear his military pants and boots and return to the fort. The transformation was taking place but he was still trying to live in both worlds. Although, he was more and more being drawn into the new life, at this point, he wasn’t ready to totally give up the old life.
During this time, the tribe treated him with patience and compassion. A growing trust and affection developed between him and them. They loved and encouraged him but they wisely allowed him the freedom to change at his own pace while accepting him just as he was.
This grace journey we’re on will eventually result in total transformation, however, it will be a gradual process. The more time we spend with God among other free believers, the more we'll be changed. As with the lieutenant, it will be a process of small steps that lead to a full transformation and it’ll be a product of that relationship rather than a decision that we make to change.
This transition time is the most difficult because we’re changing but we’re also continuing to hold on to the familiar things of the past. As we continue to move forward, the ties to the past are broken and we begin to move forward with greater freedom. It’s almost as though we’re being held back by rubber bands. As we move forward, progress is difficult at first because of the strength of the rubber bands pulling us back. For a while, it may be impossible to walk so we have to get down on all fours and crawl in order to overcome the strength of the rubber bands. As we strain forward, however, the rubber bands are stretched and the weaker ones start popping and it gets a little easier to move forward. As we continue moving forward and straining against the pull of the rubber bands, more will break until eventually we can stand and walk forward easily into greater understandings of God’s grace.
During this process, other grace oriented believers who have grown in wisdom will allow us the freedom to change at our own pace. They’ll be available to love and encourage us but they won’t try to force us forward beyond where we’re ready to go. They’ll love and accept us unconditionally while we straddle the fence between both worlds.
In Christ we’re new creations but transformation is a process. As we continue on this journey, transformation will take place and we will more and more be set free to be who we really are as a free believer living in God’s grace moment by moment.
To read my earlier post regarding this book, follow this link.