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They Can't Handle You

Embracing Change and New Beginnings

Mark 2:22 (NIV) - "And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins."

In moments of transformation and growth, we often find ourselves at a crossroads where our evolving selves collide with the expectations and perceptions of those around us.

Recently, I was engaged in a conversation with a friend about the numerous changes unfolding in my life. I shared my experiences and the reactions I've faced when discussing these transformations with people who thought they knew me. My words and thoughts now seem to unsettle them, and I've come to understand that they simply cannot handle what I'm saying. This isn't an indication of their weakness or my being too profound; it's just that they are deeply invested in a particular version of me. When I choose to evolve, it disrupts not only my life but also their understanding and perceptions, and they find it challenging to process or accept. This experience brought to mind the scripture in Mark 2:22, where Jesus speaks of not pouring new wine into old wineskins to prevent bursting and ruin.

Of course, I had to dig a little further into why old wineskins are more prone to bursting when introduced to new wine. One of the reasons that stood out to me is permeability. Old wineskins tend to become more permeable or less flexible over time, which means they can’t contain the pressure of the fermentation of the new wine. Just to make this even clearer, another word for fermentation is agitation or turbulence. Just as new wine agitates old wineskins, our personal growth and change can stir up established systems, thoughts, and relationships.

Introducing new perspectives, friendships, styles, or expectations often leads to friction and discomfort, challenging the status quo and inviting resistance. You know what I mean when your old friends see you with new friends? Or when you introduce a new style to your wardrobe? Or you bring new expectations to your relationship. It inevitably creates agitation. Depending on where we are in our own journeys we can become less flexible with change. Again, that’s not a bad thing. That could mean you have reached a place of stability and confidence with where you are in life. We tend to react skeptically to what we cannot fathom and embrace what seems logical to us. Introducing a new paradigm to someone who has held a certain belief for decades can be overwhelming, and it's unfair to expect them to immediately adapt. Sometimes, in order to preserve the relationship, we must reserve what we pour into them.

What I'm trying to convey is that you may have already stretched certain relationships to their limits with your old self, with your past beliefs and desires. Therefore, if you've decided that what you once shared about yourself no longer represents who you are now, do not be offended when others struggle with your evolution. They may express that it's 'too much' or that they can't grasp what you're revealing, simply because you're asking them to re-evaluate what they've committed to understanding.

This concept is applicable even in a business context. Should you decide to pivot your business direction overnight, it's often more productive to engage with those who resonate with your new path rather than attempting to convert those who don't. Otherwise, they might try to persuade you that your fresh approach is mistaken, not necessarily because it is, but because it's beyond their comprehension. 

When we embark on a journey of transformation, it's important to recognize that not everyone will readily embrace our evolution. Attempting to force others to understand or accept our changes can be futile and draining. Instead, we are encouraged to seek God's guidance and open ourselves to new structures, foundations, and relationships that align with our renewed purpose and direction. And remember new wineskins don’t automatically mean BETTER. It just means new grace, new capacity, new perspectives, and new chances to get it right & wrong, and new opportunities to gain clarity that’s not tainted by old systems. 

Therefore, if you find yourself navigating a path of change and growth, remember that it's okay to outgrow old wineskins. Trust in God to provide you with the support and understanding needed to flourish in your new season. Just as new wine requires new wineskins to reach its full potential, your transformation may require new environments and relationships to thrive. Embrace the journey, and may God grant you the strength and wisdom to navigate your pouring with grace and peace. 

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