Change Is In the Air

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix after Delores Umbridge was announced as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, she interrupted Dumbledore to make this speech.

“Thank you, headmaster, for those kind words of welcome. The Ministry of Magic has always considered the education of young witches and wizards to be of a vital importance. Although each headmaster has brought something new to this… historic school, progress for the sake of progress must be discouraged. Let us preserve what must be preserved, perfect what can be perfected and prune practices that ought to be… prohibited!”

Dumbledore’s response was simply, “Thank you, Professor Umbridge. That really was most illuminating.” Most had no idea what Umbridge was saying, but Hermione provided some insight by interpreting for her friends: “It means, the Ministry is interfering in Hogwarts.”

As anyone who has watched the movie or read the book knows, Umbridge’s motives were self-serving and out of a deep need for control at any cost. Yet, I can’t help but find some motivation for myself in her words.

“Progress for the sake of progress must be discouraged.”

Progress often happens just because it can. We never have the most up-to-date electronics, and we clearly have way more information than we can ever digest. So, for me, I hold back on following trends and try to choose progress that fits the steps I feel directed to take (Proverbs 16:9).

“Preserve what must be preserved.”

As with all of these statements, this one should exist as a personal choice. In other words, what must be preserved often operates on an individual level instead of in a corporate mandate with a one-size-fits-all approach. This means that some of what I do may seem outdated or even complicated to others, but they work for me. Regardless of what experts suggest as the best approach, sometimes we keep what works because it works.

“Perfect what can be perfected”

While I am a big proponent of doing what works for the individual based on personality and temperament, I also realize that one person doesn’t have all the answers. Much of my processes were created as I watched others and adapted what they did as my own. In other words, I made adjustments when it was right for me to do so.

“Prune practices that ought to be… prohibited!”

This statement can be interpreted in a lot of ways, but it has got me thinking about how detrimental going through the motions of life can be. While I am not always sure exactly where God’s steps are taking me, I do know that I need to move forward in a way that allows the negative thoughts and practices that have been holding me back to fall away. In the past, a funk has sent me deep into a pit of depression. I am refusing to let that happen again. This practice must be prohibited.

Reassess and Reset

Taking time to reassess and even reset from time to time is generally a good idea for everyone. That usually means making some changes, such as honing routines and maybe some thought processes at the same time. Vacations help me do this. Reflection also helps as does talking with godly people and regularly reading and meditating on God’s word.

Regular reassessment and resetting of our routines and ways of thinking is a good idea. It’s especially important, though, that we always make sure that process involves measuring them against God’s word.