This August I will celebrate fifteen years of passionately pursuing Christ. Dedicating my life to God and His will for my life. Saying no to religion and yes to an authentic relationship with Jesus.
Transforming a Type A, perfectionistic, free spirited child of the 60s into a humble servant of God was not easy or quick! But thanks to God’s mercy and grace. I stuck with it.
Yes, change— transformation is difficult and requires time. So difficult that
- ninety-five percent of those who lose weight on a diet regain it, and a significant percentage gain back more than they originally lost.
- even after a heart attack, only one of every seven patients makes any enduring change around eating or exercise.
- twenty-five percent of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after one week. Sixty percent do so within six months. The average person makes the same New Year’s resolution ten separate times without success.
- seventy percent of organizational change initiatives ultimately fail.
Would you like to beat the odds? Becoming a better version of you?
CHANGE ONE THING AT A TIME.
Experts tell us establishing new habits can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days. The brain prefers to travel down familiar pathways. The time required to change these pathways is influenced by the difficulty of the activity being learned and the individual’s level of commitment.
I don’t really understand myself. For I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong. This shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong. It is sin living in me that does it.
And I know that nothing good lives in me. That is in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong. It is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life. That when I want to do what is right. I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 7:15-25)
ACCEPT DISCOMFORT AS PART OF THE PROCESS.
Change requires leaving one’s comfort zone and embracing the unknown. Before beginning the change process. Gather information about the change and possible difficulties you will experience.
Just imagine that you want to build a tower. Wouldn’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to be sure you have enough to finish what you start? If you lay the foundation but then can’t afford to finish the tower, everyone will mock you. “Look at that guy who started something that he couldn’t finish!”
Or imagine a king gearing up to go to war. Wouldn’t he begin by sitting down with his advisors to determine whether his 10,000 troops could defeat the opponent’s 20,000 troops? If not, he’ll send a peace delegation quickly and negotiate a peace treaty. In the same way, if you want to be My disciple, it will cost you everything. Don’t underestimate that cost! (Luke 14:28-33)
CHANGE TAKES TIME.
Accept the truth that change does not occur overnight and requires perseverance.
We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance. Which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined. We learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. (Romans 5:3-5)
ENVISION THE FUTURE.
Ask yourself. What happens if I don’t change? What happens if I do change? Use words, pictures, a song to describe each future. In the beginning refer to it daily, and whenever your motivation is waning.
Don’t fall in love with this corrupt world or worship the things it can offer. Those who love its corrupt ways don’t have the Father’s love living within them. All the things the world can offer to you— the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things, and the pompous sense of superiority. Do not come from the Father. These are the rotten fruits of this world. This corrupt world is already wasting away, as are its selfish desires. But the person really doing God’s will— that person will never cease to be. (1 John 2:15-17)
TAKE BABY STEPS.
Slow and gradual modification is more likely to result in a permanent change. Make a to do list— a growth plan to stay focus. Develop routines.
Father, may they clearly know Your will and achieve the height and depth of spiritual wisdom and understanding. May their lives be a credit to You Lord. And what’s more. May they continue to delight You by doing every good work and growing in the true knowledge that comes from being close to You.
Strengthen them with Your infinite power according to Your glorious might. So that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully.
Thank You Father. As You have made us eligible to receive our portion of the inheritance given to all those set apart by the light. You have rescued us from dark powers and brought us safely into the kingdom of Your Son. Whom You love. (Colossians 1:9-13)
CELEBRATE SMALL SUCCESSES.
Do not wait until the finish line to celebrate. Pat yourself on the back each time you accomplish one of the baby steps. Keep a journal and record whenever you make a positive choice.
Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)
Will change be easy? NO!
Will it be worth it? A thousand times YES!
Change statistics are from Tony Schwartz’s book, The Way We Are Working Isn’t Working.