This last month has asked us to consider making a lot of changes. Change is the best thing we have going for us, and the hardest too.
A frequent frustration I hear is “Why should I be the one to change when they’re the problem?” Weary voices object, “Take me or leave me as I am.” I hear that voice in my head, too. And I have to ask, “How’s that working?”
We wish the world would change. Perhaps the world is waiting for us (YOU) to change.
The Bible records this prophecy from Samuel, “The spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you… and you will be changed into a different person.” WONDERFUL! However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have to put change into motion. Change can be confusing and slooooow. Plus, it’s not always appreciated. Ugh! For the people-pleaser, not getting approval when we change is practically a deal breaker.
Changing your behavior, as instructed in a million self-help You-Tube videos and books, is not where change begins. It starts before, with these 3 difficult questions:
1) Can you admit that you’re the one that needs to change?
Change starts with honest and sometimes painful confessions that maybe it’s YOU that’s been pushing your family and friends away. Maybe YOU’RE the reason jobs and opportunities don’t come your way. And maybe YOU are responsible for feeling sad or angry much of the time.
Sometimes we need a loving friend or therapist to guide us (not tell us) toward accepting our responsibility for change, instead of waiting for our circumstances and the people around us to change.
2) Do you believe you can change?
I often see a FB post that pulls me into a time warp. I see HS graduation pictures, wedding pictures, and reminders of another time of my life. I automatically compare the person I was to the person I am today. I’ve changed more than my big 1980’s hairstyle. I see my old self; someone who struggled with insecurities and whose sad or bad behavior was driven to prove to the world she mattered. But then my look back rewards me with evidence that I am able, if willing, to change.
Life is not one monumental conversion that the world can point to and say – WOW, look at her now! It’s usually the accumulation of incremental “change-steps” that are barely noticeable by themselves. Today I am healthy, happy, and changed for the better. I believe more change is coming, too.
3) Are you fixated on the wrong side of change?
If we only look toward the end result, the pay off, of change, we will lose the power that drives it. No matter how strong the lure of better health, bigger paychecks, smaller waistlines, or improved relationships, we need to keep our eye on the most important ingredient that sustains change: our reason for changing. Changing behavior for the sake of better behavior is just an exhausting act of discipline and hard to maintain. We have to want it for all the right reasons and see what’s holding us back from getting it.
The real change factor is in the internal wiring of our hearts and souls. Change starts when we rewire the way we gain approval and avoid conflict. It happens when we believe we deserve to love and be loved, even if it pushes us out of our comfort zone.
The 13th century Celtic origin of the word change means to bend. So believe in yourself and bend a little. You won’t break. Let nothing hold you back from launching the kind of change that reconnects you to the incredible awesome person God created you to be.