My internal bias often has me assuming other people always stay the same, while I have the unique ability to change quickly. Somewhere in the middle is probably the truth. With that said, I find it quite amazing how little change so many people experience within their lives. So many people want to accomplish so many wonderful things but few people shape their lives for this to be possible.
Here’s a hard truth to consider: Many desire spiritual transformation, but few are willing to rearrange their lives for it to take place.
I believe God desires to change us. Him saving us was not only a one-time stamp of approval, but a partnership where He indwells us to change us to become more like Jesus.
We were not meant to live in the status quo.
Most often we see the change that takes place in people as a before and after, but in our own lives we often fall short of change because we quickly realize change is a long process. Change takes place in the daily grind of life.
I’ve noticed two vital, beginning steps in allowing change to take place in my life:
In Switch, a book by Chip and Dan Heath, they outline that while change is hard, change becomes easier when we situate our lives in environments where change is possible. In other words, we must establish habits that place us in different environments in order to change.
One habit Michael Hyatt spoke of on his podcast was the reading of your own personal goals every day. It’s simply impossible to read your goals every day without doing something toward accomplishing them.
We all have habits (rhythms for life), the problem is we all have a lot of bad habits. The Heath brothers say this about habits:
Habits will form inevitably, whether they’re formed intentionally or not. You’ve probably created lots of habits unwittingly (page 215).
How are you shaping the environment of your life with good habits?
Speak Truth to Yourself
Habits are not the end-all of change though. Anytime I find myself down on life I realize, after some self-reflection, that most of it revolves around negative self-talk. One daily rhythm I’ve been working on establishing is what Ruth Haley Barton calls a daily examine. It’s a time to spend in quiet, reflecting on the past day:
Where was God present?
Where did I miss opportunities to engage people?
What people do I need to follow up with?
What was God saying to me throughout the day?
During this time I often notice that much of my day is spent telling myself I cannot do something—I’m incapable of being successful. And typically what I sense God saying in my time of daily examine is, “I’m your advocate, working on your behalf, within you and around you.” It’s this reminder of truth that tells me that all the hard work toward change isn’t work of my own. Not at all.
God is working within me so that my working out in life is full of Him (Philippians 2:12-13).
Sure, we can establish plenty of habits, but unless it’s rooted in the truth that God is at work, we’ll forever see change as our thing, not God’s.