A 2020 Resolution: To Change
Many people make New Year's resolutions. And then there are some people like me who do not. According to a study from the University of Scranton, only 8% of people who make resolutions actually keep them. To foresee an entire year is not feasible for most people including myself, and to change something without setting up parameters or making big adjustments ahead of time would be a fantastical wish. And then there is faith. Changing even the smallest part of oneself seems impossible and yet, Christians often proclaim that with the power of the Holy Spirit, any Christ follower can be an overcomer.
Believing in the power of Christ to change me has been a mountain ever so huge to climb. Granted, I'll put the work into a positive change, but where do faith and will intersect? Will faith automatically pop into my world when I am tempted simply because I have prayed? Honestly, I think many who attend programs such as AA and GA would not agree. I dare say many of them prayed hard for God to keep them from drinking or gambling and yet they fell to the vice of their own will.
My prayer life has always contained a part that asks God to change in me what needs to be changed and usually I'm not vague. I name names and I am open with Him about what is bothering me and I ask for a change of MY heart. Many times He does change my heart and I see the situation through different eyes. But what happens when I cannot or do not see things differently? What possesses me when I don't control my emotions or adjust my thinking and why am I at times more vulnerable to fail? God and I have been in close communion over this and I believe He has revealed a truth that I have needed to hear.
Quoting scripture has been a big help to overcome bad behavior. Pastors, teachers and theologians have written extensively about it. Searching the Bible for truths that meet our present needs and committing them to memory is a practice I'd encourage every Christian to do.
Outside of this, though, I believe we are responsible to delve into the dark places, patterns or emotions that need change and to proactively seek methods to modify, reverse or wipe them out. Reformation is showing not only God, but ourselves, that we are not going to continue in a certain situation or bad habit or exhibit poor behavior. Breaking free from dark "things" is an emancipation proclamation that we are not going to remain slaves to them. And isn't this the sort of thing a genuine Christian does? Detecting personal faults, confessing them and change.
One if the biggest parts of change is to see where we fall short and along with scripture, find ways to adjust our actions and thinking. For me, it has been detecting areas where I need to be more self-aware and setting up positive ways to talk differently mostly to myself and also to others. And it's work! Stepping back, taking a deep breath and seeing another with eyes of compassion is not easy, or counting to ten and looking at a situation with different eyes, Christlike eyes, has been essential for my personal growth that allows the fruit of the Spirit to shine through in my life.
So, what’s bothering you? What are you struggling with? First, pray. Ask God to reveal the root of the issue. Next, search scripture with full-blown effort and try to memorize helpful verses. If you don’t memorize well, write scripture on some small cards and put them on a ring to carry with you to look at and review when facing difficulties. But also, seek out good advice by talking to others, reading books, searching websites and make up a plan—set up parameters! It is nearly impossible to want to change and do nothing to make that change except to whine or complain about it. Be proactive...think about your plan and work it. Use is fastidiously. Pray over it and pray while working it. And don't be afraid to adjust it.
God is with his children. He holds many hands through change and will direct you through yours. Be aware of His presence. He is there helping you change…not for 2020…but forever.
P.S.-A very helpful book for me has been Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. I recommend their book to make a plan to be more aware of yourself and others.