We all want to change our lives. We want to change our body, our relationships, our income, our statuses and our homes. We might even make resolutions at the start of the new year, only to have gotten nowhere by the middle of January.
How can we make lasting change stick in our lives? Here are some ways to move forward this year.
1. Put Your Past Behind You.
So many people are crippled by their past failures, choices, disappointments and mistakes. You must learn from your past failures but you must not allow them to defeat you.
If anyone had a past to forget, it was the Apostle Paul. But look how he put his past behind him.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 3:12–14
2. Change How You Respond.
We think we must, or that we can, change the people or circumstances around us. Whenever there is a problem in your life, you get to choose how you will respond. When someone says or does something to you, you get to decide how you will respond.
Too often, we let our minds and hearts go crazy. But we must learn how to discipline them, and bring them back to a place of health. We don’t need to be tossed and turned by this world or the people around us - we can still be in control of how we will respond.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” — Philippians 4:8–9
You sometimes need to tell your worried heart to knock it off. You need to tell your angry heart to zip it. You need to tell your fearful heart to stop! You can’t allow it to just go off without any restraint. You get to choose!
3. Don’t Allow the Future to Cripple You.
How many times have you looked into the future and found yourself overwhelmed? Even this week, did you look at your calendar and freak out? What am I going to do? Then we begin to play the “What If…” game. I always lose at that game, how about you?
Jesus tells us to live for today, live for the moment. If you are like me, you have missed some good times because you were worrying about the future.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” — Matthew 6:25, 28, 31–34
If you will take these three steps and implement them into your daily routine, you will find more joy and happiness.
You will also find more capacity to reach out and help others out of their muck. But most of all, you will be living as God designed you to live.