The God who created you has treated you with amazing dignity by giving you the gift of choice. Your limited human vision easily focuses on the obstacles or challenges you face. Your emotions can feel stalled when noticing the sorry place you find yourself in. But regardless of your circumstances, you don't have to stay where you are. It's really your change, your choice.
That's quite radical when you think about it. We've talked frequently about transformation in these articles, and yet so many people want to change but are not experiencing it. We do not provide the power to transform our own hearts; that comes from the Holy Spirit. But nothing happens when we simply sit back and wait.
First Step: The Choice to Change
That's what Jesus was asking when He said to the man who had been paralyzed for 38 years, "Do you want to be healed?" (John 5:6b).
It's been said that insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results. But that's not you! You're sick and tired of being sick and tired. You can't imagine being in the same place you are now a year from now, 10 years from now.
So you are making the choice to change.
New circumstances won't automatically change things for you. Oh, things may be different for a little while on the outside, but if you don't change, you'll almost certainly be back in the same circumstances in the near future. Think of how many lottery winners or sports stars end up bankrupt and in trouble relatively quickly after their "good fortune." Notice how many remarriages end up even more miserable than first marriages were. The sad and distressing reality is that too many who are rescued from the sex trade end up returning to that life again.
Wishing and hoping for different circumstances is fine. Praying for different circumstances is wonderful. But if you want things to be different, you will have to become different.
God has that kind of change available for you. It may not happen instantly. It will take work, and perhaps some pain. But it is possible.
The Choice to Change May Not Be Easy, But It Is Yours
- The choice to break out of a cycle of poverty will mean learning to be grateful for what you do have while never giving up on desiring more, learning how money works, changing the way you relate to money, learning how to bring value to others (that's how you obtain money) and embracing generosity.
- The choice to get healthy physically will mean altering ways you're used to eating, saying no to the comfort you previously went to food for, exercising when you would rather do anything else, getting input from professionals when needed while at the same time owning responsibility for your own health and refusing any addictions.
- The choice to have a healthy marriage will mean becoming unselfish, learning to communicate, learning to take the clothes off your heart as well as your body, learning to understand your spouse's perspective, letting God prune the prickly branches off your own tree so you can come closer to each other and becoming the spouse God needs you to be.
- The choice to break free from pornography will mean radically altering your access to electronic media that trips you up, being vulnerable and accountable to a few people when you would rather hide and proactively learning how to both get your needs met and do intimacy God's way.
- The choice to refuse to remain a victim to past abuse will mean seeking new and healing relationships, telling someone your story as a way to disinfect the shame (see James 5:16), embracing what God says about you and learning new skills you may never have embraced before.
- The choice to step into the vocation or ministry God has planted within you will mean doing things that scare you, continuing to move forward when disappointment or betrayal or other problems try to stop you, learning what it means to depend on God radically and act boldly at the same time and refusing to see opposition as a stop sign.
Your Choice Will Have Consequences
Your choice to change will have consequences. Other people are not likely to support you in the ways you hope. You will feel uncomfortable often. You will "fail" repeatedly while learning to do things new ways. Change won't happen as quickly as you want.
And the change you desire will lead to new challenges as well. Having money or a job will mean new responsibilities. A healthy marriage will mean parts of you that you relied on will be different. A life of sexual integrity may mean embracing moments of loneliness. An expanded vocation or ministry will mean new pressures you didn't anticipate.
So, it's your change, your choice. You can remain where you are. It's not a foregone conclusion that you will choose to change. God will love you just the same whether you choose to change or not.
But if you want something different, something more, you will need to change.
Who cares what others think? Who cares how hard it is? Who cares how long it takes? Who cares what you may have to give up? You are making the choice to change.
Welcome to the absence of insanity. You're expecting different results because you're doing things differently. You are becoming different.
It's your choice, and you choose to change.
Your Turn: Where are you choosing to change? Where are you refusing to allow things to continue as they are? Leave a comment below.
Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley is both a board-certified OB-GYN physician and an ordained doctor of ministry. As an author and speaker, she loves helping people discover the Fully Alive kind of life Jesus came to bring us. Visit her website at drcarolministries.com.
This article originally appeared at drcarolministries.com.
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