Change is an inevitable part of life. It happens whether we’re ready or not. One of the secrets of living successfully is to learn to handle the changes we find coming our way. It is possible to learn to set our sail so that the winds of change blow us in the direction we choose rather than onto the rocks. In fact, it is good sometimes to initiate life changes ourselves.
The first step in making positive changes in our lives is to decide exactly what it is that we want to change. Many times people don’t know what they really want in life. James said, “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2 (NIV) I think that a lot of times the reason people don’t ask God, is that they don’t really know what they want. So the first step in making significant changes in your life is to determine what changes you want to make.
Next comes desire. All achievement, all progress, begins with desire. Unless you have a strong enough desire, you will never see the needed changes become a reality in your life.
After we know what we desire to see happen in our life, we must then make a decision to change. Such a decision implies that we believe we really can change. Some people believe that they cannot change, but every Christian has the power to change. We all exercise a greater measure of control over our lives than we realize. We are where we are in life because of the choices we have made thus far. If we don’t like where we are, we can choose to change.
Once you decide to make significant changes in your life, the next thing you need is a plan. Here are a few suggestions. First, look ahead and let the end determine the beginning. Ask yourself where it is you want to end up in life. Once you know that, it is much easier to determine the steps you need to take to get there.
The next step is to set goals. Everyone has two kinds of goals; conscious goals and unconscious goals. The problem is that most of the goals that control us are unconscious. We are controlled by those deep wants that we may not even be aware of. So the importance of setting conscious goals is so we might counteract some of those unconscious goals to which we are susceptible like the need to please people or the need for approval.
Another important thing to do is to learn to look upon problems as opportunities to grow. Problems are inevitable, especially if we’re making significant changes in our life. If we can learn to expect problems and view them as growth opportunities, it will help us persevere when we might otherwise be tempted to throw in the towel and quit.
Next, prepare for setbacks. They will come. If we are prepared for them, we will not be so easily discouraged by them. Remember that everyone who accomplishes anything worthwhile experiences setbacks. Life just seems to be designed that way. And I think that is to keep the undeserving from getting the best life has to offer. Those things are reserved for the ones who persevere and triumph.
The last suggestion is to have a dynamic for change—Jesus Christ. We need something more than a desire, a decision and a design. We need power from beyond ourselves to make truly meaningful changes. Jesus Christ is that power. When our lives are aligned with the will of God, we have a power and motivation that can carry us through all the problems and setbacks and move us beyond all other obstacles.
Jesus said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” Matt. 6:33 When we want for ourselves what God wants for us, we find we have a friend in making real life changes.