CHANGE IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE. I HAVE CHANGED. I AM CONVINCED YOU CAN CHANGE. THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE OFTEN START NEW THINGS IN OUR ATTEMPTS TO BETTER OURSELVES BUT SELDOM HAVE THE ABILITY TO FIND THE SUCCESS AND DESIRED RESULTS THAT WE SO DESPERATELY WANT. WHY IS THAT?
We all have heard the phrase that “practice makes perfect” but I don’t necessarily agree with that statement. I loved playing basketball as a teenager and practiced every single day. I didn’t have great coaching but enough to develop a jump shot that in my opinion was a thing of beauty. However, without the coaching I never developed the rest of my game at the same level I developed my shooting form. I knew how to shoot a basketball, but dribbling, passing, movement, and lock-down defense were things I knew very little about. I practiced but I didn’t know what I was doing or what drills to do to get better. Because it was misguided practice, I never really got better. The right knowledge, coaching, and direction can lead to making something much better. Doing something the wrong way over and over just leads to frustration.
So this year as we all attempt to make things better in our lives, let me share with you a few areas of change that have proven to be solid and are considered good coaching. These are areas where practice may not lead us to perfection, but they can lead to health and wholeness as we try and figure out how to start being the kind of people we want to be.
If you are going to start one thing this year, this is it. Start with you. The one element I’ve noticed as the common denominator in all my strained relationships at home, work, and school was me. If I wanted to have better relationships with others, I only had power over one person in all of those scenarios and it was me and my inner world. This year, start looking at yourself and asking the question, “What do I need to change?” Instead of always asking what other people need to do differently, give that up and only focus on you. This is good practice.
As you start to work on you, you will see change in others around you. It’s unbelievable how this works. Here are some practice habits that you should start this year: see a counselor or therapist (I have discovered that this is what healthy people do), take a class, get in a book club, and get in some type of group that will help you get outside of yourself.
Another area where you could start this year is by finding a place to be totally honest about what is going on in your inner world. I firmly believe that healthy people are fully known somewhere and unhealthy people like to keep things in the shadows. The more vulnerable I can be with trusted friends or a counselor the more weight that is lifted off of my shoulders. I believe when our hurts, pains, and sin patterns remained tucked away in our inner world, they have too much power and can cause great damage.When we allow our inner world out these monsters that have haunted us in the past become less scary. Start with a counselor or a safe friend but take the first step and start finding some freedom.
Lastly, I am so glad that I chose to put my life and hope in God. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). I love the imagery of the father looking out and running to meet his lost son. Often times I imagine this as a one-time deal—the father running to his son. However, the more time I spend in Scripture I realize that for every one of us, the father will run to us again and again. He never stops running to his children. If you feel like you have left the Father, the church has hurt you, or you have damaged your relationship with God beyond repair, please start by saying a prayer or just simply turning your eyes toward Him as a sign of need. He has been running toward you for all of your life.
Start. What a horrible and beautiful word this time of year. I pray that you and I can start being healthy in our souls, in our minds, and in our hearts this new year. Start these great practice habits that were mentioned and start seeing growth and maturity come your way in 2020.