The Grace to Change

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“People don’t change.”

We’ve heard this time and time again, and I know more than a few people who truly believe this.

I don’t believe it though. I don’t believe that lasting change is common or easy, but I believe that if a person truly wants to change their mindset, their attitude, or their character, they can.

The problem with permanently changing oneself is that true change doesn’t come cheap. The price it requires is often times more than we are willing to pay. More often than not, you will have to break away from familiarity and this is almost always an uncomfortable process. No one likes being in unpredictable situations, and although we may say otherwise, change is always intimidating. The reward may be greater than the sacrifice, but the process of change is scary, and rightfully so.

Letting go of what you know and understand to hold on to the unknown is terrifying, at least it is to me. But one thing I’ve learned is that the failure to change and grow will lead to stagnation, and stagnation is always destructive. You simply can’t achieve anything if you’re not willing to be better, do better, act better, and think better. And in order to get to better, change has to occur.

The reason I believe that change is possible is because I’ve seen it first-hand. I have seen people who come from nothing make something of themselves. I have seen people overcome unspeakable odds and embrace shining futures, all because they dared to change. We have all heard of people kicking drug addictions and leaving abusive relationships. These things don’t just require physical change, they require a complete change of mind, an about-face that some people don’t ever find the strength to go through with.

Human beings have an incredible capacity to endure. We can endure hardship and pain, heart ache and rejection, physical brutality and chronic discomfort. But just because you can take it doesn’t mean you should.

Sarah Jakes Roberts once tweeted that we have to stop allowing our high tolerance for pain to keep us in painful places. I couldn’t agree more.

What’s stopping you from making significant, permanent change? If it’s the fear of pain, what are the odds that the pain you’re currently experiencing is any less than what you’ll experience after making the change?

Perhaps the biggest reason for my belief in change is my belief that grace is real. I believe every single story that is written in the Bible. I believe them wholeheartedly, and I have garnered great inspiration and wisdom from them. Many men and women in those 66 books walked away from their former selves and in turn helped nations to rise in victory or set the foundation for many future miracles.

Of all the transformations in the Bible, I believe that Paul’s (formerly known as Saul) was the most profound. He went from a murderer of Believers to the chief Believer among them. Paul renounced all he knew to follow the voice and teachings of a man he once hated, Yahshua (Jesus). Paul was arguably one of the most educated men the Bible speaks of. He was fluent in many languages, extensively educated, well respected by the great thinkers and philosophers of his day, and he made the decision to leave all that behind and follow Yahshua.

Paul changed. And I believe that every human being has been given the grace to change. Other people would call it the determination to change.

If the reason why you’re stuck is because you believe you are a slave to your predispositions, I think you’re wrong. Habits and inclinations are byproducts of repetition, they’re actions and behaviors that have become second-nature due to the number of times you relent to them. That means they’re hard to change, but not impossible.

I had a bad habit of negative, pessimistic thoughts. I would get caught up in my feelings and let them push me around until I was so disoriented the only thing I was sure of was confusion and sadness. By the end of my pity parties I would be convinced that I had the worst life possible, that nothing good ever happened to me, that nothing I said or did mattered, that no one understood or really cared about me. These are very overwhelming, seemingly dramatic thoughts, but they were real to me, and they crippled me for years.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until this year that I started thinking about my thoughts. I began to recognize my patterns of negativity and the notice the lies that I had come to believe, and I decided to make a change.

In short, I decided to change my perspective. I decided to begin focusing on all the good instead of all the bad. That doesn’t mean I ignore the bad, it just means I accept it and decide to be positive in-spite of it.

There’s a lot of decision making that goes on inside my mind. I can literally think myself into a depressed state if I allow it. I can get so low so quick it would be scary, but I actively choose the positive thoughts. I can see and hear the bad, but I don’t meditate on it. I funnel my thoughts through the positive perspective, and everything else follows suit, including my words and actions.

It’s exhausting and quite painful sometimes to not give in to the dark implications of my circumstances, or to fight against the strong current of pessimism flowing though my mind, but it is always worth it. I can think clearly, and to be honest, I’m so much more happy and at peace. We don’t know the power we have over ourselves until we decide to make changes, and today I’m encouraging you to change.

I’m not here to berate or judge anyone, I’m simply sharing my own experience in hopes of helping someone else take back the power over their life. You can make a change. And the grace that I and all children of Yahweh are privy to means that no change is too big, no habit too addictive, no chain too strong, no bond too lasting, no mindset too distorted, no heart too hard, no soul too old.

You have been given the grace to change. It is possible. You just have to decide to pay the price that change requires. I’m not making light of anyone’s difficulties, and I am well aware that people are hurting and trapped all over the world. Every second of every day there is someone who is not afforded the chance to make a change, but for those of us who are, I think it would be selfish of us not to.

You can be a better you. I believe it.

 

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