top of page

Are You Ready For Change?

Updated: Feb 16, 2022


Have you ever been in a place where you knew change was needed? Something…but what? And how? You find that your spirit is weary. The life and energy you once had are gone. Now life feels like a chore to accomplish; something to get done and off your plate rather than the joy it once held. Possibly you have found yourself in a place of desperation. How you worked, played, or lived life now feels burdensome.


Maybe you have found that not only is your job unfulfilling, but it also requires you to give up needed family investments-time, attention, emotional capacity. You have invested much, possibly years, attempting to gain a position, paygrade, or status. You are close – or maybe still a way away from it – but that goal no longer holds the promise it once did.


Could it be that family or friends are taking too much from you? Your personhood is struggling because of the inability to appropriately separate and discover or rediscover who you are and your purpose in this life. Once in a great while, you touch upon something that brings you joy, peace, or energy, and you think to yourself when I find time…when I get these other things off my list…one of these days, I will come back to this for me!


Whether it is work, personal development, or anything else that requires change, there are three necessary principles that remain the same for effective life-giving change to happen: prayer, planning, and committing to the process.


We must pray

Can we make good changes without praying? Of course! Some common questions are: Why should we pray if we can make change happen on our own? Why do we need to seek God for his approval and help? First, can we change approval to alignment? Why do I need to align myself to God and seek His help? Let’s go to Genesis 1 to see what the Bible says about the importance of aligning oneself with God.


In Genesis 1, we see that there was a conversation between the Trinity; God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit when it came to creating human beings. While the Bible does not explicitly speak on God’s emotions or desires, we can ascertain His emotions by the way that we feel when planning for the conception of a child. Our hearts are excited. We wonder at the amazement of this creation to come. We have expectations and plan how to train for those expectations to be met. We have desires for them to be the best version of the little person they can be. We know, even though they don’t, that they need to develop as little human beings. And we want to be part of the process!


God, as our creator and spiritual father (Genesis 1:26), is no different. He was excited when planning for your creation in the womb. In fact, He was So excited, He decided to create you in His likeness. In other words, He was not ashamed for you to resemble Him. But God does not stop there. What we find explicitly in Genesis 1: 27 is that He also had a purpose in mind when creating you. This means that He gave us a purpose while on this earth. We were created with this purpose placed within.


That means there is a space within the God-space in us that cannot be satisfied with anything or anyone else. And the only way that we will not innately have unfulfilled cravings beyond our scope in life is to seek Him for the uncovering of what He placed within us when creating us in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 29:11). Friend, He longs to reveal those purposes that would fulfill you.


Other questions I hear are, what if God’s desires and mine don’t line up? What if I don’t want to do what He wants? It is my life, my body, my time, my finances, and my energy to do with what I want. The beauty of a relationship with Christ is that our power to choose, in other words, our will, is not taken away from us. Does this mean that I can do what I want and still have a life in Christ? This is a question that cannot be easily answered in the context of salvation. But, for this space, we can safely say that while a person has the choice to find their own purpose and plans apart from God, the space within that earnestly craves to be fulfilled will be left empty or worse, filled with unsuspecting entrapments. (As a side note; there are examples in the Bible of God partnering with unsaved people for accomplishing His purposes.) On the other hand, we can look back to Genesis 1: 30 to find that when we pray for alignment and His help to accomplish our purpose in life and be the best version of ourselves, we find…indeed it was very good!


We must plan

Just as a vehicle needs an engine to take you somewhere, planning requires the engine, your imagination, to kickstart your creativity. One common myth is that it only takes the rational mind to plan. This might be true if you are following someone else’s plan already tested. But given that we are all uniquely created, most plans are not a “fit all”. The difference between the mind and the imagination is that while the mind is capable of rational thought, the imagination offers the ability to be creative as it forms images not previously perceived. Imagination bridges the gap between the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind. This means that using our imagination, we can fuel our creativity for change.


One hindrance to planning is that the imagination is often either under or overdeveloped. These are two sides to the same coin. An underdeveloped, or stunted imagination, is often caused by the shutting down of the ability to be curious. Curiosity, being a strong desire to know or learn something, is hindered as an effect of trauma, grief, or loss among other things. The loss of curiosity goes together with the loss of hope and excitement about life. In other words, friend, your brain becomes locked up and unable to conceive of new possibilities.


On the other side of this coin can be found the overdeveloped imagination. An overdeveloped imagination can be a symptom of inner desires to escape the realities of life through living in a fantasy world. Though the imagination is very active, there is little attempt to bring reality to fantasy because of one’s ability to be in control of every facet of it.


Everyone and everything adapt to the person’s imagined reality he or she has created. Therefore, the overdeveloped imagination is unable to align itself with the skills needed to bring about a healthy real plan for change. A person with an overdeveloped imagination becomes entrapped in his or her own prison of fantasy.


We must commit to the process

The process of change IS difficult. One myth that creates a stumbling block is believing change is simply a matter of a decision and applied action. In contrast, successful change includes emotions, thought processes, attitudes, behaviors, and support as just some of the necessary cooperating elements. The fact is that the "formation" of change begins long before the decision and applied action. Change happens in stages.


The transtheoretical model of change identifies five stages to change:

· pre-contemplation – not yet acknowledging there is a problem and change is needed

· contemplation – acknowledging the problem but not ready for change

· preparation – getting ready for change

· action – changing behavior (stop drinking) or taking action to create change (looking

for a job)

· maintenance – maintaining the behavior change.


Other models of change also include stages:

· relapse – returning to old behaviors and abandoning new ones

· termination -former problem or behavior is no longer desirable


Many people also believe that change is possible with the first attempt. Because of this belief, many fail to get back up when they inevitably fall short of their expectations. Curiosity, as previously discussed, offers the possibility of hope and excitement for the newness of life that good changes bring. In contrast, never moving into the action phase or finding yourself in the relapse stage defeats the fuel of hope and excitement that planning offers, leaving one feeling empty and defeated.


Main Ingredients for Change

Two main ingredients needed for successful change are grace and trust. We must learn to give ourselves the grace to move like a turtle if necessary. We must learn to give ourselves grace when we fail. We must learn to give ourselves grace for imperfections and human limitations. And, finally, we must learn to give ourselves the grace to ask for help. Asking for help is often painful and humbling; sometimes, it is downright fearful. Yet, each of these places of learning grace offers strength to the process of change.


Learning to trust is often as difficult as learning to give ourselves grace. We must learn to trust ourselves, other safe people in our corner, and God if we are going to be successful in the change process. Learning to trust is a growing process. It requires forgiving, offering second chances where it is safe to do so, and being willing to feel the pain of vulnerability.

Trust allows needed support, accountability, partnership, and guidance needed for the process of change. Without grace and trust, lasting change is not possible. You will find yourself never having started or in the relapse stage.


Questions to ask yourself:

· Prayer - Does what I am praying for fill my inward being with joy and excitement, and does

it offer good all-around? Am I listening as much as I am asking?


· Planning - For the under-developed curiosity: Am I practicing activating my imagination?

Am I working through trauma, grief, and loss? For the over-developed

imagination: Am I writing out my imagined change and asking what non-

negotiables there are that would nullify its fulfillment? Am I sharing this with a

trustworthy person to help me process it?


· Commitment to the process – Am I willing and able to learn to give myself grace for my

failures and weaknesses? Am I willing and able to learn to trust myself, others,

and God for support, accountability, and guidance?


Are you ready for a change? In which stage of change are you? Change is inevitable, while growth is optional. Turning our perspective and language from “the need to change” to “an opportunity for growth,” our eyes are often opened to the very real opportunities before us. If you know that you need to make a change, but don’t know what needs to change or how to get there, consider signing up with me for a free 30-minute coaching consultation. If you have a need for healing so that growth and newness of life can be obtained, consider signing up with me for a free 30-minute counseling consultation. Whether your need is counseling or coaching, I can walk with you to discover what change is needed, the steps to getting you there, how to overcome obstacles, and how to maintain that change.



Comments


bottom of page