Change is hard—so hard, in fact, that most of us avoid it at all costs.
But by avoiding change, we create even bigger problems, such as lost opportunities, broken relationships, or sometimes a wasted life. Millions of people who need to change are drifting along with no real purpose, no joy, feeling as if they're traveling a dead end street.
I can relate. I've had to make some major changes in my life, and each time they were painful. I usually fought those changes until I reached my misery threshold, then I reluctantly did something rash to escape the bad situation.
Intimidated by the UnknownEach time I needed to make a change, I was afraid because I didn't know what was coming. Like most people, I like predictability. I thrive on sureness. Change means stepping into the unknown and losing your comfortable routine, and that's frightening.
I also knew that to a large degree, I had to give up control. That's scary too. Sure, I prepared as well as I could, but I couldn't run everything. Change involves so many factors that you just can't manipulate all of them.
When you're not in control, you lose your sense of invulnerability. You quickly realize you're not as powerful as you thought. That bravery you put so much pride in seems to evaporate when you realize you're not the one in charge any more.
Family members and friends can help you change, but they have their own lives to lead and their own priorities. They can't do everything for you. Most of the time they're struggling so much in their own lives that they can't give you all the support you'd like.
The Critical Element to Lasting ChangeOne of the reasons so many celebrities keep going in and out of rehab is that they leave out the critical element to lasting change: God. Change is too hard when you try to do it without him.
God supplies everything you need for successful change, and when you make changes with his help, you stay changed.
The unknown can overwhelm you, but God is omniscient, which means he knows all things, including the future. He can prepare you for the future in ways you can't prepare yourself, and he works all things for the good of his followers (Romans 8:28, NIV). God is the guide who is never surprised.
God is in control as well. The being who created the vast universe and keeps it operating in perfect harmony is also a personal God who intervenes in people's lives. He exercises his control to keep those who obey him in his will.
When you feel weak in the face of change, God is omnipotent, or all-powerful. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" the Bible says. (Romans 8:31, NIV) Knowing the invincible God is on your side gives you tremendous confidence.
The most important attribute God brings when you're making a change is his unconditional love for you. Unlike that of family and friends, his love never wavers. He wants only the best for you, and when change makes you suffer, as it often does, he stands closest to you, giving comfort and strength. Sometimes his love is the only thing that gets you through.
Unlimited Help or No HelpWhere are you now? Is there something wrong in your life you need to change?
Remember this: If you believe you're on a dead end street, you can turn around.
God will show you how to make a legal U-turn, then he will keep giving you directions through his Word, the Bible. He will gently guide you on the way you should go, and he will stick with you through traffic jams and trouble along the way.
The Holy Spirit's role is to help you change your character into that of Christ, but he needs your permission and cooperation. He knows exactly what needs to be changed and how to do it.
The choice is simple, really: unlimited help from God, or no help. Does it make sense to turn down the assistance of the most loving, most powerful being in the universe who has only your best interests at heart?
Don't make change harder than it has to be. Do it the right way. Ask God for help.
Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.