Several years ago, I had the privilege to teach PE to Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders. One day while leading my 2nd graders in their morning jumping jacks, a sweet little boy, who happened to be standing right in front of me, said with great innocence, "Mrs. Graham, you sure have a lot of things on you that wiggle."
Oh my! You have to love the honesty of youth! And I promise that from that day forward I did my leading from the sidelines rather than right out front!
I can remember back in high school thinking that I was fat, because I did not look like the girls in the magazines, nor did I look like some of the girls in my school. My thighs have always been...well way bigger than I would like them to be, but goodness gracious what I would give to go back to my 130 pound high school body! And now as I am creeping toward 50, it seems to be harder and harder to shed the pounds. And I am going to bet that when I reach 50, I will look back and wish I was the weight I had been in my 20's and 30's.
Isn't that just like us? When we have something we are unhappy with it, but when we no longer have it, we are wishing for it. Always wanting what we cannot have! The trouble is that often we sit around wishing, rather than taking action. I want to lose 20 pounds but ask me when I exercised last? Unless you count chasing toddlers, I would have to tell you it has been 3 weeks. And let's not even talk about what I ate yesterday! Right? So often we spend time hoping for change, and yet we are unwilling to do what is needed to bring about that change.
I spent some time today on the phone with a friend who is going through a season of change. She had called because she was lonely and was thinking about not going to church anymore because it is too hard for her to go each week and sit by herself. Now from the outside looking in, you may be able to see how counterproductive it would be to stop attending church, but she wasn't able to see it. So I asked some tough questions, "Have you talked to the pastor about how you are feeling?' "Have you tried to get involved in any groups at the church?" "Do you go up and talk to people there or do you just go and leave without trying to connect with anyone?" The questions were tough because it required her to take action rather than just wishing and hoping that someone else would do it. The hard truth is this, if you want to see change in your life, you have to be willing to MAKE changes in your life. I once heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I think that is so true.
So what area of your life would you like to see change in? What are you going to do today to change it? Here are some action tips that I have found to be helpful:
- Stop comparing! You are you, you are not anyone else, so do not expect yourself to be. When you stand before God, He is only going to ask you about you...not Suzy Skinny down the street, not Holly Homemaker from your church, not Popular Polly...you are you!
- Start with just one area at a time, if there are 4 or 5 areas of your life you would like to see changes, prioritize and start making changes in 1 area, otherwise you will be overwhelmed and end up giving up.
- Set reasonable goals. I do think we often set ourselves up for failure by setting the goal so high we could never reach it and then giving up because we are discouraged. So for example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, setting a smaller goal, maybe 2 pounds a week would be reasonable, remember you did not put on the extra weight over a 2 week period so you are not going to lose it in 2 weeks either. This is why New Year's Resolutions often fail.
- Find someone to keep you accountable, Ecclesiates 4:12 talks about how a chord of three is not easily broken. There is strength in numbers!
- Make sure the change is really necessary, are your expectations reasonable? Pray and seek God's face for the areas that He wants to be changed in your life. For example, we are suppose to take care of our "temple" but God is not honored if we are beautiful on the outside and our insides are as ugly as can be.
- Give your self some grace, change is hard. Stay in prayer and get your strength from God, surround yourself with encouragers who will cheer you along your journey, and love yourself enough to accept the times you stumble!