Every year around this time the same thing happens. People think about all the things they want to change, the bad habits they want to drop and the new and exciting things they want to do. I think that’s a great thing. However, most people give up on those resolutions after about 2 or 3 weeks, then it’s back to life as usual… until December rolls around again.
Sorry for being depressing, but that’s the reality. That said, there is some good news. Very good news, in fact.
I’ve discovered something truly amazing and… well…miraculous!
If you walk with God daily, you genuinely want to change and you make the firm decision to do whatever it takes to change, God responds to that and that’s when the miracle happens.
Before I gave my life to Christ, I was a partier. In my twenties, I went out drinking with my friends just about every weekend. It was just what everyone did. The path I was on led to a lot of mistakes, pain and heartache. But I was so blind that it never even occurred to me that I didn’t have to drink or do all the things that people in the world do.
After I came to Christ, I remember thinking to myself, “Now that I’m a Christian, I’ll just limit myself to 2 drinks. That way I won’t get drunk, but I’ll still be able to enjoy going out with my friends.” That strategy might work for others, but it didn’t work so well for me.
My “2 drink policy” failed on a particularly horrible night in November of 2003. After a couple very tall beers, a friend of mine bought a round of shots for everyone, and things went downhill from there. I was no longer in control. Something very bad happened that night, which is a story for another time, but for now I’ll just say that it ended up being a big wake up call for me.
The pain that God allowed me to go through was enough to snap me out of my foolish mindset – the idea that I could be a Christian yet still act like everyone else in the world.
No, God wanted my whole heart, and that meant obeying Him. His word says that those who love Him obey Him. (John 14:23)
After that happened, I made the firm decision to stop drinking completely. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since. That was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made.
True change comes when we simply surrender to God and allow Him to transform us.
I don’t believe that God forces change on us. That’s why we all grow spiritually at different paces….which leads me to another example.
Even though my life changed drastically in several ways, I still had a lot of bad habits and terrible self-discipline. Especially when it came to my physical health and doing things I don’t like to do.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I never got in the habit of regular exercise. I’ve never been athletic, and I always hated exercising, unless it was something fun, like dance or maybe swimming.In addition to not exercising, I had poor eating habits. I think I’ve been addicted to sugar, for most of my life. My friends know that my favorite drink was Coke, and you could always find me with a Coke in my hand, as you can see in the photo to your right.
Fast forward to this year, 2014. After years of being inactive, not exercising and not eating right, I finally woke up this year and realized that I just couldn’t continue the way I was going.
Because of the work I do, I’m on the computer constantly, always indoors, always sitting and not moving around much. I was eating lots of processed foods, lots of junk and not enough fruits and vegetables. I was fueling myself on coffee and sugar, everyday.
I was able to get away with those bad habits for a long time, because in the past I had the opposite problem that most people have… I was always underweight. But it finally caught up to me. This year, for the first time in my life (believe it or not) my belly grew, as well as my hips. But more importantly, my health was deteriorating. I had constant fatigue, very little strength and I knew that if I didn’t change my ways, I would end up with diabetes…or maybe something worse.
I started researching nutrition, and reading a lot about sugar and which diet is the healthiest. The more I looked into it, the more I wanted to make this change, and I realized that I needed to change not only my eating habits but my entire lifestyle.
So I finally made the decision to get healthy and stay healthy.
Last year I prayed about my lack of self-discipline. I asked God to change me, but at that time I wasn’t quite ready or determined to do whatever it takes.
God knows our hearts. He knows when we merely say we want to change, and when we truly want to change. When we truly want to change, we give God the green light to work in us, and that’s what happened with me not long ago, in the area of my physical health and self-discipline.
It has been amazing. God opened my eyes and showed me that changing my daily habits will change my life. I’ve learned that He cares about not only our soul and spirit, but our bodies too. Remember, if you are a follower of Christ, you are a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
To others, this might not sound like a big deal, but this mindset change for me is huge. Remember, I was the person who never exercised or ate right, and although I was thin, I was out of shape. (Yes, it’s possible to be thin yet have no muscle.)
What have I done? I cut out all processed foods. I quit refined sugar and caffeine. I’ve been eating fresh, whole foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables. And I’ve been drinking tons of water.
And I’ve only just begun! I am determined to get in shape. I started working out regularly, and for me that has been the most challenging part – even more challenging than changing my diet.
I’m drawing a red ‘X’ on my calendar, every day I work out, and just crossing off another X is satisfying!
This is not a New Year’s resolution.
This is a lifestyle change. A mindset change. A surrender to God, to allow Him to transform me and teach me self-discipline. Not only in the area of my physical health, but self-discipline overall…and self-improvement overall.
I’ve thought about why this realization didn’t happen sooner. I think it’s important to say that this mindset shift came after over a year of applying myself to learning and getting closer to God, as you can read about in this post from last year.
So 2014 was a year of learning, soaking up knowledge and wisdom, growing and preparing for what is to come. That investment has paid off, without a doubt! With my new mindset, new habits and new determination, I’m ready now to bear fruit!
So, I’m really looking forward to 2015 and the future in general. I have some exciting plans about a big creative project, but I’ll share that in another post!
Do you want changes in your life that are deeper and more lasting than the usual short-lived New Year’s resolutions? You can be transformed. I believe anyone can.
Join me in this adventure. Allow God to transform you from the inside out, by making the firm decision to go to the next level.
You will grow and blossom into the person you were created to be.
And that’s a beautiful and miraculous thing!