Do you want to change your life? And just exactly how do you change your life? Is it through dramatic decisions and New Years Resolutions, or, is it through small and gradual changes? Is it through powerful encounters with God and dramatic interventions? Or, is it through simple baby steps?
In today’s podcast, I talk about how we can bring about meaningful changes in our life…
(So be sure to listen to the full podcast episode show above)
During this COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve probably all found ourselves doing some home renovations. After all, we don’t have too much else to do. So, if we are all going to have to stay home, we might as well make it look nicer.
My wife and I have been no exception to this. But most of our renovations have been small. We’ve made changes to our front porch. Changes to our back porch. Repainting a wall. Changing the flooring in the laundry room. Changing our security system. Removing a couple bushes. Change some light fixtures. Add up everything over time, and these small changes really begin to add up.
Making Big Changes?!?!
Our lives should resemble this if we really wish to grow as people. It’s been my experience in life that the most meaningful changes are the small decisions you make that add up over time. And it’s the big over the top decisions, like New Years resolutions, that tend to fail miserably.
For many years I was involved in the Pentecostal wing of the church. And in my heart I’m still very much Pentecostal in my basic theology and approach to my relationship with God.
There are many great things about Pentecostalism that I love. But one’s approach to personal spiritual growth I always found a tad bit unhealthy. The heavy emphasis on dramatic conversion experiences, responding to the crisis level feverish preaching of a preacher at an altar call, and the subsequent dramatic experiences of being filled or slain in the Spirit… these things were well meaning, but sometimes, just… off.
That’s not to say God didn’t do some amazing things in folks lives through these things. Thankfully God is bigger than our methods.
How We Make Real Change
But such things aren’t in keeping with how we typically grow as humans. While we sometimes make deep emotional powerful decisions in our lives, and have powerful life altering encounters with God, most of us make meaningful changes thru a slow and gradual burn, not by lighting a forest on fire.
It’s the small “baby steps” (if I can borrow the philosophy of the movie ‘What About Bob’ with Bill Murray) we take that make the most impact and really begin to add up over time. And while sometimes a full gut rehab, where we take a home down to the studs might be necessary, such is usually only necessary because we’ve let the little things go for far too long.
Homes usually don’t become trash heaps overnight. We don’t usually get into massive amounts of debt all at once. The same goes with getting fat. Most of us get into the predicaments we are in because of small incremental choices that compound and add up over many years. So why do we think that fixing our problems and personal growth is going to happen dramatically overnight?
The greatest changes we make in our lives are the incremental changes we add to our lives over time. You didn’t learn to walk overnight. You started by struggling to bump around on the floor, learning to crawl, and taking small gradual steps wherein we learned to slowly walk over time. Likewise, we are not going to solve our lives problems by making big changes.
Just as we got fat over many months and years, it may take many months and years to shed those pounds. The same goes with paying off debt. Or, frankly, anything else. We lose weight by carefully watching what we eat over time and exercising. We get out of debt by gradually paying more than we owe over time (like with Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps” program).
It’s the slow gradual changes, the baby steps that we make, that will help us flourish in every area of our life. Whether it is in becoming more like Jesus, losing weight, or paying down our debts. And those changes tend to be the one’s that last the longest, as they are decisions that we make that become part of our personal values, and way of life.