I’ve wondered often, “What causes people to resist making changes that would improve their life dramatically?”
We listen to couples tell long tales of conflict in their marriage. The original offense may have happened on their honeymoon. After years of fighting they are ready to divorce. They don’t really want to know what would improve their marriage. They just want out! Others don’t want to divorce, but they want us to tell their spouse how bad they are. Some come to unload their garbage because it is overflowing, but don’t want to know how to stop collecting it.
We have friends and colleagues who keep repeating self-destructive behaviors. We know how much better their lives would be if they would make a small adjustment. Sometimes if they set a boundary they would not be so used up and fall sick so often. Sometimes making an agenda would mean they could get everything completed without staying up late, night after night.
We have a strong human penchant for resisting change. We believe what we see. What we see may be an illusion, but we are convinced we are seeing reality. We justify ourselves and blame others. Jealousy and shame, guilt and vengeance all live in our sinful, stubborn human hearts.
It is far easier to continue as we are than to make a change. If a doctor tells us two or three changes in our way of life that will reduce our risks of serious illness, we find it hard to make those changes. We would far rather he prescribe a pill we could take once a day to repair the damage it’s taken us years to cause.
I don’t have answers to everyone’s troubles. I can’t change anyone else’s mind. I can only change myself. Do I want to change things in my own life that would make my life more fruitful or more pleasant?
If I’m going to see change in my life, there are a few basic things I must believe.
- I must believe God knows all about me and knows what would make my life better.
- I must believe He has my best interests at heart. When He says something is dangerous for me, I must believe Him.
- He gave me His Spirit to teach me and guide me, comfort and help me. I don’t have to do it all alone.
The big changes in my life all came as a result of God opening my eyes to what was wrong in my own life. He then showed me what to do, like repent or forgive or trust. I need to believe that if he tells me to do something, it is possible for me to do it. He is willing to help, but He wants me to choose to do it.
Those are all fundamental to changing our attitude about change. We also have people in our lives to help us change.
When an enemy points out a fault, it is easy to discount what they say. But when a close friend points out something, we should take it to heart. I think there are a few ways to respond to a friend’s comments.
- Do I really do that? Often?
- Why is it wrong or bad (if we really don’t know)?
- What is a better or right way to do it?
- I’ve never done it any other way. How do I even start to change?
We don’t often talk like that, even to our best friends. But if these attitudes and questions are stirred in our heart, we will begin to see how change is possible.
Take a moment to consider:
Psalm 16:11 says, “ You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” God doesn’t leave us on our own to figure out life, He will instruct us either through His Word or through people He sends our way.
Is there a change in your life that you are resistant to change? Has God been nudging you to change something in your life? Has a friend pointed out a change they would like to see in your life? Why not ask God to help you make the change? Why not ask your friend to walk with you as you change in this area of your life.
There is freedom and joy in letting go.