We are in the business of changing lives. We teach, nurture, correct, repair, inspire, and serve all those in our spheres of influence. This is part of adult living. And, as difficult as all these things sound on the surface, nothing is more challenging than changing ourselves.
Our lives often seem so much more complex than the lives of others. Our troubles are heavier, and our behaviors are automatic. Each day people all around us serve and lift others, but find themselves unable to make the personal progress they desire on their own short-comings. They lack self-government.
We all have short-comings. Some people are judgmental. Some people are worriers and prone to stress. Some people have short tempers or find themselves often lying to get out of social pressure. Some people aren’t happy without people around. Others really don’t like being with people. This list could go on and on. We all have things we know we need to fix about ourselves. But, we usually spend our time thinking about how we need to fix the other people around us first.
My friend said to me one day, “My husband told me I should make friends with people. I come to church and never talk to people. Then, I go home and wonder why I don’t have friends. So, my husband told me I need to talk to people.”
I love this friend! She is always so honest. She decided to follow her husband’s counsel and took deliberate action.
There are five key steps to changing your life. I usually call them “The 5 Keys Of Self-Government” when I talk to groups about learning to self govern. But, today I am going to change the name of these steps and adapt these keys to spiritual change. Both, physical self-government and spiritual self-government are essential for eternal happiness.
In fact, if a we don’t govern ourselves physically, we can damage our spirituality. And likewise, if we don’t govern ourselves spiritually, we can also corrupt our physical behaviors.
The 5 Steps For How to Change Your Life
- Who will you follow? There really are only two people to follow, either Christ or Satan. Each of us is either an agent for Christ or Satan. And sometimes, we are agents for both depending on how confused we are or what actions we take each day. Agency is not choosing if you will wear green or blue in the morning. That is choice. Agency is choosing who you will follow. Who will you be an agent for? One voice preaches truth, and one voice preaches lies. Knowing who we will follow is essential to our happiness. One voice appeals to the body and senses and the other voice appeals to the heart, or spirit. Both are strong forces and can control the brain, but only one force will actually lead the soul to happiness.
- What will you have me do? After we know who we will follow, we have declared an allegiance. Allegiance requires action. When we recognize truth, we must serve it. Willingly our hearts desire to be the instrument for our master. We assess our actions and thoughts to make sure they are in line with our allegiance. We ask daily for direction, and live with purpose doing things we have never done before so that we can be an instrument we have never been before.
- Pray in faith. Once we have identified who we are choosing to follow, and have decided to be an agent for Him, then we need to plan regularly with Him for our missions. Prayer is our opportunity to humbly express gratitude and to seek guidance from the Father. As we kneel at His feet each day and unite with Him for His purposes we are filled with the Spirit of truth, peace, purpose, and love. This prayer time is the time each day when we plan with the Father how we will change that day. Making a plan keeps us focused on our goal to change.
- Act Deliberately. This is probably the step most people fail at. There are just too many excuses for failure. We are just too comfortable with our short-comings to want to really let them go. Change requires deliberate action. Deliberate action is an action of the heart. Actions of the body are response type actions motivated by habits and senses, or feelings. These actions often happen without engaging the will, and can lead us to bondage.
Deliberate actions usually require stepping outside of our comfort zones, and are done honestly. They are the kind of actions that we usually want to tell people we have done. These actions cause people to tell things like, “I went a whole day without a cigarette!” or “Yes, I did cheat on that test.” Some of my favorite deliberate phrases are, “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “I love you,” and “Thank you.” When we deliberately say these phrases, we are never the same again.
- Surround yourself with goodness. The more goodness we surround ourselves with, the better we become. Our whole tone of living changes. We see people differently, and communicate effectively with those around us. Goodness invites more positive change, and inspires others around us to change as well. Our good feeling, which is rooted in honesty and personal transformation touches the hearts of others and drives them toward transformation too.
Changing Your Life And Others
Change is an interesting word. It evokes painful and hopeful feelings all at the same time. No wonder so many people use that word in advertizing. Just hearing the word can manipulate our emotions. But, real change isn’t emotional. Real change is spiritual. It comes from deep within our hearts and causes the strongest force we have, our will, to assert its strength and lead us toward truth and goodness. Then all who know us feel our change and hope to change too.