photo by marco michelini

life changes come
as they do.

some come out of the blue
because life shifted
in unexpected ways
and you have to quickly learn
how to be
in the new reality.

but others are planned.
like a new year’s resolution,
some life changes are ones that we instigate.

so why do we shoot ourselves in the foot?

why do we try to change every single thing in our life
all at the same time?
my guilt in this
is as much or more than the next person.

i want change
and i want it now
all at the same time
so that tomorrow
everything looks
completely and entirely different.

after all,
God created the world in six days,
i can do a little life change overnight, right?

there’s an oft-overlooked part of the creation story we would be wise to note:

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.  God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.  And there was evening and there was morning, one day.  Then God said…”  –Genesis 1:3-6a

did you see it?
God could have created everything all in one day.

check out the transition from verse 5 to verse 6 again:

“…there was evening and there was morning, one day.  Then God said…”

even God took a break at the end of the day.
He could have created everything all at one time.
instead, He took one thing at a time,
portioned it between days,
and took an entire week.

Sabbath isn’t just for the end of the week.
God portioned His work
into days.

so can we.

when it is time to change my life,
i find much more success,
and more lasting success,
when i portion out the changes.

a little over two months ago,
i decided to focus on my health
as an area of change.
i had allowed stress to rule my heart and mind for nearly a decade,
and the physical manifestations were vast.

but
for the first time in that same decade,
i finally admitted that i couldn’t make all the changes at once.

i started with my perspective.
i first started re-programming my heart and mind
by washing them both in the Word,
re-learning how to trust God in all things.
re-learning how to truly be anxious for nothing.

once those new patterns were established,
i started an exercise program.
yet even though the program recommended diet changes at the same time,
i knew myself better than that.
disciplining my body is one thing.
trying to make structure changes in my nutrition
would create a feeling of being trapped,
and i knew i would rebel.

so for six weeks, i focused on keeping the new perspective
and establishing exercise habits to strengthen my body.

and only now
am i ready
to re-structure my food.

yes, i had a melt-down at the slowness of the changes,
and fighting the feeling that the overnight changes i truly desired
didn’t come overnight.

but i have seen changes.
i have seen results.
and because i slowly integrated the new,
i know it is an approach that will last longer
than the innumerable flashes in the pan i have seen over the last decade.

rather than trying to overhaul everything at once,
try one new thing.
work at that one thing until it becomes a mindless habit.
THEN, and only then,
add something else.
work to keep both the new things running until BOTH become mindless habits.
THEN you can add a third.
(because if the first derails with the addition of the second, adding a third will derail both the first and second)

keep on keeping on.
time will pass.
do not settle for a flash in the pan.
make life-long changes,
one at a time,
and in no time at all
you will see the new person you desired all along.
and the joy will be
that it all become mindless habit that you don’t have to think about.

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