25 July, 2009

To Change or Not to Change... That is the Question

A friend recently sent me an email that related a story about how a letter was returned to the Post Office. Handwritten on the front of the envelope were the words, "He's dead." Somehow through one of those blunders that the postal service is famous for, the letter was again sent to the same address. Once again it was returned to the Post Office with yet another message written in bold read letters: "He's still dead!"

When I got this email, of course I had a little chuckle, but then I began to think about how this symbolizes how so many people resist change. Even though we know the way we've always done things "is dead" or not working anymore, we still have an inner desire to keep doing what we've always done. Many times we even desire to improve or grow, but the sad fact is that we don't want to pay the price for it. And that's a problem, because we will never become what God intends us to be by remaining what we are. The truth is, it's not enough to be open to change, we need to pursue it.

If you're serious about changing your life, Dr John Maxwell says: "Don't just change enough to get away from your problems - change enough to solve them. Don't change your circumstances to improve your life - change yourself to improve your circumstances. Don't do the same old things expecting different results - get different results by doing something new. Don't see change as something hurtful that must be done - see it as something helpful that can be done. Don't avoid paying the immediate price tag of change - if you do, you will pay the ultimate price of never improving."
James writes: "When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing" (Jam 1:3-4 NLT).

True change which builds character is a slow process. It doesn't just happen, but rather comes about day-by-day as we work on those issues. Many people try to escape life's difficulties and they short-circuit the process of change, which delays growth, and they end up with a worse kind of pain; that being the worthless type of pain that accompanies denial and avoidance.

People tell me pretty regularly that they need to change, but again I say, it is not enough to be open to change; you must pursue it!

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