I found this document the other day hanging around on my computer.
I was going through one of those I-have-to-be-better-at-life-than-I-am-now and I wrote it up. I planned to hang it on my wall so it would remind me to be a better person. I would like to point out that I am NOT an athlete or beauty queen, but wanted to work on related attributes. You know.
If you want to know what it says, click here.
I thought it could help me spur change in my life. I thought if I looked at it every day, that I would remember the person I wanted to be and then I could change into that person.
Well, I never printed it out.
And I kind of stink at any element of willpower, as any human being does.
Are you like me, where you have all these great ideas of changing yourself for the better, and you try to implement them, but you kind of give up every time? It’s rotten, isn’t it? Like, I’m so tired of the taking-more-steps-forward-than-backward kind of thing. And that’s how we all feel, I think. Most of the time anyway. I’m learning, right now, something I’ve always known but I don’t think I’ve ever fully understood. So I’m coming at you not as an expert, but wanting to share what I’ve come to know so far and where I think it’s taking me.
First, it it impossible, and I mean incredibly impossible, to really change anything about yourself through willpower alone. I mean, we see all these examples of people that decided one day they were going to get in shape and now they’re beautiful, but that’s not really where we want to end (and by golly that’s still hard to accomplish, and it’s still hardly lasting – our bodies are headed for one thing and that’s decay). A change in the heart of man – by which I mean character – just can’t be done by waking up and deciding, “hey, I’m going to be a better person from now on.”
It’s only by the power of the Sovereign Creator who decided that He didn’t want us stuck in our constant muck. So after we first started messing up by trying to do it on our own (Garden of Eden anyone?), He set history in motion. He gave us the Law, a more in-depth version of our self-help books and motivational posters, which did not serve to make us better human beings but to show us that changing ourselves through willpower and through a checklist of good deeds was not possible. No matter how hard we tried.
And then, thank you Lord, He showed how to create lasting change in our lives. It wasn’t a book, it wasn’t a poster. It was a person. And all we had to do, was nothing.
We just had to accept that we knew nothing, and we were nothing. That we had messed up everything by trying to be perfect and trying to be gods. We just had to accept that we did in fact need God to even simply exist, let alone thrive, instead of saying “all I need is the right knowledge, and I can be equal to God. I can be my own god.” Adam and Eve tried that, which is what got us into this mess in the first place.
And then we had to give up everything. All our dreams, all of the people in our lives, all of our possessions. Because we trusted that this person God sent, who happened to be God Himself – just human form – would give us a thousand times more than anything we possessed, and that it would all be worth it.
And when we did that, this actively doing nothing but allowing God to fix things for us, it changed us. For once and for always.
But I forget how it all works, so I spend my time in making plans and creating lists that will, for sure, make me more fit, more skilled, and more likable.
So, I’m going to print this little piece of paper out and hang it in my office. But instead of it motivating me to do better, it will remind of all the times I tried, and failed, and hopefully remind me of where to look instead.