If you have a Facebook account, or other social media, you have probably seen all sorts of cute little framed quotes. Some we scroll past, as they do not seem applicable, and some we read and like. The one above, I saw this week, and initially, nodded, clicked like, and kept scrolling, but it stayed on on my mind. This one, I thought, was worth sharing. This is the time of year when many of us are truly interested in making change. Gym memberships are up, I would think gyms are more crowded. We resolve to start arriving at work on time; stop wasting money; start keeping a cleaner home; stop using profanity; improve relationships, etc. So many things we recognize are not right in our lives. So many things we know we need to start taking steps to change.
According to an article in USA Today, "various studies have shown that less than 10% of us are successful" in making the changes we resolve to make during the new year. The article states that there are several reasons why, one is that, "making a resolution requires zero effort as compared to actually doing it, but the brain rewards us just the same. Simply imagining ourselves doing something positive triggers the brain to release a small hit of the feel-good chemical dopamine." The article goes on to say, we have a tendency to "do things that give us short-term pleasure even at the expense of long-term harm."
Good News...If you or someone you know has resolved to get closer to God in 2018, it really doesn't matter how many steps you have taken away from God, it only requires one step to get back! That's right--one step. It wasn't God who walked away in the first place. God is right were you left Him, and He is waiting patiently for you! This is one resolution that can be resolved right now. There is no need to wrestle all year with how to make this happen, in fact, the other resolutions are more likely to happen if this one is in place first. All we have to do is decide that we need God in our lives and ask Him, with a sincere heart, to lead us through life. We would pray a prayer like the one below.
Dear God, I need you in my life. I realize that I know nothing. I realize that I am nothing without You. God, please come into my life and lead me where you would have me to go. God, I trust You and only You. I've tried it on my own and I see that it doesn't work. I am miserable. I need the peace that only You can provide. Lord, You know my heart, You know the things I want out of life, Lord I ask that You guide me and I will follow. Please, Lord, forgive me of my sins. Help me to live the life You designed just for me. Amen.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
~1 Peter 5:7 NIV
So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.
But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
~Romans 8:6 NIV
Nothing should be more encouraging than what you just read, but I wanted to share a few other things that came to mind after pondering over the words in the frame. We, as humans, can make a huge mess sometimes. When we decide to step out of God's will, oh the choices we make! We ruin relationships, we waste our money, we waste our energy, we waste our time. Yes, it is true that we can get back to God in just one step, but are there other wrongs we can at least begin to right with just one step?
Lets say we resolve to repair a relationship. Could a sincere apology jumpstart the mending process? Someone's got to bend, and it's your resolution, so...you might just have to apologize--one step! You might have to be the one to make the phone call, or the one to write the letter. One sep.
What about that resolution to stop wasting money? You could do the reverse and start saving money! And you say, "How--I'm broke because I've been wasting money!" Start with $1.00. This week you save $1, next week $2, the next week $3 by the end of the year you'll have saved $1,378. That's $1,378 you didn't waste, and it started with one step! (Since it's week 3 of 2018, you would start with $6 in the jar to catch up the first 2 weeks...)
What about that resolution to lose weight? What's one thing in your diet that you know needs to be curbed? Maybe you stop drinking sodas. Or you stop eating after 7pm. Or you stop putting 3 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee! One step could reap a great reward.
As the USA Today article stated, we have a tendency to "do things that give us short-term pleasure even at the expense of long-term harm." Yes, change is hard, but if you've have already identified a change that needs to happen, you must think the change will be beneficial. What one step can you make to get started? Most familiar translations of the Bible state Psalm 23:1 as "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." In the NLT translation, Psalm 23:1 is stated as, "The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need." Sheep and humans share the tendency to stray, which is why we both NEED a shepherd. We can have the Lord as our shepherd, in just one step. If we take that step, and it is our own decision to make, we have all that we need.
Please share your thoughts, comments, reflections, below. What one step will you take?
Thank you for reading!
Have a wonderful week!
Copyright 2018 Kimberly Griffith Massey
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.