As you begin the new year, are you ready for a change, a new direction in life? Do you want to live the life that up until now you’ve only dreamed of, yet haven’t been sure where to start? While many New Year’s resolutions fail, it is possible to make changes to your life that will stick. Here are four steps to help you begin doing just that.
- Give the Word First Place
If you want to make big changes in your life, then the first place you need to start is with God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12 tells us just how powerful the Word of God is: “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
If you are on the cusp of making an important decision—a new job, a healthier lifestyle, a different address, a new church—what better place to begin than with the tool that God has given that “exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” God knows you better than you know yourself. He knows the decision you are about to make and what the outcome will be. He knows what will bring joy into your life and what will bring sadness. And through His Word, He wants to reveal His will for you.
Before you make any life-changing decision, consult His Word. Spend time in it, meditating on it, and trust that your heavenly Father will use it to help you make the best possible decision.
- Pray and Fast
Just as you will want to seek the Lord in His Word, you also want to seek Him in prayer and fasting. Several times in the Old and New Testaments, God’s people sought His wisdom and direction through prayer and fasting. Consider these verses:
- “So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” –Ezra 8:23
- “When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.” –Nehemiah 1:4
- “One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.’ So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.” –Acts 13:2-3
In each of these examples, God worked through His people as they fasted and prayed. Ezra and Nehemiah were asking God for direction and help as they led the Israelites back to Israel and rebuilt the wall around the city of Jerusalem. In Acts, the leaders of the Church came together to send Barnabas and Saul out for one of the first historic missionary journeys. All three of these examples (and there are more throughout Scripture) point to the importance of prayer and fasting in the face of monumental decisions and plans.
- Start Small
While some decisions require immediate, grand steps like moving across the country or changing jobs, other decisions can take a slower approach. Changes like a healthier lifestyle, with a new exercise routine or eating plan, require small steps to help the habits stick. For example, if you want to give up caffeine in the new year, you might need to cut back before you completely eliminate it from your diet. And nothing sabotages an exercise program faster than overdoing it at first. Instead, start small. If regular exercise hasn’t been part of your life at all, then begin with a walk before breakfast (outside or at your local indoor mall) or after dinner with your spouse, children or neighbor.
Small changes can also help kick-start larger endeavors, like starting a new business or finishing your education. Completely upending your life may not be possible with family commitments and bills to pay, but you can probably carve out some time to network, learn about e-commerce or take your first online class. Over time, these small steps add up to great changes.
- Study, Learn, Prepare
“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper” (Proverbs 13:4). Often, there’s no easy shortcut to the things that really matter. Do you want to write a book? Change careers? Improve your marriage? These are all things that require diligence. You cannot continue doing the same things day in and day out and expect different results. Instead, you must apply yourself. You must make the decision every day to act on your dreams.
- Want to write a book? Then find a writers’ group in your area or attend a writers’ conference. Read a book on writing or sign up for an online mentorship program.
- Want to change careers? Study what that would require. Certification? Networking? Retraining? Discover the process and then make it happen.
- Want to improve your marriage? Attend a marriage seminar. Read a marriage book. Make an appointment with a counselor.
Find out what you need to do to have the life you dream of. Make a list, schedule it on your planner, and then diligently work to fulfill those plans.
2017 can be your year—the year for a new life. Begin implementing these steps today: Study the Word, pray and fast, start small, and remain diligent. Then trust the Lord to lead you in exactly what you should do. If you need someone to agree in faith with you during this season of transition, we’re here for you! Call the KCM Prayer Line at 1-817-852-6000, or click here to submit your prayer request online. One of our prayer ministers would be excited to pray with you as you stand for your new life in the new year!
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