By: Jocelyn Green, author of Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. We are giving away 3 copies of Faith Deployed today! Read on for details…
When do most people commit to make a change in their lives? Other than right after a brush with death, which is pretty hard to top as far as motivators go, I’d venture to say it would be right now—January.
This is the month of New Year’s resolutions, fresh calendars, and good intentions. But the energy and optimism characterizing the beginning of the month soon fades, as 88% of New Year’s Resolutions fail, according to a December 2010 survey.
Why? Because change is hard.
Change hurts, even when it doesn’t harm
One of my favorite memoirs is Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places (Zondervan) by Leeana Tankersley. She wrote this book based on her first year of marriage to a Navy SEAL. They married in San Diego and eight days later forged a new beginning together in Bahrain. The changes she experienced were just as drastic in her own spirit as it was in her surroundings. I love how she describes it:
“Change is horribly uncomfortable. Like the wrong pair of jeans, change pinches and squeezes in the most inconvenient places. A lot of wriggling and writhing is involved. Maybe even some sucking in and prone posturing. Just when you think you’ve fit in, you realize you’re spilling over the top and sides in the worst way. Very, very little ease.” (Found Art, p. 19)
Strangely enough, even when change will be good for us, it can still be hard. Remember the story about Moses calling down all sorts of awful plagues on Pharaoh in order to convince him to release the Israelites from slavery? The second plague was frogs. Exodus 8 tells us that they came up out of the water and covered the land. Pharaoh pleaded with Moses to ask God to make them go away.
“Moses said to Pharaoh, ‘Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.’ And [Pharaoh] said, ‘Tomorrow.’” -Exodus 8:9,10
Tomorrow? Really? If it were me, I’m pretty sure I would have said, “Right now!” Wouldn’t you?
Bad habits can become our pets
The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly why Pharaoh wanted to keep the swarming, slimy frogs around that night. Did he think they were cute? The decision is shocking to me. But perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from the frogs and how they relate to the changes we need to make in our own lives.
How many times have you thought about a bad habit you’d like to break or a new discipline you’d like to develop in yourself, but decided to put it off? I know I’ve done this more often than I’d care to admit. For some reason, even if we know our habits (frogs) are bad for us, it’s easier to keep them around than to make a change. Maybe, just maybe, those little frogs start to seem like pets after a while. Could it be that after we’ve had our habits for some time, we don’t mind them anymore?
The new beginnings that happen to us, we can’t do much about. The new beginnings which happen within us, however—those are completely up to us.
If there’s something you need to change in your own life, don’t wait until next January rolls around to make a New Year’s resolution. Don’t spend one more night with the frogs, like Pharaoh did. Ask God to help you (claim Philippians 4:13!). Make that change and watch as a new beginning –a very positive one—emerges for you.
A big thanks to our readers for making the first week of our launch party such a blast! Come back next week for more giveaways and a chance to win an iPod Touch! Today we’re giving away 3 copies of Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives by Jocelyn Green, and it’s also the LAST DAY to enter to win the Kindle 3G, just surf over to this post for details.
Here’s how you can enter to win Faith Deployed… Entries must be received by tonight at midnight CST, and winners will be selected randomly and notified via email.
1) Comment below to answer the question: What new beginnings are you looking forward to this year? What changes do you expect and how will you make it through them?
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Jocelyn Green is an award-winning freelance journalist, author, editor and blogger. She is the author of Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and co-author of Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan. Her next book, Faith Deployed . . . Again, will be released by Moody Publishers in August. Jocelyn’s Web site www.faithdeployed.com provides ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide. She is also the editor of www.WivesinBloom.com, the online magazine for Christian Military Wives. She lives with her husband and two preschool-aged children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.