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Just Do It!
It's Monday morning, and I'm tired. I haven't been sleeping well, and it's driving me crazy. But I am trying to wake up by getting some thoughts down that have been running through my head all weekend.

Religion is a great motivator for change. When we honestly know God, and want to do what He asks us to do, we're far more likely to head in the right direction.

But within religion, and especially the Protestant stream of it, there's a danger to the over-spiritualization of problems. Let me explain what I mean.

Let's say that you're struggling with gambling or something. You go to a church and you hear a great message on how we need to repent of any sin we're committing and get right with God. We're touched. We feel that God is calling us. And so we go to the altar and we hand it over to God.

Then what?

I think there's a reason that Alcoholics Anonymous has been so successful with helping people defeat addictions, and why churches often refer people there. They don't ONLY spiritualize the problem (although the spiritual is a big part of the treatment); they also give you very practical steps of what you should do.

I'm thinking about this in relation to a marriage conference that my husband and I are teaching at in three weeks. It seems to me that quite often at these types of conferences you hear a lot of talks on how marriage is not about what you want; it's about what God wants. You need to put your spouse's needs first. You need to love your spouse. You need to forgive your spouse. And it's a moving experience.

But Christianity is not just about getting our hearts right; it's about walking, everyday, in little steps that get us in the right direction. And I think God would rather have one individual who struggled with her marriage but who made concrete steps to love her husband more than one who completely surrendered her marriage but didn't make any real practical change.

The problem is that too often, within the church, we focus on the heart change, and not the foot change. We look at how our hearts must line up to God, but we fail to give people hope of how their feet can start walking in a different path.

I'm not saying the heart change isn't important; and I do believe people can often change simply because of a heart change, because the Holy Spirit directs you. But let's face it: often the reason we get in ruts, whether it's in our marriage, or with alcoholism, or with watching too much TV, or with being on the computer too much, or with failing to relate to one of our children, is because we develop habits that are counterproductive to how we should be living. And habits are very difficult things to break, even if you have had a heart change.

In order to break them, you need to develop different habits. You need to change your walk, and not just your talk.

That's one thing I really try to focus on in my books and in this blog; I do believe the heart and head change come first. When we get ourselves right with God, and start looking at our lives through His eyes, we're now pointed in the right direction. But just because you're pointed there doesn't mean you're going to move forward unless some small things change.

And they can be small things. They don't have to be big ones. If God is working on one area of your life with you, then let me suggest something: ask what SMALL changes you can make today to make yourself go in the right direction. It doesn't have to be a huge thing. Often, small things add up and change the focus of our lives. If you're battling with TV or computer time, for instance, why not simply try developing a habit that every night, after dinner, you take a 15 minute walk to connect with your family? If you're battling with loving your husband, why not find one small thing you can do for him everyday, just to show him that you love him. If you're battling with your weight, why not change to a lower fat version of milk and cheese?

It's not rocket science. But too often, when we struggle, I think we focus on the heart rather than the feet--as in where we're going. We fall again into the same trap, and we end up praying that God will stop us from going there, when maybe what we need to do is stop praying for the right ATTITUDE and simply start praying that God will give us a new HABIT. I think we expect ourselves to magically change when all the pieces of our lives are still exactly the same. It doesn't work that way. Change a few small pieces, and suddenly life becomes a bit easier.

So we're at the beginning of a new week, and that's the challenge I want to leave with you: what is God working on you primarily about? Is it time management? Addictions? Food? Your relationships? Whatever it is, pray that God will give you a new attitude. But most importantly, pray that God will show you one small change you can make to get you going in the right direction. And then just do it. Life will be so much better!

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At 9:44 AM , Anonymous Melinda said…

Just this morning I was just reading Daniel 10:12 where it says that Daniel set his mind to gain understanding. He decided to just do it - and God blessed.

Made me start questioning what areas I need to set my mind to do - what areas does He want to change in me?


At 10:19 AM , Blogger Timmy Boyle said…

When I read today's post, I wanted to immediately comment, but I decided to pray about it first.

After an hour of deep reflection, I now feel that my motives and attitude are in the right place. I feel free to tell you what's been on my heart.

"Good blog".


At 10:22 AM , Blogger Shana said…

Thank you so much. All of your posts seem to touch my heart in one way or another. I need this blog and I am so thankful God ut you in my line of vision.


At 11:38 AM , Blogger Laura said…

Good post.


At 3:01 PM , Blogger Tessa said…

Loved this blog. Small steps are way less scary than making big monumental life changes.

I'm trying to make small, simple changes to overcoming my laziness (or mistaken priorities/time management, whatever you want to call it.) Something simple like clearing off the table completely after breakfast and wiping off the crumbs. It makes me feel like I accomplised something early on in my day and a lot of times I'm able to take is one step further by cleaning up my kitchen as well.


At 3:53 PM , Blogger Laura said…

I just love this!


At 9:52 PM , Blogger sarahe said…

Love it! Thank you for always talking about the practical ways to handle life issues. It is so encouraging!


At 10:28 PM , Blogger shale said…

Perfect! This is actually a Word for me...not in terms of my marriage so much as it is other ways we're spending (or not spending) our time. I have a good idea for how to begin doing better starting tomorrow. Thanks!


At 11:00 AM , Blogger Me, Myself and Pie said…

I just found your blog, and I'm glad I did. What a great post. So true and so good to hear. I'm definitely going to start following.

By the way, I love your blog name!


At 11:07 AM , Anonymous Kiesha @ Highly Favored said…

You are so right - we often try to be so spiritual at time that we forget the practical. I'm guilty, I have habits, but everyday is a new day. One that I can take new, even if small steps in the right direction. I know this, but hearing it again really really helps. Thanks! You always offer such profound, yet practical suggestions.


At 1:52 AM , Anonymous Muriel said…

Good post!!
For me it is forgiveness at the moment. How do I not only forgive in my heart, but also but that into positive action towards the person that hurt me.
You really hit the right spot for me personally. Amazing how God works!!


At 10:52 PM , Anonymous Marie said…

Thank you for this post. This post reminded me to start small and focus on one thing at a time. I like that "pray for a new habit." I enjoy your blog so much.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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