Think back to a moment in your life when you felt stuck. Maybe you were physically stuck in a city you didn’t like or a home you couldn’t appreciate. Maybe you were emotionally stuck in a state of anxiety or depression. In whatever way you felt stuck, remember that moment.
Now, remember whether or not you gave yourself the opportunity to change. This is essential, because you do have the opportunity to change. You can change anything in your life.
Little children have no problem choosing what they want or what they’d like to change. They go into a toy store and say, “I want that!” But as adults, we have been conditioned to go with the flow. We have learned not to be disruptive and not to change our environment. We have been trained to accept whatever life brings our way.
We should channel our inner child and allow ourselves to experience desire so that we are motivated to change. Even God is excited to see how you will respond, what you will change, and how you will live out your calling!
As I’ve thought through the need for change (and the popular resistance of that need), I’ve discovered that there are several reasons we do not change. These are barriers standing in the way of our ability to change our lives as needed.
What stands in the way of change?
1. Your Belief Strongholds
The meaning of the word stronghold is a castle or a fortress. There may be castles and fortresses in your mind that need to be demolished in order for you to achieve change. The castles are hindering beliefs that have formed in your mind that are wrong or disabling.
These hindering beliefs may be about God, about yourself, or about your circumstances. If you want to experience true change, you must start demolishing the strongholds in your mind.
How are these beliefs formed? Well, your thoughts + your feelings = your beliefs.
An example would be, “I do not deserve to have the best” or “Other family members are better than me.” Thought + Feeling = Belief.
To demolish these strongholds and achieve change, you must realize first that you are not the victim. And second, you must admit the strongholds you are believing. Only then will you be able to demolish the castle standing in your way of change.
2. Your Past Experiences
Many people are hesitant to change because they are still living by what they know from the past. In fact, many of your hindering beliefs from number 1 above may have originated in your past.
An example of a hindering past experience would be if someone treated you poorly at work in the past, you may always expect to be treated poorly by this person in the future. The belief may become so strong that you begin to think other people at work will treat you poorly.
The trick to achieving change is to dump out the old files – the hindering experiences – and replace them with positive memories. Before David went out to fight Goliath, he reminded himself of memories that would enable, rather than disable, him. “Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them…” (1 Samuel 17) He focused on positive past experiences in order to be victorious.
3. Your Current Environment
Finally, your current environment has a huge impact on your ability to achieve change. The hindering beliefs and the negative past experiences cannot live when you place yourself in the right environment.
Sometimes, you have to be willing to interrupt your normal and move to a new environment – mentally or physically. When you feel the need for a change, ask yourself these questions about your life and your environment.
- What am I thankful for in my life right now?
- What am I excited about in my life right now?
- What am I committed to in my life right now?
- What gives me the greatest joy?
The environment of your mind is influenced and governed by the questions you ask. To change your mental environment, ask yourself the right questions – questions that will lead you to change.
At the beginning, I asked you to envision a past barrier – a moment in your life when you felt stuck. Now I want to encourage you to think of a current barrier. What in your life needs to change? And why are you resisting the necessary change?
Is it a belief stronghold, a past experience, or your current environment? These are some key inhibitors to change, but it could be something else entirely.
Spend some time thinking through a current barrier. Take a step and make a change!
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