Sarah jumps out of bed when the alarm goes off, ready to conquer the day. It’s Monday, and over the weekend, she decided it was time to beat her weaknesses (again).
She takes off her pajamas and puts on gym clothes. While tying her shoes, she remembers she needs to take the chicken off the fridge. Yesterday she planned her meals for the week based on the new diet app she downloaded on Saturday.
She gets out of her car in front of the gym with a pep to her step.
“Today is the day,” she says! No more procrastinating. She will shed these 50 pounds, no matter what it takes.
She finishes her workout and smiles at her activity tracker. Three hundred calories burned in an hour! “Ata, girl!” she announces. “You got this!”
She comes home, eats a healthy breakfast, and starts her workday. Four meetings in less than three hours. It’s going to be a stressful one.
By mid-afternoon, Sarah gets up from her desk after a heated conversation with a vendor. She walks to the pantry and stares at the chocolate chip cookies. She hesitates and finally caves in after a couple of minutes.
“One cookie,” she says. “It’s fine; I burned the calories.”
It’s the end of the workday, and Sarah looks down at the empty cookie bag, defeated.
Feelings of inadequacy and frustration overwhelm her, as self-deprecating thoughts inundate her mind the rest of the day. She finishes the night as she did for the past several months – mindlessly watching TV while filling the void with popcorn and ice cream.
“Lord, why am I so weak?” she prays as she lies in bed. “Forgive me, Lord, I promised I’d take better care of the body you gave me, and I failed again.”
Even though she’s a fictional character, I believe “Sarah” is a good representation of countless people who struggle to make lasting change, whether that means breaking bad habits or starting good ones.
One of the reasons I know this is the large number of books available on the subject.
It is an innate desire of every human being to succeed. Therefore, there is something empowering and refreshing about overcoming a weakness or starting and finishing a new project simply because we were able to develop new, healthy habits that allowed us to progress through hurdles along the way.
A new book, “The Power to Change,” by New York Times bestselling author and pastor Craig Groeschel, offers a fresh understanding of why we may have difficulty building new habits and breaking bad ones.
His book proposes that lasting change happens when we focus on “who” instead of “do.” With an insightful blend of biblical wisdom and psychology, Groeschel starts by suggesting that we often struggle to make lasting changes because we do not fully grasp our identity as children of God.
He invites the readers to evaluate how they think of themselves and their view of God and then proposes that lasting change will only happen when we see the process as training instead of “trying harder.”
Training accepts failure and embraces grace. Trying harder invites judgment because it focuses solely on performance and results.
Training is God’s way of teaching. Trying harder is what we do when we emphasize our own abilities or lack thereof and leave God, his power and grace out of the picture.
“Sarah” needs more than a plan. She needs more than self-discipline. What she needs, and what you and I ultimately need to experience lasting transformation that will impact our future, is a paradigm change:
We are not disappointments when we fail. We are God’s beloved children, empowered by him, whose grace always invites us to get up and do it again.
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” King Solomon, Proverbs 23:7
Connect with Craig Groeschel at www.craiggroeschel.com. For Patricia’s interview with him, search God-Sized Stories with Patricia Holbrook on all podcast platforms and YouTube.
Patricia Holbrook is a columnist, author, podcaster and international speaker. Website: www.soaringwithHim.com. For speaking engagements and comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org