By Dr. David B. Hawkins, Crosswalk.com
Do you want change in your marriage? If you’re like most of us, you want change but don’t really want to work for it. For as much as we want change, many of us are lazy about change. We want it to magically come to us.
In addition to our laziness, we want others to be the change we want in our lives. We see the weakness in others, noting their contribution to our problems, while generally letting ourselves off the hook. We blame others for our distress, all the while resisting change ourselves.
It is easy to blame others for our distress. We can clearly see what others are doing to us, but have a much more difficult time seeing our role in the problem.
I receive dozens of emails every day from people complaining about their circumstances. People from every walk of life, with every problem imaginable. People suffering from marital infidelity, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling and sexual addiction, as well as emotional abuse in marriage.
What are you doing to actively change your problems? While it is good to pray about your problems, and to trust in God, it is also critical to apply the wisdom God offers to our situation.
Solomon says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight… Preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life to you.” (Proverbs 3:5-6; 21)
This is powerful counsel. The Lord promises to give us wisdom and understanding in regard to our life direction. But, we must take action. Complaining about your situation will not help matters. Rehearsing all the wrongs that have been done to you only breeds resentment and acrimony. Seeing yourself as the helpless victim is not what God wants for you.
Taking responsibility for your part in troubling matters is empowering, however, is also very challenging. It is far easier to settle into playing the role of helpless victim. It takes tremendous courage to note how you enable a destructive process, and then, using God’s wisdom, make changes.
We cannot simply pray for wisdom and then not take action. God expects us to face our problems, learn from them, and deal with them. When we attempt to dodge our problems, blaming them on others (including Satan,) we don’t learn important lessons. In fact, blame allows us to remain the same and simply repeat problems.
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is one definition of insanity. The Apostle Paul advises us to “put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5) We are to be changed inwardly, becoming Christ-like in all ways. This inner transformation changes how we face problems and how we interact with others.
Consider these action steps in order to bring about change in your life:
First, make sure you have the right heart attitude. Rather than complain about external problems, our first course of action must be to make sure we have the right heart attitude. A heart filled with bitterness will not lead us to positive change.
Second, seek wisdom regarding your problems. When our lives become chaotic, we must seek wisdom regarding how those problems entered our lives. Are we living a Godly life? Are we seeking, and applying the wisdom we receive?
Third, focus on your life and your contribution to your problems. Rather than focus on what others are doing, are we first inspecting our lives? When we realize that change begins with us, our external focus begins to change. God changes how we relate to others. Our lives become more orderly and peaceful.
Fourth, note the inspiration you are to others. As you lead the way in changing, you actually get out of the way for others to change. Those whom you have been trying to change give up their resistance to you. They notice your positive efforts and are more inclined to participate in change with you.
Finally, take responsibility for change. Be determined in getting the changes you want. While change will not magically happen, God desires to bless our lives. God will give you wisdom for what needs to change if you seek truth. God will also guide you in getting positive change to occur.
Is your life ever chaotic? If so, did you find it tempting to blame your problems on others? How were you able to shift to taking responsibility for the problems in your life? We’d love to hear from you. Please send responses to me at [email protected] and also read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website. You’ll find videos and podcasts on sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage.
Publication date: March 29, 2016