Acting on and changing our own circumstances can only be accomplished when we realize no one or nothing except ourselves, through the Lord Jesus Christ, can make the needed changes. I don’t know when I first learned this lesson, but it has been part of me ever since. Sometimes I’m slow to recognize the need to follow these steps, but, when I do, I know my circumstances are getting better.
I hear, "change is hard" or "I can’t do it." I understand. I really do. Who wants to deal with different? It’s unfamiliar, uncomfortable and downright wrong. Or is it?
Accept change is needed
Many know and accept the need to change, but fight it to the point of failure or wait for someone to do it for them. Change enlightens, brings happiness and frees one from the debilitating effects of poor circumstances.
Like C.S. Lewis’ analogy of God rebuilding a house and the pain of the change, I too have seen this in my life. It takes God a long time to tear down my concrete, but when he does, my circumstances change for the better.
I learned a long time ago, if I don’t like present circumstances, I need to change. This is where I use the Atonement to its fullest. Cleansed of the wrong I've done, I am empowered to see the direction needed to follow Jesus Christ’s example and become more like him.
Want to change
After a few hard blows to the concrete wall, the Lord is able to install the window. This window is much easier for me to see the blessings of changing my ways and being Christ like. It makes it easier for me to want to change.
Two stories, found in the Bible, help me with this step. One is the story of Moses. The son of slaves, raised by his people’s masters, Moses fled after killing an Egyptian. He was called of God to face his adoptive family on behalf of the enslaved Israelites. Doing this required a great deal of change. All of these experiences shaped Moses into the house God wanted.
The other story is from the Book of Job. He didn’t need to change, he was Christ like, but those around him did. He lost his belongings, his family and his health. And through it all, he didn’t attack God. What an example! He proved even though one has changed and remains steadfast, those with Christ like attitudes can have trials. Sometimes they are given to help others around that person change. The Lord blessed Job with double his former and gave him seven more sons and three more daughters.
Yes it’s hard. Yes it may hurt, but once you allow Christ in, you too will see the blessings and freedom of change.
Who needs to change? You — not family, friends, neighbors, community, state or country — you.
What do I need to change about myself? Read your scriptures and put your name in the passages. Learn how to be Christ like. Use the Atonement for forgiveness and it will empower you with the answer and how to effect the change.
Where do I change? This is similar to "what," but goes deeper and involves relationships with others, including spiritual.
When do I change? The sooner the better. In the beginning you may not realize the beauty and freedom of allowing God to build a proper house. But when he’s done, you’ll be strong against Satan’s grasp and all that pulls you away from him.
Why change? This one makes me step back and really focus on my goal. I want the change because over and over, when I’ve followed God's will to change my circumstances, I found happiness, freedom and strength.
I love my husband — always have — but there were times I didn’t like him. Circumstances were difficult and almost caused me to leave him. I didn’t want to end the marriage, but this is what the world gives as a solution. I turned to the scriptures and counseled with church leaders.
The scriptures said I needed to become humble like a child. I asked myself what about my husband was bothering me. What was pushing my love for him aside?
I repented and changed my attitude, my reactions and followed the Christ like examples in the scriptures. Now my circumstances are wonderful. The little bumps in the road have been easy to drive over and the thoughts of leaving haven’t crossed my path since.
Christ's help is especially important to me because of my thick head and the fact that, no matter how far I get, sometimes Satan manages to get me to step back into bad habits. I can never stop trying to change.
Never stop reading the scriptures. Never stop applying what you read to your life and actions. Never stop using Christ's atonement for forgiveness and empowerment. Learn, follow, atone and change your circumstances. No one can do it for you.