Change is a funny thing sometimes.
Take losing weight, for example. As I eased into my late forties and now early fifties, I began to notice that my metabolism seemed to be coming to a screeching halt.
“Sweet! I burned 7 calories today!”
I tried more exercise. Nothing. I tried the “watching what I eat.” Nada.
It wasn’t until I actually started tracking the calories of everything that I ate that I then began to see some progress. For a long time, I always desired to lose some weight and get in better shape, but the reality was that something was broken with my process. I began to discover a personal mindset that forced me to come to some new conclusions.
When is change not actually change?
And here was the mindset: 1) I saw that I began to feel good about the fact that I wanted to change without actually changing, and 2) I really did not believe that my eating patterns and calorie intake was at the heart of the problem in not losing weight. Though I gave mental assent that something needed to change, I really did not believe that it demanded a drastic change. I could accomplish my goal by just “being more careful.”
And it should not have been surprising to me that I did not lose any weight.
I too often live in a self-deceived state of mind. What I mean by this is that I can tend to draw comfort from the desire for transformation without transformation truly occurring.
Have you ever watched a really talented illusionist who does illusions using a deck of cards or some other object? The truly exceptional are masters at the art of misdirection. They misdirect as they control someone’s attention.
I do this in my own life with change. I misdirect myself from focusing on the truth by looking at something else that seems truthful or at least is easier to believe.
I live out only what I believe
The truth that I had to come to terms with is this: I always live out what I believe. What I truly believe about something will manifest itself in word or action. For me, I did not believe that losing weight would demand some change in practice. What I believed was that “Hey, it is a new week. I’ll do better this week.” as well as a mixture of “I feel better that I have recognized that I need to start losing weight.”
In actuality, I was simply living out what I truly believed in my heart.
This happens to me spiritually as well. I stumble in my own sin…again, confess, repent, and “promise that I will do better next time.” But that “bandaid” never actually brings about authentic change – it merely gives an essence of healing.
When I get chippy with my wife, I am believing in that moment that my agenda is king and that my harsh words will help to put her in her place. I may say that I want to love my wife like Jesus loves His church and that it is paramount in my life, but I really don’t believe it.
When I dwell on a lustful thought, I am believing in that moment that Jesus is not better and that I satisfy me. I may say that I am all about purity and that being a godly man is part of who I am, but I really don’t believe it.
When a trial looms in my life and I get overcome by anxiety, I am believing in that moment that God is not a faithful God and that He is somewhat disappointing. I may say that I trust God and am not leaning on my own understanding, but I really don’t believe it.
The truth is that in each of these examples, I am simply living out my beliefs.
If transformation in a life is going to happen, we must get to this level: understanding what it is that we actually believe about God. To not realize this truth will mean falling into the same sinful pits and then wondering why you keep ending up there. Transformation will occur once I reconcile what it is I am not believing about God or His word, repenting of that mindset, and asking God to change my poor view of Him.
It is pretty straightforward. You will always live out what you believe.