Alicia stares at the five flickering candles poking up from the pink frosting of her birthday cake. With all her giggly friends gathered around, her dad excitedly coaches her, “Make a wish.” Alicia closes her eyes tightly and make a secret wish. She opens her eyes wide, draws in a deep breath, and blows with all her might. As the smoke twists and twirls above each extinguished candle, Alicia smiles. Now her wish will come true.
If only it were so simple. Making a wish does not automatically create the corresponding reality. If that were so, there would be a lot more little girls riding ponies, little boys with their own firetrucks, and grown-ups with bulging bank accounts. There’s nothing wrong with wishing, but it takes more than a wish to see things in your life change.
Most of us enter the new year with a desire to see something change. Some of you want to quit smoking or lose weight or start saving for the future or move to a new place. The odds are pretty good that the same resolution you have at the beginning of this year was similar to the one you had last year and the year before that. The desire for change is only a wish if you do not act to make change happen. So how can 2015 be different?
There is no A-B-C 1-2-3 one-size-fits-all answer to that question, but there are some things you can do differently this year that can produce the change you desire:
- Write down what you want to achieve.
- Write down how you plan to achieve it.
- Share your list with at least one person who can hold you accountable.
- Evaluate those people, places and things that keep you from achieving your goal and intentionally make changes in those areas to limit their influence.
- Don’t let one stumble derail the whole process. If you fail, get right back on track.
- Celebrate the successes in small ways each month.
Start small. Don’t try to change everything at once. Remember that striving for and achieving victory in one area of your life is better than having a dozen wishes without any follow-through. If you don’t do anything differently this year, then next year you’ll have the same wishes plus a side order of regret. Max DePree writes, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
I left one major bullet point off the above list because it deserves more than a bullet point. Your will power may be super strong or incredibly weak, but if you are a believer in Jesus you have a source of power beyond your willpower – you have the power of God living in you.
Phlippians 4:13 reminds us that we can do all things through Him who gives us strength. Romans 8:37 encourages us that we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. Certainly, these verses do not say that God will wave a magic wand to fulfill our selfish desires. What they say is that God will empower and enable us to do what He has called us and made us to do, therefore if we want the power of God to help us change then we need to make sure our desires are honoring to Him.