Monday, May 16, 2005

The Change Process

I've been a student of change the last five or six years. The whole topic is fascinating to me; both organizational change and personal change. From an organizational standpoint it's interesting what it takes to help a group through the change process without freaking them out! And from the personal side, it's interesting what it takes to help people make lasting change.

From my experience in working with people, I see four things necessary to bring about lasting change;
  1. Good information. Learn as much as you can about your problem. Your knowledge may not change anything, but just understanding the problem and it's source is reassuring. It's reassuring to know that you aren't the only one with the problem - that it's SO common that there are books written about it. When I teach on shame people are always amazed that there are distinct causes for their feeling worthless. When they see the cause and effect relationship it gives them a lot of hope. Plus, in some cases, information alone can bring change. I have people tell me all the time that they applied one of my sermons and it changed their life.
  2. Prayer. I know people who have heard every sermon and read every book on a subject and they still have no clue how to change. But I've been able to sit down with some of these people and pray with them and the change they've longed for hits them like a lightning bolt. Why does God choose to move through prayer? Three reasons: one, he gets the credit. If it was just you doing or thinking something, you'd leave God out of the equation. Two, praying WITH someone else brings your problem out of the closet and into the open. Three, God likes to work through other people. The process develops relationship and God is all about that.
  3. Discipline. You may have a true heart change but remain unchanged simply because you have developed bad habits through the years. This is the piece that many people leave out and then wonder why they slipped back into their problem.
  4. Support. God almost always brings change through other people. If you think you can find healing on your own...good luck. Odds are it won't work. Find yourself a good group of friends who will stick with you even when you keep messing up. Give them the right to hold you accountable.

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