How to Make a Change for the Better that Lasts

Scary Path - When God leads you toward a scary and unknown path in marriage or life, find ways to trust Him and His plan. #marriage #trials #God #Scripture #faith

Months ago, I introduced you to my Heart Healing Prayer method which allows you to prayer journal and process through a struggle in your life. 

It’s one of the most effective and transformative ways I know, as a biblical counselor and prayer warrior, to respond to a problem in life or marriage. 

Happen to have one of those? Yeah, they come by the dozens, don’t they?!

For those of you who have given yourself to this effort, know that I’ve been taking this journey as well. I’ve used my HHP to prayer through a current, significant (non-marriage related) problem in my own life. 

It’s taken me months to get to this point of knowing what to change and acting on these insights.

The kind of change I’m talking about is called “repentance.” And although repentance is often associated with admitting our sins and the need for a Savior, it can also mean living out our faith through Christ’s power. 

It took months of prayer journaling and processing Scripture to see my problem for what it is … A sin problem. 

Sure, there are problems that come in life that we don’t deserve or cause. But even in those situations, we often sin in reaction to our problem(s) and pain. 

Identifying those sins, viewing them through the lens of Scripture and prayer, is essential to freedom and healing. Otherwise, we remain in denial and, if not denial, we end up operating in our own strength. 

Neither one of these realities helps our situation!

In my view, and I think Scripture backs this up, the best way to resolve and heal a problem is by dealing with the heart of the matter. Or, more precisely, with the “heart!” 

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? —Jeremiah 17:9 

Since this the case, examining the root cause of our problem—our hearts—allows us to see what God sees. It allows us to identify what is sick and deceived about the way we are handling our circumstances. 

And the only way to truly do that is with Scripture and prayer. 

If the situation you are in involves a sin-sick spouse, you shouldn’t try to do heart surgery on him/her. Only the Lord and His sharp, dividing word (Heb. 4:12) can do that! 

Today, I will share some of the ways I am achieving this outcome. But mostly, I want to share my personal story. I want to share what God has revealed to me through this journey. 

And let me tell you, it’s not very pretty, yet it has been pretty exciting to surrender and start changing for the better!

Although my “problem” seems to be rooted in the choices of someone I love deeply, ultimately, MY choices matter much more. By that, I mean, my choice to trust God matters more no matter what choices someone else makes. 

As I’ve prayed, I’ve examined my heart and actions through certain hand-picked Scriptures.

Allow me to walk through each, revealing what the Scriptures are teaching and challenging me to do …   

1. Rest in Christ

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” —Matthew 11:28-30

Praying this verse has shown me that I’ve not rested in God’s control and power over the situation. 

Even though the context of this verse is foundationally about resting in Christ’s salvation, it also means resting in His power each day. 

Ironically, I’ve given this person the power that only my Savior truly does and should hold. I’ve believed the lie that this person needs to change course so that I can rest easy. Wrong rest stop!

2. Be Christlike

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. —Proverbs 15:1

Praying this verse has convicted me big time about the handful of times I’ve argued with this person regarding choices that are being made. Christ calls me to love and be loving. To respect and be gentle (Gal. 6:1). 

3. Know and Trust the Spirit’s Heart and Action

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  —Romans 8:25-26

This passage really helps lower my defenses. It helps me to rest securely in Christ like Mt. 11:28-30 encourages. 

What a sweet and beautiful picture of the Holy Spirit interceding with groans on my behalf. On my loved one’s behalf too! 

In fact, the Spirit is concerned about and loves my loved ones so much more than I can. And that’s saying an awful lot!!

Here are the ways I am choosing to change based on what God has revealed. 

I’m …

  • Doing a daily and prayerful self-examination, resetting my heart on Christ and His humility. 
  • Memorizing these three Scriptures and meditating on/praying them when I feel fear or anger rising up. 
  • Asking God daily to strengthen my faith, trusting that He is at work in HUGE ways in my loved one’s heart and life, as well as in mine. 

I’ve also invited three other ladies to be my accountability partners in this effort. The change that I want to make in my life cannot happen without their support in prayer and presence.

I can already tell you how much I see God at work in my own heart. If it were not for this trial and “problem,” I think I would have missed so many opportunities to trust. So many opportunities to take the hand of the Savior and dance to His redemption song. 

How about you? What Scriptures could you pray through and see where you need God to correct your attitude and behaviors? 

It might not resolve your problem, but it will surely encourage you and make you stronger in your faith. Those are the blessings of peace and comfort when the heaviness of life bears down! 

I’d love for you to check out my latest WORTHY Bible study, Grace Covers, which examines Romans chapters 1-4. It’s currently on sale for a limited time. The paperback is $5.99 and Kindle is $2.99.

I also have two new WORTHY Bible Study Journals (8.5″ x 11″) with two distinct designs (inside and out)—leaf and tree motifs. Each journal uses WORTHY prompts and offers colorful spaces for writing your notes down while studying, applying, and praying the Scriptures.

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