The final step in creating change within your life, is that of acceptance. As long as there is any resistance at all, we will delay or even prevent the change. Even the slightest resistance can prolong our suffering.
William H. Murray once wrote: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.”
Think of all of the wonderful dreams you have had in your life that were never realized. Think of all the times you started a new habit, only to stop before you saw the results you wanted. This is the primary reason why so many diets fail, why so many New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past the first few weeks.
We want to have better health, so we start a work-out routine. We tell ourselves it will be hard, we know it will. Then, we start, and we realize we were right. It is hard. It hurts the day after. We don’t like the stiffness and soreness, so we take a few days off. We rationalize it by saying we should ease into the routine. But, instead, we wind up easing out. Resistance.
The only way to ensure the change we desire will endure, is to commit. Beyond the struggles, beyond any pain, beyond the fear of failure. Commit. And then, as Murry wrote, “Providence moves too.” To put that another way, “God grants his grace.”
This is the essence of Jesus words, “Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock, and the door will be open to you.” These aren’t just words. They are the path to finding the person you were born to be. They aren’t meant to be used for gathering the riches of this world. Those are only fleeting, temporary, meaningless. Whereas finding our purpose and becoming who we were meant to be will not only change your life, but will create an endless ripple of events that will last for eternity.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How do we know what we are committing to is what we are meant to do, and not just our own desire?” That’s why this step is the final catalyst for change, and not the first. It is of utmost importance that we allow ourselves to be open to the experiences of our lives, that we seek understanding, and that we apply the lessons that we are given first, and then commit. Otherwise, we run the risk of bouncing around like a pinball. And that’s not what we want.
This is where we must learn to surrender, to trust that God will only take us where we are meant to go. Which means, at times He will lead us to places we don’t want to be. Some of what we need to learn is going to hurt. But that’s okay. Sometimes difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. This is what M. Scott Peck referred to when he wrote The Road Less Traveled.
We fear this road because it isn’t familiar. We fear this road because we don’t want to lose our way. Everyone else is taking the other road. Shouldn’t we just follow the crowd? Sure. Following the crowd can lead to a pretty good life. But we weren’t born for just a ‘good’ life. We were born to have a ‘great’ life. Following the crowd dampens our ability to learn. It numbs us to the changes we aren’t meant to have.
The choice is yours. Take the easy road, the popular road, the one that passes through the wide gate. There are far fewer struggles that way. Or, take the narrow road, the lonely road, the one filled with challenges. But, if you do, commit yourself to it. Leave your resistance at home. Commit. Surrender. Become.