A “Heartburst” is something that God’s Holy Spirit puts on your heart that excites and empowers you to make a difference in the world for God. It a commitment to be part of building God's Kingdom.
It may be an activity to help others.
It may be an internal change that you know you need to make for your own health.
It may be a challege to take
It may be a call to help, to care, to pray for others.
It’s as varied as all of us are. All the great God-inspired ideas that have changed our world for the good, from small acts of kindness to the major institutions started as a heartburst in one or two people.
As they shared that heartburst with others, as they prayed about it, God inspired in them a plan to make it a reality. They took on that plan and changed their lives in order to make it a reality.
But with such a compelling change coming into our lives we have to confront why are we reluctant to change? Why do many God-given dreams wither in our lives?
We have to confront our fear of change.
It’s hard to change, and to make that change stick. New ideas, new actions, new habits all raise our anxiety level. And let’s face it, we’re often pretty comfortable with the way we are. And often, without a crisis, we rarely make the changes we know we should.
As Christians we have all the normal tools of change that the world has identified (see below) plus we add a few more. Here's my take on making effective change from a Christian point of view.
When we, as faithful followers of Jesus deal with change:
First of all
*WE PRAY. We spend time with God in order to be and remain "right with God." We seek God’s viewpoint and direction on the situation. We look to Christ as our teacher, guide and leader. Prayer is our regular conversation with God, made all the more powerful and personal because of our relationship with God through Jesus.
We read the bible, we seek out grounded christian counsel, we learn from our brothers and sisters in the faith about life, we develop a continuing conversation with God about our life, it's meaning and where we are going.
We do this because we want to make sure our spirit is lined up with God’s holy will and intent as we proceed through the steps of change. (Steps like these are often found in many “self-help” sources.)
• Be HONEST with yourself:
We need to realize that change is necessary and perhaps crucial to our growth. If we deny that changes are needed we’ll never take the action needed to make the change.
• Make the DECISION to change:
Without a commitment to change it will never happen. It will remain just a good idea that we considered but never took the first step.
• Focus on ACTIONS, not the past:
While learning from the past is always instructive, our focus for that learning is what we are going to do about it. Don’t fall into the trap of “paralysis by analysis.” Identify specific steps that need to happen in order for your change to become realized.
• EVALUATE your limitations:
Be realistic about those actions. Not all ideas or actions are good or possible for you. Pick the ones you can honestly accomplish given your situation and circumstances.
• BE FLEXIBLE, make ongoing CORRECTIONS:
As you try out the ideas and actions, make corrections and changes in them as needed. Some ideas will work, others need to be discarded and new ideas tried. Don’t lock yourself into one way to get to your goal.
• Focus on new HABITS, not results
The ultimate goal is a changed behavior, not being perfect right away. In getting to the goal of a new habit you may stumble and return to old patterns. Avoid focussing on the failures. That will only hold you down.
Learn from the failure. Allow yourself to be forgiven when you fail. Return to the new habit as soon as possible. Don’t let failure sway you from your ultimate goal of a changed life. You’re often fighting against long term and entrenched habits, so it’s going to be a struggle.
In addition to these (and other) helpful suggestions that the world offers, I add the following:
- *Have COURAGE, and for us COURAGE = FAITH in CHRIST
In order to find the courage and strength needed for the long haul of a changed life, we have faith in God’s love through Jesus Christ.
Because of Jesus Christ, we trust the power of God’s presence in our lives. We rely on God’s strength when we are weak and exhausted.
Our faith, our trust in Christ allows us to stumble, to remember God’s grace and forgiveness, and to be renewed and refreshed to continue the journey towards God’s hope and desire for us.
Our faith, our trust in the love of God through Jesus Christ gives us God’s good and powerful direction for our lives.
Too often we settle for our own ideas about what we should be or how we should act.
In prayer, we discover who God really intended us to be. We discover our “true self” and so all our change becomes directed to that end, to God’s vision of who we are.
In prayer we come full circle to the place where God can move us through this cycle again and continue to change us according to God's hope and dreams for us.
It is my hope and prayer that all your changes are rooted and grounded in God’s love for you through Jesus Christ.
Open your heart to the possibilities that Christ has in store for you. Let God change you for the good!
Grace and Peace, Pastor Terry