How To Create Lasting Change

When you decide to get healthier or when God intervenes in your life to cause healing and transformation, it can be the most freeing, empowering experience.

You are living on cloud nine… until you try to go back to your everyday life.

Last summer my husband and I went on a three-month sabbatical in order to rest and be filled with fresh vision and clarity. When we stepped away and viewed from a distance the crazed pace of our life at home, it seemed completely insane and we were determined to make big changes when we returned. We came back as different people and as a result, we committed to live differently.

As soon as we returned from our sabbatical, the culture of busyness pulled at us so hard it felt like swimming upstream in order to keep the changes we had made to slow down, spend more time in the presence of God, and leave margin in our lives.  

We began to feel frustrated and powerless to resist the pull and be our new selves! If you have made significant changes to your life, you know this resistance. There is a strong gravitational pull back to the known comfortable path.

The systems you’ve been living in before the decision to change or before the transformative experience will always try to lure you back to your old self. They are setup to do so. This is why only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions- because the pull back into the old way of being, the old system, is so strong.

You know what I’m talking about if you have left your parent’s home and returned again for holidays. You go home as an evolved, grown person. Yet, once back in your old family system with others who have not had your experiences you find yourself playing the role of someone you used to be, or even treated like the child you once were.

There are underlying systems at work - whether it’s friends (especially ones that have known you the longest), family, work, rhythm of life, and culture in general- that will try and pull you back into the old way of being.

When we grow and experience transformation, we may even fight against systems that WE have created. All of these old ways of operating, seen or unseen, will pull us back towards our old habits.

But here’s the thing- you have grown, you have changed and you CAN’T be that old person anymore. You know deep down in the core of your being that the old way isn’t working for you. You have more power than you know. You aren’t playing by the same rules anymore and you have to learn how to exercise that power!

So what do you do with the pull back into the old systems?

1. Establish healthy boundaries and release unhealthy relationships that will not allow you to be the new person you’ve become.

This will sometimes mean you feel more alone; however, at least you will not be at odds with your true self. How much better to be in unison with who you really are and feel a little lonely than to pretend to be your old self in order to keep the status quo, not living into the truth of the person you’ve become?

2. Surround yourself with others who will encourage you to continue becoming all that God has made you to be.  

Share about your discoveries, changes and plans to be a new person with the people in your life who encourage your growth and then ask those people to check in with you about the changes you are making. We all need accountability and others who will ask us questions about our progress and cheer us on along the way.

3. Give yourself grace!

We are all on a journey and our progress is not always going to look like a straight line forward.  You WILL have setbacks. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Setbacks are when people usually give up and return to their old patterns. When you hit one, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again! You are a new creation! The old has gone- the new has come! Don’t be discouraged.

4. Finally, celebrate your progress!  

Celebrate how far God has brought you. Look back and see all that He has done in your life and give Him thanks.

You are a beautiful work in progress and always will be. A step forward is a step forward. Celebrate those steps and enjoy the journey!   

Jennifer Wood

Jen is the Co-Founder of Redemption Church in Costa Mesa, Ca.  She is married to Phil and they have 3 fun and wild boys.  She is an elder and teacher in her church as well as an educator.  Jen wholeheartedly believes in living life to it’s fullest and that following God is life’s greatest adventure. Connect with Jen on Facebook and Instagram.   

Join the discussion

alma January 13, 2017 at 3:12am

thank you need it to heard this today is so true how toxit people will try to pull you back into you old ways amazing article

Deana Boyd January 9, 2017 at 3:47am

Such.a.good.word. So, so timely, and thank you. Integrating back into a church where I served on sr. staff for 20 years is overwhelming to my newly discovered organic spirit. This article with its fresh perspective can surely aid me back into our faith community if...when I apply. :)

Cynthia January 8, 2017 at 5:50am

Jennifer, THANK YOU for taking the time to share this. The more we are aware of the challenges we may face, the better equipped we become to stand and be the women God called us to be.