How do you get things to stick?
A Sunday where I was halfway through writing a well-structured and planned out piece for you. But real life isn’t always polished and perfect, you’ve got to make room for the spontaneous changes of plan which nudge you in a different direction from what you think works...A Sunday where I was halfway through writing a well-structured and planned out piece for you. But real life isn’t always polished and perfect, you’ve got to make room for the spontaneous changes of plan which nudge you in a different direction from what you think works...
Anyway, lately I've been thinking about our (in)ability to consistently live out what we know.
You know what I mean, right?
For example, you may be aware that in theory God’s got a plan for your life where everything turns out alright in the end - but you still find yourself antagonising over the future. Lately, I’ve had my fair share of this feeling; some days are good days where I'm super cool, calm and collected. Other times a rush of urgency washes over me, and the pressure of figuring life out RIGHT NOW weighs heavy.
I’ve been pretty much in isolation for the better part of last week, during which I had plans to do the most, be uber productive and tick all the boxes for what I think looks like a ‘good life’. Again, cue God having completely different plans.
We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. - Proverbs 19:21
Through a series of conversations with new people I've met and the advent of fun things like YouTube, I started to ‘hear’ what God has probably been trying to say for a while now but I’ve been too ‘productive’ to take a break and really receive it. This happens to most of us, most of the time. But what God is saying is let go, focus on him, and remember who is he is. When we prioritise doing this, we live from a place of peace and that’s what an abundant life really is about. It’s about living from in Christ rather than the pride that you are too good or fear that if you ever 'fall off' you will never measure up.
That’s great, and most of us get that in theory, so why do we still battle with this?
We have those ah-ha moments where we feel like we’ve finally got ‘it’ and life starts to make sense. This could be in any aspect of your life; learning the fundamentals of money management, learning what makes your partner truly happy or sad, learning how to navigate your career or understanding that spiritual concept that once seemed a bit far removed.
You get the revelation, you get the wisdom and your life feels like it's about to change.
You’re about to drop that bad habit or that negative way of thinking in exchange for something better... only to find that days, weeks, months and sometimes hours down the line you're right back where you started.
Maybe something triggered you, a harsh conversation, a moment of panic or maybe something else, maybe you were just too busy.
Why does this happen?
Let me take a second to say it’s nothing to be ashamed out.
Revelation, knowledge and understanding are actually the beginning of your transformation story, not the end. But for some reason we’ve been taught the opposite. Our society is now more 'on-demand' and real-time than ever that it's natural to expect the same in our personal growth.
But that's not how it works.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little. - Isaiah 28:10
There are so many layers to this verse. (Un)fortunately living out a new reality or practising new principles is more of a journey than a destination. One where everything progresses in increments. Again, we start to see how God’s timing tends to be slower , more intentional and more long-lasting than we'd expect (as we discussed here and here ). We need to acknowledge and invite the process of "sticking", otherwise what we've learned simply goes in one ear and out the other. We need to lift the pressure off of ourselves to 'get it' in one quick swoop, and be open to an ongoing process of chipping away at the old and refining the new creations that we're becoming.
We only play a small part in how getting things to stick
Another barrier to getting the good stuff to stick is due to the fact that we still place a lot of our own ability to get things right - this is an exercise in futility. So much of our lives is filled with the narrative of being independent and never taking any handouts from anyone. "Make it happen, be your own boss, bring something to the table."
While our efforts are important and required for any progress we want to make in life, the crucial first step which we tend to miss is inviting God into every area, instead of welcoming him as an afterthought. To sum it up:
You can’t force these things. They only come about through my [God's] Spirit
- Zechariah 4:6
But, how do we put God first in every situation, how do we let this ethereal Spirit lead the way?
I'm learning that it's all about where we focus on and where our trust is set: in ourselves or in the God we believe to be completely for us? It starts with a complete shifting perspective, to pause, think and stop trying to control so much of our lives.
Ironic that the secret to getting things to stick is letting go, right?
This is a major cultural change for most of us which might feel strange at first. But it's definitely worth it, the benefits are major which I'll speak on in coming posts.
But for now, for the next 7 days ahead, I’ve got a challenge for you...
Tell God I’m letting go, let go of the need to perform and ‘be enough’ according to your own standards. Start leaning into the change God can stewards within you, and remind yourself that this is a partnership where you are not in the lead. Instead,
Make a conscious effort every day this week to wake up and be “adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”" (Romans 8:15)
During the week I’ll be sharing some of the content which helped me get a more nuanced understanding of this topic over on Twitter and Facebook . Make sure you’re following us so you don’t miss a thing.
Drop a comment below and let me know how it goes for you, until next week!