5 Small Changes that Can Produce HUGE Results
It was tough. I was cycling as my main means of transport. Riding my bicycle everywhere. (Yeah, I was on skinny tires, wearing spandex and riding on the roads. Go ahead, hate me. But I was in the best shape of my life, tackling mountain climbs like they were easy downhill slopes). But then it got tough.
My knees began to hurt. Esp. my left knee. I was riding to the gym every morning at 6 AM, working out, running 5-6 miles, then riding back home and working in the office, riding to meetings with people at coffee shops, etc. During my workouts, I had added vigorous stair climbing. Now I was in pain and concerned.
I rode my bike to the appointment with the Orthopedic Dr. I had Patella-Femoral Syndrome. I did some therapy over a period of months. It didn’t help. I did strengthening exercises. Nada. Still hurting. And still riding/running/stairclimbing. Then I saw a different doc. He listened and suggested 2 things: stop stair climbing immediately because it builds a part of the quads that pulls my knee to the side. And slightly alter my foot position while riding, putting the forefront out and the heel inward. For the geeks, I was using Speedplay pedals, so this was easy to do. BAM! Cured my pain in no time. From 2 simple adjustments.
I’ve found this time and again. I make small adjustments and get big returns. Happened with Achilles Tendenitis. I changed from cushioned to support shoes. And on and on.
Here’s the point…small changes can reap HUGE benefits. And here’s the problem…most of us come to these moments of crisis and make commitments that involve great change. We mean it. We want to do it. But we find ourselves, days or weeks later, back to where we started. Not because we weren’t sincere. Of course we were! But because we tried to change everything at once. “I’ll fast every week and stop watching TV at night and never eat anything after 6 PM and only listen to Christian radio (Ugh!), and…” We’ve bitten off more than we can chew. Gone overboard on good intentions. And made HUGELY wrong musical choices (but that’s just my take on it)…
So, that being said, here are 5 small things that could reap big results over time:
1- Bible in the bathroom. NO- not a devotional. Not what someone else says about the scriptures. The Ancient Scriptures themselves. Decide to have the bible with you. Read a chapter daily. From the New Testament. And ask God to help you understand it. Think about it for a while afterward. It’ll nourish you and begin to change you.
2- Prayer for in place of criticism of… Ask God to help you catch yourself the moment you are tempted to criticize- publicly OR to yourself- someone else. It’s not your job to make them become what you think they ought to be. So instead, pray for God to bless, use, grow that person. Or to bring that person to the point of faith in Christ. Practice prayer rather than criticism. And watch your attitudes begin to change.
3- Thanking God daily for the blessings. Take time every day, at least once, to stop and go through the list of all that God has blessed you with. Start with the fact that you are drawing air. Or have food in your belly. Or a roof over your head if you do. Our culture disciples us to be discontent. To become jealous and angry concerning those who have more. To become self-righteous in our desire to get more and more. Entitled, even. Yet this is nothing more than the anti-gospel. Christ has already done what we could never do for ourselves. Even though we DIDN’T deserve it. Take time to praise, listing out some of the ways God has blessed you. Watch it change how you view what you don’t have. Watch contentment and worship build in you.
4- Encourage someone every single day. We work and go to school and associate with people who love to gossip, see the negative in others, tear people down. Heck, have you heard of Facebook with all the angry status updates that are vague in audience (could it be me she’s talking about?)? Passive-aggressive much??? We’re discipled by our culture to tear down. It’s time to build up, encourage. Ask God to guide you to someone who needs to be- LISTEN!- encouraged. Not flattered. Not to gain some advantage with him or her. But genuinely encouraged today. And speak those words. And then pray for him or her throughout that day. And see how God uses your words to accomplish so much in that life.
5- Give regularly. No…this isn’t about tithing or giving to the church. I mean…cultivate a spirit of generosity. Whether it is with time or talent or treasure. Give. When you eat out, give the server an extra buck. Seriously- is that dollar really gonna break you? If it is, dang, dude- you shouldn’t be eating out. But it will discipline and teach your heart to be generous. Which changes you from the inside out. Help someone if you have the talent. Give your time in a way that doesn’t ignore your family, but helps others. Maybe, stop spending all your time on Facebook and give your family some time. But…GIVE. Become a giver. Lord knows, our world is filled with: takers. And those who give so they can pat themselves on the back. Give. Tell no one. And your Father in heaven will see it and be glorified. And that’s enough.
5 small changes. That’s my list. What would you add?