“What do you do when you don’t want to change…?”
This question was posed to me in an anonymous Q&A session on a slip of paper. Gah, if only we always felt the safety and courage to ask questions so freshly lifted from our pitter-pattering hearts. I loved it. Maybe it was because I wrestle with that kind of apathy regularly or maybe it was because it was so counter-cultural to the Christianese we hide behind, but whatever the reason that wafting fragrance of authenticity grabbed my guts. I didn’t get to respond in the profoundly impactful manner that I do in my delayed mental replays, but the Lord kept that question stirring in me days afterward.
‘Want to’ often means ‘feel like’. ‘I don’t feel like folding my basketfuls of laundry.’ ‘I don’t feel like tackling that assigned reading.’ But those statements imply that there is something else we would rather be doing. ‘I will continue watching Bones instead of folding laundry.’ ‘I want to see what’s new on my Pinterest feed, so I’m going to check that instead of reading.’
Sin is alluring because we are making an evaluation. A faulty one, but an evaluation nonetheless. What I have or what I get from feeding this appetite or craving is worth more to me. We weigh costs vs. benefits. ‘I sleep with him because I want to feel wanted. I want to feel attractive.’ What’s the cost of not sleeping with him? ‘I’ll feel alone, unattractive, and undesirable.’ You do it because you hear that you aren’t beautiful, or wanted, or special. You may hear it even if no one has ever said it to you. Satan poses these thoughts; he drops them like pennies in a fountain. You do, however, have the power to refuse the ripple effect.
The question, though, remains: What do you do when you don’t want to change?
Ask for conviction. Ask for open eyes. Sin is costly. Satan tells you, like he did Eve, ‘Pfft, no it isn’t. It gets you what you want!” Make a decisive dedication. Romans 12 says in light of the mercies of God, dedicate your body, with its members and faculties, to Him. Considering the absence of deserved judgments, in light of the blue sky, in light of the ability to receive love, in light of the safety in which you live, the prosperity in which you exist (someone always has it way worse), do this thing for Him. Live like He exists. Live like He loves you, because He does.
Renew your mind. Recognize the disparity between your lifestyle and the Word, and choose to agree and get in line with the Word. Remember those feelings? They make terrible leaders. Feelings will drag you to hell. Think about it. How many times have you heard someone set up an argument with “I just don’t feel like…” That says nothing about the merit of the argument itself.
Back to our regular scheduled programming. Feelings. They will drag you to hell, aid you in making contrary decisions, and lead you to live a life outside of the will of God. Give your spirit importance. Let it take the lead. Feed it. Force-feed it when necessary. Stare into the Word and determine to agree- despite your flesh kicking and screaming. That’s renewing your mind. Don’t ask your flesh or feelings to weigh in. They won’t ever make the right move in the interest of your spirit. Ask God to transform your appetites and in the meantime, don’t feed them. Believe that you will make progress in this area. Believe that the Word is true concerning the transformation of your heart (Ez. 36:26, Heb. 4:1-2, Eph. 1:17).
A lot of times we set ourselves up to fail by orchestrating or not avoiding lose-lose environments. By this I mean, trying not to fall into sexual sin again but somehow ending up alone with your boo thing. That is not an atmosphere conducive to progress or change. It is a set up to slip up. It’s like putting our cravings in a terrarium instead of a salty flatland, or better yet a desert. Starve it! Eventually, your feelings will come along. They have no choice. They will buck and erupt for what may seem like an eternity. And it may seem unbearable. Get those Scriptures out. Cast down imaginations (2 Cor. 10:5). You can do all things (Phil 4:13). Keep your mind set on things above (Col. 3). And recommit to agree with the Word (Rom. 12:1-2). Do it as many times as necessary. Keep a notecard in your pocket, in your bra, on your person, wherever! But hang in there. Eventually, you will be on the other side of this.