Keith Wishum: Change your mind

Published 1:44 pm Monday, May 14, 2018

January is gone. Are your New Year’s resolutions?
Thinking that few succeed in keeping resolutions, we may conclude that there is no point trying at all. A well-known columnist wrote one January, “I’m all for self-improvement, but, after years of failed resolutions, I’ve learned better than to believe that I will suddenly eschew Krispy Kreme doughnuts or speak six languages or play Tchaikovsky flawlessly.”
I understand what she is saying; don’t you? Changing often seems impossible. We joke about January resolutions, assuming that by February, the landfill will be overflowing with broken and discarded resolutions. So, why bother? Nobody ever really changes. Of her lack of organization, this writer said, “The simple fact is that I’m disorganized by personality; only a brain transplant would change that essential part of my nature.”
Is she right? Would it take a brain transplant for a person to change?
Or, would a simple change of mind do? Our Creator urges us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). The one who made us believes in us — in our ability to learn, grow, and improve. He is confident that we can do that.
Perhaps the first step toward being transformed is changing our minds about the possibility of change. A study at the University of Washington found that the majority of people who make resolutions do in fact keep the first one on their list — at least for a while. They also found, however, that most who succeed long-term do so only after repeated attempts. Success comes if we keep trying.
We keep trying only if we believe change is possible. Maybe you and I should take another look at our most recent New Year’s resolution. If it looks broken and hopeless, can’t we make it new just by changing our mind about it?
Will change come suddenly? Probably not, but surely it is possible to wean oneself from doughnuts. In fact, Krispy Kreme reported significant lost revenue in the wake of a low-carb diet craze. People really did change their eating habits — because they changed their minds.
That’s good news! You and I aren’t locked in. We aren’t irrevocably preprogrammed at birth to be a certain way. We are blessed with the freedom to choose, to be “made new in the attitude of your minds” (Ephesians 4:23).
Change your thinking; change your life. January may be gone but your resolve to change doesn’t have to be.

Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.