“How’s that working for you??” and followed by, “If you do what you have always done, you get what you have always gotten, don’t you?!” There are times I have stopped and asked myself those questions, especially in the last ten years. I have learned to ask our children the same questions and they now certainly turn around and use them on me when necessary. I think they are two great questions to ask, if you are in a state of frustration or possibly not moving in a direction you would like to go and seem stuck. These two questions are a great place to start.
In other words, YOU MAY NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE! to get a different result. Funny to me now, or maybe it could be that it comes with age, but there is a message I desperately want other people young or old to get–YOU ARE NEVER TO OLD TO MAKE A CHANGE! It is false on all levels to believe that you are too old to make a change. It is a COP OUT and an EXCUSE to be lazy, obstinate, or prideful and not willing to step out and do something different. Of course, change is hard and habits are hard to break, but with God’s help and by His design, we can all make changes.
Where does change start? It starts in the mind and heart! All actions are preceded by thoughts. In Romans 12:2 it says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Change starts with the inner person. In the past, in order for me to make sincere changes and take some new directions, I call them “180’s”, I had to decide to decide, and then I had to follow with actions. The actions were simple but took EXTREME DISCIPLINE to carry out. The following were the steps I took for change.
Most great golfers establish a Pre-Shot Routine. They do this because it is a very effective method of improving one’s focus on the task at hand, which is to hit their next shot. For example, in driving the ball or in putting, Thomas has a routine he repeats every time he gets ready to hit the ball. On the drive, for example, he steps on the tee box, he tees the ball up, he stands behind it and picks his target (where he is aiming). He then steps back and takes 2 practice swings, then he addresses the ball, and hits it (he never varies). The routine is widely accepted by most great golfers as a way to feel comfortable and at ease. It helps to bring yourself routinely into extreme focus on the task at hand. So the following is my pre-shot routine that I have established to have the most effective quiet time with God.
At night I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. I picked a place in our house that is away from everyone. I bought an iPod player and played soft Christian music in the background. I have a Spark (a vitamin and energy drink) and I have my Bible, my journal, pen, laptop and I always have a good book I am reading, usually something written by a Christian or a biography. Note, I use my laptop to look up passages or commentaries on Scripture for deeper learning and understanding. As I have established this ROUTINE, and have done it faithfully for the past 5 years, it has enabled me to make some pretty significant changes. The CHANGES all started there!
I can remember when I first started this routine. I was amazed at how the music invited my heart, not only to worship, but it warmed up the place where I was sitting. When you get up in the morning and every thing is quiet and dark, turning on a light and some soft music makes the room warm up. It affected my mood and soothed my spirit and gave me the atmosphere of praise that I think was needed to prepare my heart to receive ALL THAT GOD HAD FOR ME!
As time and routine were established, it became a place that I was excited to spend time in, to the point that sometimes I would wake up at 4:00 a.m. or 4:30 a.m. I would just go ahead and get up because I was loving the result of the obedience and the result of what I was receiving in that hour. I wanted more.
Most psychologists will tell you that a pre-shot routine can also be a place of comfort for a golfer. If they are not having a good day on the links, it provides security and comfort to them. I have found this to be exactly the case for me in a ROUTINE for my daily quiet time. If I am tired, stressed, or facing a stressful situation, it was an extreme place of comfort for me. It became a time where God’s word spoke to me personally. It began to resonate with me as to how to apply HIS words to myself. It is where I sat quietly and could feel God speak and comfort me in the way I have learned He communicates with me. I learned this through the discipline of the daily meeting time with God. He was always there and ready. I just had to SHOW UP AND BE OBEDIENT AND DISCIPLINED.
There are a number of reasons to share this change with you. First, before this routine I had a quiet time but it was in a rut. Second, there was not a set time to meet with God nor a set place. The music was added to spice things up for me, a suggestion by someone whose wise and growing walk with the Lord I admire. Third, I realized I would never go out of the house without combing my hair and brushing my teeth so WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD I FACE MY DAY WITHOUT FIRST MEETING WITH MY CREATOR AND THE AUTHOR OF MY LIFE? With the busyness of my day, and travel, my time with the Lord had turned into whatever I could fit in as time allowed. I needed, instead, a DAILY ROUTINE THAT WAS UNCHANGING.
As in a GOLFER’S PRE-SHOT ROUTINE, My ROUTINE MEETING WITH GOD, the PRE-SHOT ROUTINE OF MY DAY, has become the KEY to MAJOR SUCCESSFUL CHANGE IN MY LIFE. It has allowed the RENEWING OF MY MIND. It has shown me HIS WILL FOR ME, which has been great. It is the place where, over a period of 5 years, He birthed and showed me how to start and write for “BACK 9 MINISTRIES”. HE had a plan for the second half of my life. I shutter to think, if I had not taken the steps to make a CHANGE, that I would have missed HIS WILL for me in the second half of my life.
As Michael Jackson wrote and sang in one of his all-time popular songs, “Man in the Mirror,” “I’m starting with the Man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways, and no message should have been any clearer, if you wanna make the world a better place—take a look at YOURSELF and then make a change.”
IF you are tired of the results you are getting, maybe it is time for you to MAKE A CHANGE? Realizing it starts with a thought (decision) followed by ACTION, and With GOD. Jeremiah 29:11-12, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.'”