What Can We Change?

What would you like to see changed? It’s a long list isn’t it?

It seems to me there are three big areas we can effect change and that’s circumstances, other people, and ourselves. Picture it as a pie (it’s more interesting than just picturing a pie graph). I prefer picturing it as an apple pie. Imagine the pie being cut into only three slices. I know, usually a pie is cut into eight slices (far too many in my estimation). Cut the pieces to the approximate size you can effect change for each of these three areas of circumstances, other people, and yourself.

The reality is that two of the pieces should be cut small, very small, the size of a piece of pie for a serious dieter. The other piece should be cut very large, maybe three quarters of the pie, the size of piece I would cut for myself if no one was looking. The two small pieces represent the amount of influence we have over circumstances and other people.

Yes, we can change circumstances and influence people. In fact, God calls us to do so. It’s part of our purpose for being here on earth. But our ability to influence circumstances and others is severely limited. If we think we can, or that we have the right to, have major control over circumstances or people we’re going to be continually frustrated and a continual frustration to others.

The major area of life over which we have significant control is ourselves. We can’t always control how circumstances unfold or how people act but we can always control how we respond to circumstances and people.

Jesus asked, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3) Use planks and sawdust or various-sized pieces of pie but the point is the same; we should work on the biggest area we can change, which is ourselves.

It’s amazing how circumstances and other people seem to change for the better when we’re willing to change for the better ourselves! What does God want me to think, say, and do in the face of my circumstances and in the presence of the people He’s put within my sphere of influence? It’s not that we can’t, and shouldn’t try to change circumstances and others. It’s just that we need to keep it all in proper perspective and see that our primary sphere of influence is ourselves!

A good prayer to pray is the Serenity Prayer. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”


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