For more than two decades, I had several friendships and relationships that were abusive, volatile, and destructive. Years later, I found myself wondering why I ever let them go on for so long.
Then, one day, God showed me.
It was because I needed them.
As a younger man, I struggled with depression and discouragement. I chased dreams, but failed to achieve them--mainly because I didn’t plan for success. No amount of money was enough, no girlfriend could make me happy, and no job was ever satisfying.
I was miserable.
So, I hung out with other miserable people.
It didn’t matter how bad my life was, my friends had the same problems I did. They hated their jobs. They were broke, too. They fought with their girlfriends all the time.
You reap what you sow.
Good choices are like seeds that reap a fruitful crop, and bad choices are like seeds that never sprout at all. One day, God showed me that I was a terrible farmer. If I wanted a life that produced fruit, I needed to make some radical changes in my mindset, attitude…and friends.
Now, before I go any further, let me be very clear. You can’t blame other people for all your problems. But, the people you choose to surround yourself with will affect you in ways you never imagined.
I used to think I could change people and that others couldn’t bring me down. That was an arrogant mindset that I ended up regretting. I learned that no matter how hard you try, you can’t lift everyone around you out of the hole—they will only pull you down in it.
It doesn’t mean they can’t change, but you can’t spend all of your time trying to change them.
Renovating your life doesn’t happen all at once, and it may seem overwhelming at first. Start with small steps.
Here are some things I did to get my life going in a better direction. Maybe you can use some of them, too.
Own the change! Step up, be accountable, and take responsibility for where you are in life. Don’t blame everyone else for your problems.
Decide that being alone is better than being in the wrong crowd. Staying at home on a Friday night is hard to do…for a while. But, it won’t last forever. You’ll meet new people, which means you’ll make new friends.
Tell people why you’re making changes. Don’t be afraid to tell people about the changes you’re making. Explain that you’re serious about ending some of the harmful life cycles you have been repeating. It may even get them to think about their own life.
Invite your old friends to change with you. Let people know you care about them and want them to have a better life, too. You don’t need to be afraid of what they think. If they don’t support you, most likely, they’ll cut you off sooner or later anyway.
Get a hobby. Prepare for more alone time and find something positive to do with it. Start reading the Bible, or take a course on something you’ve always wanted to do. Find a good church. The sooner you start getting busy with other things, the less tempted you’ll be to go back to the old way of life.
I know what it takes to make radical life changes, and it isn’t easy. It means you’ll be cutting ties with some relationships you’ve had for a long time. But it also means you’ll be writing a new chapter for your life—one you can be excited about.
Now, I want you to do two things.
First, leave a comment. Tell me the first step you need to take, or successful changes you have already made.
Then, go make it a great day.