Let’s imagine you’re the proud owner of a brand-new time machine. Congratulations! Now, let’s test it out by using it to answer one of life’s big questions: Is it possible to change? And who better for us to ask than future-you? So let’s hop in and set the date for five years from today to visit your future self. While we’re on the way, can I ask you a few questions?
- What do you hope is different about future-you?
Are there new skills you hope you’ve developed or healthier relationships with certain people? Maybe you hope you’ll have a better job. Or maybe there’s an unhealthy habit you hope future-you has done away with.
- What are a few ways you think future-you might be a little more like Jesus than present-you?
Are there any passions you hope you pursued? Or a bold step of faith you hope you’ve taken? Or maybe a new spiritual discipline you developed?
- On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that future-you has developed those new skills, strengthened those relationships, broken those bad habits, and become more like Jesus? (1 = not confident, 10 = super confident.)
If your answer is anything other than a 10, this article is for you. Why? Because we can step toward better habits, healthier relationships, and a deeper relationship with God starting today. But we can also tell ourselves lies that keep us from our purpose. Lies like “I can’t change” and “I have nothing to offer” hold us back from who God made us to be.
Before we step out of the time machine, let’s confront these lies together so we can find confidence in God to help us change. Trust me, your future self will thank you.
Lie 1: I Have Nothing to Offer
Everyone has something valuable to offer. Why is that? Because we’re made by God, who gave each of us a unique personality and a specific set of talents, skills, and experiences. But many of us grew up hearing a different story.
Maybe someone told you that you didn’t have what it would take to reach your goal. Or maybe you tried something in the past, but it didn’t go the way you hoped. So now, anytime you want to try something new, you stop yourself, believing the lie that you aren’t worthy of a meaningful life.
You have something to offer.
In the Bible, Moses was a man who felt unqualified for the job God gave him—to lead God’s people. The thing is, Moses had a point. He didn’t possess some skills most people look for in a leader. And yet God chose Him. His story is a powerful reminder that God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
Of course, God doesn’t promise to give us everything we’ve ever dreamed of, but He did create us with a part to play in His story. For some of us, discovering God’s calling takes time, reflection, and patience. But don’t quit because you feel you don’t add value to the world—maybe you just aren’t seeing what it is yet. Give yourself time.
While you’re in the process of discovering your purpose, consider working toward goals that God has given to all of us. For example, God’s called us all to serve—so find someone who has a need you can meet. Maybe they need a physical resource you can provide. Or they might need kind words in a challenging season.
So let’s replace the lie with truth: God made me with gifts, talents, and a part to play in His story, so I do have something to offer.
Lie 2: I’m Too _____, or Someone Else Is More _____
These two lies come from the same place: comparison. Comparison has the power to steal our motivation and consistency, because it keeps us dwelling on the fact that there’s always someone more qualified, intelligent, or further ahead than we are. Comparison dismisses us by saying things like “you’re too young to get that promotion” or “you’re too old to try that new thing.”
Comparison causes us to obsess over other people’s lives in an unhealthy way. It turns life into a competition that no one wins. Instead, we end up feeling drained, discouraged, and resentful toward the people God calls us to care for.
Your life isn’t a competition.
Moses jumped to comparison when he heard God’s call. Moses told God all about his weaknesses, and insisted that there had to be someone else who could do a better job. Again, Moses had a point. God could have found someone with stronger leadership skills and fewer weaknesses, but He chose Moses.
Can I be honest for a moment? I don’t want this to sound unkind, but this next part can be helpful to hear. There’s almost always going to be someone more qualified and more intelligent than you. And there will always be someone who’s more athletic, has a bigger house, and attracts more views on social media than you. Finally, there will always be people who post pictures of a life that seems more exciting than yours. It might not sound very encouraging—but it’s actually life-giving truth, because it sets us free from striving to win at these kinds of things.
God doesn’t call us to compete against one another for the most successful life. Jesus never told His followers to make sure they had bigger homes or better salaries than their neighbors. Jesus doesn’t ask us to “win” at life. Instead, He calls us to love and serve one another—and it’s hard to serve our neighbors when we see them as rivals. So what if we stopped letting the success (or perceived success) of others drain and distract us from our calling? And how would that impact future-you?
Replace the lie with this truth: My life is not a competition against others to be the most _____. Instead, I am here to live and love like Jesus by serving others today.
Lie 3: I’ve Made Too Many Mistakes
Our past influences our future, but it doesn’t define who we become. I’ve made choices I regret. I’m guessing you have too. Maybe you’re experiencing the consequences of a life-altering choice. Or something from your past has left you with unresolved pain, embarrassment, and shame. Those feelings of regret have the power to keep us stuck in life, feeling like failure is inevitable in anything we try.
Your past doesn’t define you.
It’s important to reflect on the past and learn from our mistakes. But our past doesn’t define our whole future. Sure, some choices may lead to future consequences, but we all have some control over the direction of our life.
We know from Scripture that our mistakes don’t define us in God’s eyes. He offers all of us the opportunity to find forgiveness and start fresh. Plenty of people in the Bible made major mistakes and experienced public failure. And yet God still made a difference in the world through their lives. Moses is a great example of God partnering with someone despite multiple setbacks.
If you consistently feel guilt, shame, or pain from a past choice, it can be wise to ask for help from a friend, pastor, or professional counselor to seek healing and resolution. It could also be a sign that there’s some communication and forgiveness needed in one direction or another.
You may have failed in the past—but that doesn’t make you a failure as a person. Making mistakes is a part of life, and it can be a helpful learning experience. Failure is proof that you’re human. God offers us grace—so you can offer it to yourself too.
Replace the lie with truth: Past failures don’t make me or my life a failure. I don’t need to live in fear of trying and failing—instead, through God’s power, my mistakes can help me grow.
Lie 4: I Can’t Change
I wonder if you relate to the first few sentences of Pastor Craig Groeschel’s book, The Power to Change:
There are few things in life more frustrating than knowing you need to change, wanting to change, and trying to change, but not actually changing. How do I know? Because I have tried so hard so many times to change, only to hit the same brick wall of failure time and time again.
—Pastor Craig Groeschel
Maybe you know the feeling of repeatedly trying to make a healthy change, only to fail each time. Maybe you wanted to learn a new skill like carpentry or a new language. Or you might have tried to start a new habit like exercising or reading the Bible regularly. You might have tried to break a bad habit like overusing a substance or eating certain foods. But each time, you fell short of your goal.
Now, you’re ready to give up. You’ve tried so many times and in so many ways with no success. Maybe you’re starting to believe the lie that change is impossible. But there’s hope.
Here’s some good news: Change is possible. But life change rarely happens overnight—and it rarely happens by accident. Remember Moses from earlier? He experienced major positive changes throughout his lifetime. And the same is true for people today.
Through God’s strength and the support of others, people experience life change every day. While everyone’s story is different, they often share one key factor: belief that change is possible.
So spend some time reflecting on your life. Is there a part of your life that feels stuck—where you’ve given up hope? If so, you’re not alone. I’d love to invite you to spend some time each week praying over that area of your life. Ask God to show you a new way to pursue sustainable change and reveal people who can support you. If you need some help getting started, check out this post on prayer.
Change isn’t easy, and there might even be some setbacks. But life change is a life-long process. So don’t let small failures hold you back from consistent practices that can help you grow.
Let’s replace the lie with truth: Through God’s power, change is possible, so I won’t let negative self-talk rob me of my God-given potential.
Stop Letting Lies Hold You Back
We can try to change on our own power, or we can access God’s power as we work toward change. So which will you choose? Will you continue to believe the lies holding you back? Or will you embrace truth from God that can fuel lasting transformation?
Lies have the power to drain, distract, and destroy our motivation to change. So let’s confront the lies we’re telling ourselves with truth today so we can pursue lasting life change in the future.
Now, ready to meet future-you? Who they will be depends on the choices you make today and every day—and the way you continue to invite God, with His loving power, into your process of change.
Are you ready to start fresh? If so, check out the Bible Plan in the button below. It’s full of powerful wisdom from Pastor Craig Groeschel’s book, The Power to Change.
You can order a copy of Pastor Craig Groeschel’s book The Power to Change here.