Almost everyone has a besetting sin or a struggle that holds them back in life. Most people have more than one. If you’re stuck and can’t beat your issue, you need a plan. Yes, God is enough, but sometimes a plan from someone who can say “I’ve struggled with your issue and I’ve won this battle in the 21st century, and here’s how,” can be the x-factor. Here are five steps to take your issue head on.
- Find a winner who’s beaten your struggle
There’s only so much help you can get from sharing your struggle with others who struggle with the same thing; you also need to share your struggle with someone who has overcome it. Find someone who has beat the same obstacle and ask them how they did it. You will find inspiration and hope in their story. Ask them for advice and don’t critique or ignore what they say! If they are willing to mentor or coach you, submit yourself to their authority. Don’t be the couch potato who visits the gym and tries to tell the conditioning coach that their technique is wrong.
- Find a proven plan from a winner
You’ve got to have a plan to overcome something that keeps beating you up. Dave Ramsey says, “You can wander into debt, but you can’t wander out,” and this principle is true for all problems. You’ll need to make a strategic effort to chart a new course. Don’t make up your own plan. You’ve been trying your own way long enough and it’s not working – you need to start doing what works. Here are some examples of plans that might address something that’s holding you back. Financial problems? Work Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball and Baby Steps. Marital issues? Go through Emerson Eggerichs’ Love and Respect series. Pornography? Apply the principles from Dr. Doug Weiss’s Clean book and journal. Before you commit to the plan, just be sure it doesn’t contradict your principles and that it’s sustainable.
- The power of commitment
Once you’ve done your research and picked a plan, you’ve got to be fully committed to it and willing to move heaven and earth to stick to it. “Sorry Joe, I can’t go out tonight. As a part of my commitment to this Emerson Eggerichs plan, I promised to take my wife out to dinner tonight.” “No Patty, I can’t go shopping this weekend – I’m on the Dave Ramsey budget.” “Hey Bill, I’ve got to go home and finish my reading and discussion questions for men’s accountability group tomorrow morning.” Think about why you’re fighting this battle – you’ve got to want it bad enough to make it happen.
- Don’t critique the plan or the advice of the plan’s champions
If you hear yourself saying phrases like the ones following, stop – these mindsets will kill your chances for success! “I’m going to skip this part of the plan because I think it’s for people whose issues are more serious than mine.” You’re wrong – do the whole plan! “I think I’ve made enough progress that I can quit coming to the group or doing the homework.” Keep the pedal to the medal until you’ve reached your goal! “I already know all of this so it won’t help.” But are you doing it? “I understand the reasoning behind this part of the plan, but I think I can come up with a better or more efficient way.” You’re dreaming! You obviously can’t do this better or you wouldn’t be seeking help, and you would have already conquered the problem!
- Find others to do the plan with you and hold each other accountable
It helps to have friends going through the same thing you are, to keep you going. They will also be able to share great advice and ideas. Work on building long-term relationships with these people so that when the plan is over, you will not be on your own again and you can keep checking in with each other. Many churches already offer groups for specific issues – like Financial Peace University for money, accountability groups for men’s purity, or small groups for building marriages. If your church offers a group that you could benefit from, don’t let your pride hold you back from joining it!
If you find a plan and stick to it, and your goals are in line with God’s goals, I guarantee you’ll beat whatever you’re fighting since you can do anything through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13)! Don’t forget to pray! You’ll need God’s help in your battle; you’ll need the Holy Spirit to empower you. Fight and plan with all your strength as if it all depends on you. Pray as if it all depends on God.