Lord, how greatly I need your rest. When I feel tired and stressed from the burdens of life, help me to remember that you are always with me and the comforter himself indwells my heart.

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A Little Think

Change...It's A Woman's Prerogative!

Is change part of your New Year's resolution? It might not be the actual word, but the concept -- quit smoking, drop a few pounds, slow down, stop screaming at the kids when you lose it, invest more time in relationships, cook more meals at home -- these all tout change. I don't know about you, but I'm not particularly fond of change. When I interviewed Charles Schultz of Peanuts fame, he admitted he and Charlie Brown both had a habit of leaving things as they are, even if they're not working. In one particular cartoon, Charlie Brown asks Linus, "What would you do if you felt no one liked you?" Linus replies, "I'd see what I could do to improve." Charlie Brown then answers in a way that a lot of us probably would: "I hate that answer!"

If scientists ever discover there is a gene that makes people resistant to change, I'll be the first to admit I have it. I'm fine with the same friends, same home decor, and same summer vacation every year, thank you very much. But then again, I can get out of character and find total strangers fascinating, enjoy new furniture, and enthusiastically plan a trip to a new destination. Sometimes, change doesn't feel quite so intimidating.

I don't know if it's true for everyone, but it seems like change mostly happens to me, much more often than I choose to jump in there and embrace it. Habits are hard to break. I struggled to quit smoking 35 years ago but can't give up sugar now. I work out and feel great, then stop for one week and don't go back for months. Change is scary. You have to want it so much that you'll walk away from something comfortable, delicious, or fun. Think about that little red dress in the closet, the one you haven't worn for ten years. Why do you keep it? Change is hard, but look at changes you have made and how well they worked out. The job loss that forced you to change careers opened a whole new world. And your mistakes -- what have you learned from those great teachers?

My mistakes ultimately force me to look at myself like a broken vase put back together again. Healed again, I remember the lessons and the One who taught them much more clearly than I remember each break and the mess I was in. Think about where and when you "broke," and about those now-mended breaks. One of mine was having to be right, whether I was or not. I did this in a passive-aggressive way. You hardly noticed it, but I felt like I won in the end. That flaw was surgically removed by circumstances that finally transformed me (and happily so), but I didn't like the process one bit at the time. I used to love being the comic who had everyone in stitches, usually with satire and sarcasm. People would have me over just to make them laugh. My funny exterior, however, was a camouflage. It fooled everyone, including me. Of course, that had to go for me to live with myself more successfully, which I've done now for a long time. For years I lived an unfocused life. Now I seek and appreciate a more focused one.

At last, I'm starting to enjoy change. I even seek it out to stretch me beyond my comfort zone; it helps to keep life's surprises from throwing me for such a loop. It reduces boredom and becomes a personal challenge to see to what new heights I can aspire. For me the secret is that I face nothing alone. As my parents used to say, "With Jesus, you can face anything!" That kind of confidence covers whatever is around the bend.

The Bible says if you want to get in touch with God's will for your life -- His good, pleasing, and perfect will -- then "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . ." (Romans 12:2a). Talk about a good change! For me, it's saying to God, "I surrender! The way I'm living my life isn't working all that well. I need Your help. Help me trust You to lead the way in every area of my life. Help me change!" Surrender might sound like going to war and losing, and it is about losing, but it's not being a loser. It's losing the old self that was running the show to put your eyes on the One who will give you a show to follow. We surrender to things without question all the time. When I fly, I surrender to the pilot and the person who tightens the bolts of that airplane. My surgeon was someone to whom I surrendered or my life would not have been spared. I write and record a radio show to send out, surrendering the results to engineers, producers, and radio stations. If we're so willing to surrender to those human, flawed people, surrendering to God should be an even easier choice!

To help out with the healthy changes you'll be embracing this new year, January's Woman to Woman® shows start with Joel Robertson, Ph.D., on changing your brain chemistry to work in your favor, personally and professionally. Dr. Robertson works with high profile Olympic athletes, professional sports teams, and stars of stage and cinema to keep them at the top of their game. Let him influence yours! The next amazing show will be with psychiatrist Dr. Stan Kapuchinski, who wrote, Say Goodbye to Your PDI (Personality Disordered Individual). Dr. Kapuchinski helps us identify and lower the impact of people with whom we can not get along well. These folks cannot be reasoned with, make you feel guilty for what they say or do, and play with your mind until you feel like you're the one who's off center. It's a great show you'll go back to again and again when you're facing challenges (and challenging people!) this year. The following week, Allison Bottke talks about setting boundaries with adult children. Benefit from lessons she's learned the hard way -- she'll help you prepare for some changes you actually can anticipate in your life! Pam Farrel wraps up January with some secrets for living with confidence, the kind of confidence that frees us up to dream and achieve more fulfillment in our lives.

We've planned a great month of visits. I love having you along to meet people who've been where you are and made it through to the other side. Learn from people who understand -- personally and professionally -- some of life's big changes. For extra inspiration, listen to the show again online. I do it every week, sometimes more than once, to catch things that didn't pop out at me the first time. If you're not in the habit of doing that, there's a little change you can make in 2009, right off the bat!

Happy New Year, sister! God has great plans for you this year, so embrace the changes that come your way. Let Him use your circumstances to your advantage. Have a little think about that!

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