Note: This article is the first in a series using the LLJ Heart, Head, Hands and Habits model to focus on the importance of relational realignment within ourselves, others, and especially with God.
We enter the new year with a set of expectations or resolutions. We commit to learning a new skill, reducing debt, losing weight, attending church regularly, or improving relationships. We start with a high level of enthusiasm, saying, “this year I’m going to do it.” But often, things go “off-track,” and we revert back to our old ways.
Don’t beat yourself up! Research shows approximately 80% of us will abandon our resolutions within weeks of the new year. Speaking from personal experience, I must have quit smoking 50 times before quitting permanently in 1984. It was easy to justify or excuse myself. Sound familiar?
- I’m just fitting in and really don’t need it.
- I’m not addicted and can quit at any time.
- I’m stressed. I’ll quit when things slow down a little.
The primary reason we fail isn’t a lack of motivation, it’s our mindset. Most of us just don’t have the self-discipline to achieve our goals without aligning and recalibrating our mindset. In other words, we need to align and recalibrate goals with our mindset to achieve success. According to Life, Hope and Truth (2018):
“When we look at the Bible, we don’t read anything about New Year’s resolutions. But we do read admonitions to be a consistently growing person (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). Real change comes from the “renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2); in other words, changing our character from the inside out.”
If you think about your car, we know that alignments and recalibrations are recommended periodically to maintain peak performance. Alignments adjust the wheel angles to the manufacturer’s specifications, reducing tire wear and ensuring our car travels straight and true (i.e. without “pulling” to one side). A recalibration takes a broader view looking at our car comprehensively. It involves inspecting and replacing common wear items, tuning the engine, and checking the car for other potential problems. Just like our car, our relationships require the periodic alignment and recalibration of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual lives. Fortunately, God provides us with His manufacturer’s specifications. The model for our alignment and recalibration is Jesus. Jesus says (John 13:13-17):
“You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Jesus’ example isn’t just designed to be applied just to one aspect of our lives, such as leadership, but is meant to align and recalibrate all aspects of our lives. According to Philip Kosloski (Aleteia, 2021):
“Jesus did not come merely to teach us how to act, but to fill our entire life with his presence. No aspect of our life should be left untouched by God.”
“Relational alignment means recognizing when our emotions, thoughts, and actions are disconnected. It’s not about trying to be perfect. Rather, its point is to be mindful and aware of ourselves in order to regulate ourselves more successfully, feel better in our own skin, and build fulfilling relationships” (Pivot, 2021). At Lead Like Jesus, we believe modeling Jesus begins with aligning our Heart, Head, Hands, and Habits. The Bible informs, and instructs, us that aligning and recalibrating ourselves to God’s will begins in the heart (Proverbs 3:5-6):
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Expressed differently, when our heart is in alignment with God, He will guide us through the process of aligning and recalibrating the head, hands and habits (i.e. set our path). How did Jesus ensure He was aligned with God?
- He prayed and worshipped God.
- He studied Scripture. Jesus relied on His deep understanding of Scripture to guide His responses and actions; especially when challenged by the Pharisees (Matthew 19:3-9), NLV) or tempted by Satan (Luke 4:3-9, NIV).
- He sacrificed and served others (Matthew 20:28).
- He was consistent in His actions. Whether in prayer (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Matthew 26:39) or other works, Jesus practiced consistency.
Challenge: The realignment of Heart – Head – Hands – Habits will continue next month by exploring the importance of our aligning our thoughts, words and deeds. As St. Gregory of Nyssa, A Treatise on Christian Perfection, explains:
“The life of the Christian has three distinguishing aspects: deeds, words and thought. Thought comes first, then words, since our words express openly the interior conclusions of the mind. Finally, after thoughts and words, comes action, for our deeds carry out what the mind has conceived.”
If you need to align or recalibrate an area of your life, remember the word of His Holiness the Dalai Lana and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (The Book of Joy, 2016), remind us:
“Every day is a new opportunity to begin again.”