It’s been said that the hardest part of any unfamiliar journey is the first step. Once we take this monumental first step, we may find there are more things to change than we anticipated.

For example, we may need to change how we view and respond to others in our life, or maybe we need to change our perspective on the situation and circumstances. Perhaps we need to change our attitudes, behaviors, and/or expectations. We may even need to change why we are motivated to change in the first place.

Our willingness to identify and commit to specific areas of change will greatly affect our ability to implement change.

There may be many things we need to change on our journey. Everyone’s list will be different. For me, I knew one of the first things I needed to change was how I viewed myself. I had an identity crisis that defied all logic. I’d spent so much time ignoring my issues and needs, I lost myself in the process.

The first step in exercising true courage is to be honest with yourself and make the commitment to change the things in life that aren’t working.

In my case, I had to stop unhealthy habits and start making healthy choices. I had to stop living in fantasyland, pretending everything was sunshine and lollipops. I had to stop repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. And I had to stop allowing myself to be in bondage to fear-based choices, whether real or imagined.

Because my own life was such a dysfunctional mess, I developed a clever (and not so unusual) habit. In order not to address my own problems and pain, I spent the majority of my time trying to fix the problems and pain of others. The Bible addresses this bad habit in no uncertain terms:

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” Matthew 7:3, NLT

No matter how we spin it, the fact remains, while we can influence the responses, actions, and reactions of others, we cannot change them. My counselor helped me understand and accept this fact, this bottom line: it’s the other person’s choice to change (or not), and it’s God’s job to do the changing (or not).

Everything changed when I felt the Spirit of God convict me of the first major COURAGE step I needed to take, the C step: “Commit to Change,” beginning with a commitment to change myself. I had to stop focusing on how my husband, or other people in my life, needed to change and start focusing on changing the one person I could change: me.

To read more of my own personal journey and learn about the Seven Steps to COURAGE, check out my book Courage For Life.

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