Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

Last week, CNN posted a wonderful story about a lost sheep named “Chris” – http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/03/asia/sheep-record-wool-shearer/. Chris was found roaming wild outside the Australian capital of Canberra. Sheep typically are sheared once a year, but when they found Chris, his coat had not been sheared in 7 years. As a result, it had become so large that he could barely move. The local humane society took him in, and a champion sheep shearer volunteered to remove his wool. In 47 minutes, the shearer had removed all 89 pounds of Chris’ wool, and he was on his way to a new life.

Chris’ wool is analogous to our self-defeating behaviors. If we engage in them long enough, they can become out of control and weigh us down as well. Such behaviors might be eating too much food, drinking alcohol excessively or smoking. Perhaps we are impatient, hot-headed or simply have a bad attitude. Or maybe we are undisciplined and fail to manage our homes and finances properly. Like Chris’ wool, our self-defeating behaviors burden us and prevent us from being our best.

We all know the behaviors that we need to eliminate. Out of pride, we may not admit our bad behavior to others, but in our hearts, we know the areas where we need help. The good news is that just as the shearer removed Chris’ wool and changed his life, God can help us get rid of our problem behaviors and change our lives for the better. All we have to do is ask.

When we pray and ask God to help us in the areas where we need to change, we accomplish two things. First, we admit that what we are doing is wrong. That is a hard step to take because our natural instinct is to excuse our bad behavior. “I abuse alcohol because other people upset me.” “I’m too busy to clean my house.” “I’m mean sometimes because everyone around me acts like a jerk.” And so on. There is probably a good excuse for every bad behavior. But excuses don’t matter. In life, we either do the right thing, or we don’t. It’s that simple. So when we ask God for help, it’s because we’ve finally come to understand that our excuses are a waste of time, and that we just need to change.

The second thing we accomplish by asking God for help is that we admit that we can’t change without Him. Many years ago, I worked in the courts on foster care cases. A number of my cases involved children who were removed from their homes due to their parents’ drug and alcohol abuse. It was hard for me to understand why people would continue to abuse drugs or alcohol if they could risk losing their children. At the time, my colleague said something very interesting to me. She told me, “People cannot overcome addiction without God.” When we had this conversation, I was young and wasn’t terribly persuaded by her statement. However, over the years I’ve come to realize the truth of what she said. Personal change, whether big or small, doesn’t come without God’s help.

When it comes to our weaknesses, God is the shearer and we are the sheep. We have the ability to go to Him and ask Him to remove the personal demons that keep us from being happy, peaceful, productive individuals. Once we humble ourselves to ask for God’s help, He can work on our hearts and give us the strength to overcome anything.

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