Transformation requires a conscious decision and unbending commitment for your life to be different, better. I have broken this process down into five simple steps.
Step 1. Admit that the way you have lived in many of the most important areas of your life has not worked for you, specifically in being driven by emotional dysfunctions.
Step 2. Make a determined choice that you are no longer willing to continue to approach life using the same behaviors and emotions that you have depended on in the past. You must also understand that this journey of change is difficult and will take considerable time.
Step 3. Surrender your emotional dysfunctions—your old patterns, thinking, and behaviors—to God. What does this mean? Initially, it is as simple as praying this commitment aloud in your own words and with conviction. Ask God for help during this process. If prayer does not come easily to you, use the following model taken from St. Ignatius:
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.
Remember, just because you prayed a prayer of surrender does not mean you won’t be tempted to retake control. Change takes time. Surrender in this context is making official your commitment to let go of what has been holding you back. You will need to continue surrendering your emotional dysfunctions every day, sometimes even several times a day, as you work through your issues.
Step 4. Once you say yes to the process of surrender, it is time to build a new life, beginning with constructing new mega-superhighways that will give your life meaning and joy. This course will include a great deal of contemplative prayer and meditation as you deepen your insight into your Self and your journey. This is not a journey to take alone. You are a co-creator with God of a new life. You must do your part. Your own thoughts are your most powerful weapons for transformation. With God’s guidance, you now must build new superhighways by telling your Self a new story about how your life will be. “For as he [a man or woman] thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7 NASB).
Step 5. Find a counselor, professional spiritual advisor, mentor, or support group to guide you on this difficult journey of change. This is critical. I want to be clear that some of the emotional dysfunctions you suffer from cannot be rewired simply by reading a book. Get the help you need going forward.