This post is an attempt to answer a request one reader had regarding the post "Resolve".
So many of my clients and people I have known along the way, have problems setting a long-term goal and achieving it. The "Won't Power" is stronger than the "Will Power", making them give up just a bit before reaching that goal. "Won't Power" is that strong urge to resist within each one of us that prevents us from losing weight, getting control of finances, etc. It makes self-discipline difficult and seemingly impossible to resolve the issue, therefore, we believe we can't. Some people can resist that "Won't Power" and draw upon that "Will Power" easier than others. Exercising our "Will Power" is uncomfortable, exhausting, and unpopular at times. This is where Resolve comes into play.
Resolve is simply understanding what you truly want to accomplish, setting goals into reasonable, do-able steps and making ones' self accountable in order to achieve the goal. But one of the difficulties seems to be understanding in detail what it is that one would want to do and why. This is where 4-D Living comes in. 4-D Living was introduced in the Spiritual Discipline: Bible Study blog post. This method is mean to help figure out what a problem, dilemma, or situation is in detail, understand what God has to say about it, then set step-wise goals to work out the solution. So here are the 4 Ds:
Write down in detail what your problem, dilemma or issue is from your view point. Don't hold back. An example with someone who wants to lose weight might be feeling picked on or passed over because of size and wanting to be smaller. This section would bring everything out onto the table. Some people see more than one issue. If that comes about, deal with one thing at a time.
Looking into the Bible and other Christian sources, find anything that relates to the situation you described. A topical index and concordance would be very helpful to find what you are looking for in the Bible. There are online tools you can use at biblestudytools.com and biblegateway.com. You may find that there were things you forgot to write down in Describe. Go ahead and add it in, if this is the case. Keep your resources, other than the Bible, to 3-5 sources.
Prayerfully look over what you wrote with what you discovered in your research. What are you seeing? Write those things down. Some things for someone wanting to lose weight might be related to personal value, personal stewardship of the body and food, trusting God, security, etc. If you understand the dynamics behind what you want to accomplish, it makes the goal so much clearer.
This step, which is what Resolve was primarily focused, involves writing down your action plan to achieve your goal. They must be action-oriented steps and you can see progress as you are able to accomplish each of . For example, someone wanting to lose weight might want to change the driving route between work and home, change foods at home, begin or change exercise regimen, write down and post positive traits about one's self, etc. Also find someone you can trust to meet with each week who will encourage you and also correct you in a caring manner when you struggle. Have this person pray with you and for you. Find a suitable non-food reward when you meet your goal. Keep in mind that this could take a while. You might want to have incremental time periods you expect to finish each step and revise if necessary.
The webbing layout in Resolve was meant to help you pull together information that was already roaming in your mind. You can still do that. You may find it helpful coupled with your Describe section. 4-D Living just brings greater detail to your quest to accomplish what you want. It also helps tremendously with problem solving. This does not work well apart from asking God for His insight and input. Real lasting changes work best with God involved. After all, He is our Master Designer!
May God bless you!
4-D Living is based on a course called Spiritual Formation at Winebrenner Theological Seminary using a book that self-published by Professors Constance Cherry and Joyce Thornton called, "Formative Reflection", which I am unable to find in print. This is the best I am able to do to give credit to the appropriate sources.