“We never give up. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day. These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen”—2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (CEV).

January is almost over. If you vowed to make changes in 2017, have you made any progress? Change is difficult even for the most self-disciplined of us.

It’s easier to get stuck in a rut than it is to get out. I believe most of us have been there. We get comfortable in our routines—our comfort zones—and we’d rather remain where we feel safe. Getting out of the boat means we’re vulnerable.

Remember Peter. As Jesus walked on the water toward the boat full of disciples, Peter said, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” Jesus replied.

Peter stepped out of the boat. Even though he could see Jesus walking toward him on the water, his fear of the strong winds led him to take his eyes off of Jesus. What happened? His faith deserted him and he began to sink.

In Matthew 14:31, we’re told, “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ He said, ‘why did you doubt?’”

Doubt can hold us back from making changes in our lives. We focus instead on the “What ifs.”

What if I fail? What if I make the wrong choice? What if others think I’m crazy?

Does it really matter what others think? Before Jesus became the Lord of my life, I was more concerned about what other people thought about me than what my Savior did. This led to a life of people-pleasing and stress. I felt I had to prove my worth.

When our worth is wrapped up in other people’s opinions, we’re afraid to step out in faith to become the person God created us to be. When Jesus walked the earth, performing miracles, many were afraid to admit their belief in the Son of God.

In John 12:42-43, we’re told that many of the leaders believed in Him, but “because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue. For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”

I wasn’t seeking God’s praise when I became aware of needed changes in my life over 15 years ago. I was lost. I needed direction. I admitted my need for Him. Although I hadn’t hit rock bottom yet, I knew I needed something else in my life to fill that God-sized hole that I’d been filling with the approval of others.

We must focus on the unseen, the eternal, to make permanent changes. Ask yourself, “What would I do for Jesus if I were guaranteed success?”

You just might be surprised by the changes in your life.

Carol Round is a transplanted Okie, originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, who now resides in Grove. In addition to writing a weekly faith-based column, “A Matter of Faith,” Round spends time with her grandchildren, shooting photos, hiking, working in her yard, reading and studying the Word, volunteering at her church and going on mission trips. For more information, or to contact Round, persons interested may contact her at carol@carolaround.com.