episode is I Can’t. A lot of the material for this
week’s episode was inspired by Craig Groechel’s
book The Power to Change Mastering the Habits
that Matter Most. Note: I will talk a lot about
mental health but please note this is not a
substitute for therapy or mental health care
I am not a counselor or a physician if you need
help with mental health challenges please find
a qualified mental health professional the title
of this week’s episode is I can’t we’ve been deep
in this study on the power to change we just
finished section four of Craig Rochelle’s book
we’re starting section five and this section
was titled God’s power not willpower taking a
deep dive into habits and a lot of us have been
working through starting new habits trying to
maybe eliminate some old unhealthy habits and so
a lot of us should be kind of in the thick of this
trying to make changes and we’re we’re rounding
out the last section of Craig Rochelle’s book
and we’re talking about the importance of tapping
into God’s power and not relying on Willpower so
Craig Rochelle begins this section of the book
by telling a really funny story about a 35 year
old woman in ness Kansas who got stuck sitting on
the toilet for two years and she sat there so long
that her skin started to grow around the toilet
seat which is really gross uh but really funny
too uh and it it said that her boyfriend brought
her food and water each day and would ask her to
come out every day and each day her response
was the same and it would say maybe tomorrow
and you know I I think to some extent we have
all been that woman we have all gotten stuck in
different capacities thinking that maybe tomorrow
will be different you know regardless of what
that is in our lives maybe we’re not sitting on a
toilet for sure but you know we’ve been stuck in a
situation where we hope it would change we wish it
would change we want it to change but we just find
ourselves day after day stuck in the same place so
you know this could be some examples you could be
feeling stuck in a job that you hate you could
be stuck spiritually hoping to take things to
the next level in your walk with God and maybe
you’re overweight and in poor shape and you’re
stuck in that pattern of unhealthy habits and you
wish it to change or you’re desperately wanting
to stop yelling at your kids and have a better
relationship with them maybe you want to spend
more quality time with your spouse and really get
back to dating your spouse and and you just don’t
know how to make it happen and so that you know
the big question we have is how do we get unstuck
how do we get stuck how you know we’re kind of
wanting to make these changes but for one reason
or another we can’t seem to get out of the pattern
that we’re in and that’s kind of the focus I guess
of this section that we’re talking about is how
do we make those changes how do we get unstuck
um and you know after this story Craig Groechel
goes into talking about let’s take a look at the
story of Paul many of you might be familiar with
the story of Paul uh in his journey about for
just for context he was a Jew he was Jewish and
strongly against Christianity and following Jesus
like early on in his life like he was starchly
against it he was persecuting Christians you know
I here I put he went from persecuting Christians
to being a pastor and so you know not to get too
much into the thick of a story but a lot of the
Christians that were following Jesus in the way of
Jesus were scared of Paul when he started coming
around and acting and and doing things the pastor
would do because they knew of his history of
how he persecuted and uh tortured Christians
and so we’re gonna read from Romans chapter 7
verses 15 through 24 of the New Living Translation
and so this is Paul’s account in in this section
it says I don’t really understand myself for
I want to do what is right but I don’t do it
instead I do what I hate but if I know that what
I am doing is wrong this shows that I agree that
the law is good so I am not the one doing wrong
it is sin living in me that does so this is you
know this first section this is Paul’s struggle
with sin and trying to make changes so he’s really
a great example of someone that’s trying to make
changes in his life that we can draw from uh
continuing on it says and I know that nothing
good lives in me that is in my sinful nature
I want to do what is right but I can’t I want
to do what is good but I don’t I don’t want to do
what is wrong but I do it anyway but if I do what
I don’t want to do I am not really the one doing
wrong it is sin living in me that does it uh it
says I have discovered this principle of life that
when I want to do what is right I inevitably do
what is wrong I love God’s law with all my heart
but there is another power within me that is at
war with my mind the power this power makes me a
slave to the sin that is still Within Me Oh What
a miserable person I am who will free me from
this life that is dominated by sin and death
so here you know Paul’s account we can really see
the struggle that he’s going through and just how
miserable he is in this process of trying
to make changes uh to be more like Christ
um so it’s just a great parallel to what we are
doing in our lives as we try to make changes
uh let’s see here I have uh it says we can all
relate to Paul because he was confessing that
he was dying inside Paul wanted to do what God
wanted but he was stuck in patterns of sin and
wrong thinking bad habits and addictive behavior
he had tried and tried and nothing had worked
so you know as I was saying Paul’s story is
so relatable and relevant to what many of us
are today and you may Wonder or think why was
Paul stuck uh and then again you know we have
to ask why do we get stuck uh and here’s what
we’ve learned okay from our study so far it
says it could be we put do before who so we’re
putting what we’re doing before who we’re becoming
uh we try instead of train we hope for change
instead of starting and stopping the right and
wrong habits we do occasionally what we should
do consistently these are all lessons that we’ve
built on throughout the study and these are you
know putting them into perspective of why we may
be stuck Craig Rochelle says we stay stuck because
we rely on Willpower instead of God’s power in his
book it says the problem with my situation and and
probably your situation is we mistakenly believe
that we can do it that we can on our own make
the change that we want to see in our lives and
the truth is is that we can’t you might say now
wait a minute Craig this is not very motivating I
mean you’re not really helping me feel encouraged
Lifting me up this is really kind of a downer and
just bear with me I’m going somewhere with this
that I know the truth hurts sometimes to hear but
I I really am getting somewhere so just bear with
me it says far too long you and I go about trying
to do something in our own power and maybe you’re
trying to quit a bad habit and you say to yourself
I can quit whenever I want you know we’ve all
heard that person when they’re confronted with
their bad habits or lifestyle and someone says
well why don’t you quit this and they say well I
can quit whenever I want and you know you probably
heard that from someone they believe they can stop
whatever they’re doing at any time and tell me if
this Rings true for you maybe you aren’t trying to
quit something maybe you’re trying to lose weight
or get in shape you insist you could lose those
extra pounds if you tried after giving it your
best for 28 days you you lost a lousy two pounds
so Friday night you decide you deserve a nice
meal after working hard all week and Saturday
morning rolls around and you hit snooze thinking
I’ve gone to the gym regularly for 28 days I can
sleep in a little and suddenly you find yourself
back into that old routine I mean you did really
well you lasted 28 days right you know maybe
you’re you’re not trying to lose weight but
hopefully you can relate to this scenario is that
you try really hard for a good amount of time
and then one thing leads to another
one you know one time you’re justifying
you know I deserve just a little bit of reward
for my hard work and then the next thing you know
you’re back into your old habits so the question
is what do we do like we’re all trying to make
changes we’ve gone about learning all about making
new habits stopping habits like what do we do here
uh and so in a study researched researchers
discovered that willpower is a limited resource
uh in Western culture it’s very common to talk
about willpower I I don’t know if that’s the
common uh thing throughout the world but you
know this concept of willpower of internally
being able to motivate myself to do whatever
it is I’m trying to do or stop doing that’s
what we’re talking about here so it says if you
try this process again this process of losing
weight right most likely you’ll end up in the
same place adding more guilt and shame to your
struggle and this eventually leads you to make
statements like I always screw up maybe you call
yourself a loser or a failure in your head and you
start talking negatively to yourself in verse 24
of Romans 7 it looks like it says Paul slipped
into the same shame cycle when he cried out in
Romans 7. oh what a miserable person I am and
it’s important for us to realize that willpower
just doesn’t work uh like I said just a second
ago or a minute ago it it’s very limited and
it’s very unpredictable willpower and with
Paul’s next words uh Paul asked the tortured
question who will free me from this life that
is dominated by sin and death like you know you
may say Paul’s being a little over dramatic but
really you can see the struggle he’s going through
so we have uh exercise for this section it says
as you work through this exercise consider the
progression after feeling stuck long enough we
can feel dead after we feel dead long enough we
can feel shame after we feel shame we give in
and give up so there’s the progression and it
says be honest about the depth of any places where
you feel that things can’t change this is where
it really applies to our brain health or mental
health is let’s be honest about these areas and
think about this it says uh what about places
in my life where I feel stuck so it gives us
this topic gives us a blank to kind of fill in uh
next item is places in my life where I feel dead
uh that’s the second one and then third we
have places in my life where I feel shame
so the first progression is maybe we feel stuck
in something we’re trying to change that goes
on long enough and we start to feel dead like
we can’t affect change and then third as we
start to feel this shame internally and this
shame is where a lot of uh negative thought
patterns arise of really talking to ourselves
in a way we would never talk to other people
uh the principle for this section is you think
you can but you can’t that passage of scripture
is Romans 7 21-23 of the New Living Translation
says I have discovered this principle of life that
when I want to do what is right I inevitably do
what is wrong I love God’s law with all my heart
but there is another power within me that is
at war with my mind the power makes me a slave
to the sin that is still within me that’s all
for this episode thank you for watching if you
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Craig Groeschel begins the section by telling a funny story about a thirty-five-year-old woman in Ness, Kansas, who got stuck sitting on the toilet for two years.1
She sat there so long her skin grew around the toilet seat.1
Her boyfriend brought her food and water and asked her to come out every day.1
Each day her response was, “Maybe tomorrow.”1
I think to some extent, we have all been that woman. We have all gotten stuck in different capacities thinking that maybe tomorrow will be different.
Sure, you might not be stuck on the toilet, but we all get stuck in a situation.
It could be:1
- A job you hate
- You are stuck spiritually, hoping to take things to the next level.
- You are overweight and in poor shape.
- You desperately want to stop yelling at your kids.
- Maybe you want to spend more quality time with your spouse.
So, how do we get unstuck?
Let’s take a look at the story of Paul.
He was Jewish and strongly against Christianity and following Jesus.
After a magnificent encounter with Jesus, he was radically changed.
He went from persecuting Christians to being a pastor.
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”Romans 7:15-24 NLT
“We can all relate to Paul because he was confessing that he was dying inside.
Paul wanted to do what God wanted. But he was stuck in patterns of sin, wrong thinking, bad habits, and addictive behavior.
He had tried. And tried. And nothing had worked.”1
Paul’s story is so relatable and relevant to where many of us are today.
You may wonder, “Why was Paul stuck?” Then again, why do we get stuck?
Here is what we have learned.
It could be because:1
- We put do before who.
- We try instead of train.
- We hope for change instead of starting (and stopping) the right (and wrong) habits.
- We do occasionally what we should do consistently.
“We stay stuck because we rely on willpower instead of God’s power.”-Craig Groeschel
The problem with my situation and probably your situation is we mistakingly believe that we can do it.1
The truth is we can’t.1
You might say, “Now, wait a minute, Craig, that is not very motivating.”
Sometimes the truth hurts. Understand I am going somewhere with this.
For far too long, you and I go about trying to do something in our own power. Maybe you are trying to quit a bad habit, and you say to yourself, “I can quit whenever I want.”
Tell me if this rings true for you.
Maybe you aren’t trying to quit something. Maybe you are trying to lose weight or get in shape. You insist you could lose those extra pounds if you tried.
After giving it your best for 28 days, you lost a lousy two pounds!
So Friday night, you decide you deserve a nice meal after working hard. Saturday morning rolls around, and you hit snooze thinking, “I’ve gone to the gym regularly for 28 days, I can sleep in a little.” And suddenly, you find yourself back into your old routine.
I mean, you did really well. You lasted 28 days.
So what do we do?
In a study, researchers discovered that willpower is a limited resource.2
If you try again, most likely, you will end up in the same place, adding more guilt and shame to the struggle. This eventually leads to statements like, “I always screw it up.” Maybe you call yourself a loser or a failure.1
“Paul slipped into the shame cycle when he cried out in Romans 7, ‘Oh, what a miserable person I am!’ (v. 24 NLT).”1
It’s important for us to realize that willpower doesn’t work.
“With his next words, Paul asked the tortured question, ‘Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?’
(v. 24 NLT).”1
As you work through this exercise, consider this progression:
- After feeling stuck long enough, we can feel dead.
- After we feel dead long enough, we can feel shame.
- After we feel shame, we give in and give up.
Be honest about the depth of any places where you feel you can’t change.
Places in my life where I feel stuck:
Places in my life where I feel dead:
Places in my life where I feel shame:
You think you can, but you can’t.
“I have discovered this principle of life–that when I want to do what is right, l inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.”Romans 7:21-23 NLT
 Groeschel, C. (2023). The Power to Change: Mastering the Habits That Matter Most. Zondervan.
 Roy F. Baumeister et al., “Ego Depletion: Is the Active Self a Limited Resource?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74, no. 5 (1998): doi.org/10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2062; Hans Villarica, “The Chocolate-and-Radish Experiment That Birthed the Modern Conception of Willpower,” Atlantic, April 9, 2012, www.theatlantic .com/health/archive/2012/04/the-chocolate-and-radish-experiment-that-birthed-the-modern-conception-of-willpower/255544.