“How Can I?” vs “How Come?”

There are different perspectives we can have in life. One example is a “How can I?” mentality – How can I get this done? How can I overcome this? How can I or we get through this? In contrast, there are those who go through life stuck on “How come?” – How come this happened to me? How come this keeps happening to me?  When you think about it, we all want to improve and make positive changes in our lives, our marriages, our walk with Christ, our relationships, and our careers.  We want to see the positive changes that can make improvement in our lives. The reality that most people miss is that change doesn’t come from the outside in, but the inside out. Real lasting change doesn’t come because the circumstances in our life have changed, but because we’ve changed – something has changed inside of us.  If you want your work situation to change, you need to change something inside of you – an attitude or perspective needs to change.   If you want your relationship to change for the better, it needs to change from the outside in.

So many people in our world are clamoring – “How come this?” and “How come that?” They all want change to occur from the outside that will then affect their own lives. They’ve got this all wrong.  They need to reverse it. Real, lasting, meaningful change happens from the inside out.

But, here’s what we do sometimes; we practice avoidance.  We avoid that crucial conversation with that important individual in our lives. We avoid solving the problems in our lives because many times we are unwilling to acknowledge them, and unwilling to name or identify them. We think if we ignore them, maybe they’ll go away. That’s the avoidance problem. When we avoid those things, they don’t just go away.  For example, if you keep spending money on that credit card even though you don’t have the money to pay it off at the end of the month, ignoring it and avoiding reality isn’t going to make it go away.

When I was a teenager, I did some really dumb things. I had a few speeding tickets. I got my license when I was 15 yrs old. I thought the city of Albuquerque would be so busy with all the business of the city that they would forget about my outstanding traffic tickets that I didn’t pay. I thought they would get lost in the computer system, so I avoided paying those speeding tickets. Guess what happened? I got stopped, and the computer registered that I had an outstanding traffic violation and I got arrested!! See, avoiding something doesn’t make it go away; it can actually make things worse.

Refusing to take action diminishes your opportunities and minimizes your options. If we make a shift from the “How come all this is happening?” or “How come this happened?” outlook, it will empower us. A “How can I?” outlook gets us to stop blaming our circumstances and instead find ways to make the changes in our life that are necessary, with God’s help.

I want to encourage you. If you’ve been stuck in the “How come?” outlook, make a shift and start asking, “How can I?”  Scripture says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” When I start to look to God and not to my circumstances or to others, it’s amazing the things that can begin to happen for the better. We can begin to make progress in the areas that we want to make progress in. I want to encourage you if you’ve been stuck in the “How comes?” in life, to make a shift today and start telling yourself, “How can I?” Let that become a prayer you offer up to God. It may be related to a relationship or marriage. Start saying, “How can we start making the changes necessary?” “How can we move forward?”

No one wants to live in the rearview mirror. You can only move forward in life when you’re looking straight ahead.

I pray you go out and live God’s best today!

Have a great week!


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