Before I came to know the Lord, I "changed" myself as time went on in my life. I forced myself to enunciate an "R" instead of my Boston "AH" in everything I said; popularity in the 60s and 70s had to include sex and alcohol…no prob...we all jumped on the "get groovy" train. As soon as the ink was dry on my BS degree, I was told I need a Master’s degree, so gotta keep up, right? On and on we go, trying to go from good to better to best.
There's nothing wrong with that; my point is that it is only external. The best of both worlds is to have the internal transformation in Christ, which will fill you with the real "riches" of life, as you pursue your dreams. Remember – you cannot "build" the qualities God requires of you. Your personal qualities are broken and inferior; they are limited in scope and ability. You might as well put new drywall and paint over rotted, termite infested frames and wonder why it never works. God's qualities can never be constructed with our inferior tools; they can only be accepted and received, and then let them flow through you. Make sure you don't inadvertently use the inferior "contractor" of yourself to make a change, but pray every day for God's fruits to manifest through you. Make room for God in your life's "blueprints" so the "change" you build will be strong and permanent. Galatians 5 tells us the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control! Now that’s some pretty good change, heh? Endure the fire...it's producing pure gold!