I read something the other day that’s been running through my mind ever since: “The system you have in place today is set up to get exactly the results you are getting today.” Since then, I’ve tried to challenge myself to have different reactions than I would typically have.
For example, my husband and I seem to mainly argue about the same few things, and pretty much in the same way each time. Sometimes, I feel like our arguments might as well be replays of the last one. One Saturday night, I felt all my familiar frustrations and emotions rising. I knew exactly how things would play out, the frustration, the fuming, and eventually, the apologies.
Suddenly, I thought What if I just skip to the apology? I changed my expression, sincerely apologized, and owned my contribution to our situation. It took a second for him to believe me, but he was quick to let his anger go as well, and just like that, we had our evening back. I was grateful that I’d tried something new.
Another example has to do with endless heated discussions on social media. Again, the idea to try something radically different came to mind. I signed out of all social media and deleted the apps on my phone. I made a reading list of articles and books covering both sides of a few issues and started reading them to be able to come to more informed conclusions.
I thought, If I am really looking for the truth that God promises to guide me into,1 the only way is to educate myself, learn to listen, and see where He leads me. I still don’t have a comprehensive understanding of some issues, and I’m sure this will be an ongoing process, but I feel like I’m growing in understanding rather than continuing to feel stuck and helpless.
God’s Word promises us His power to change: “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.”2 “Walk in newness of life.”3 “Put on your new nature.”4
These verses refer to the transformation we undergo when we become a follower of Jesus, but “old” doesn’t just mean who we were before we knew Jesus; it’s also whoever we are now without His guidance. My natural reactions, weaknesses, and habits aren’t what define me; what matters is who I am after Jesus transforms me.
1. See John 16:13, 2 Timothy 2:15, James 1:5.
2. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
3. Romans 6:4
4. Ephesians 4:24 NLT