Today’s Truth

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

(Romans 12:2, NLT)

Friend to Friend

There I stood in the middle of my living room, stomping my foot on the ground like a four-year-old who was told she wouldn’t get the gift she wanted on Christmas morning. But I wasn’t four. And it wasn’t Christmas morning. Nope, I was a cranky middle-aged woman decorating the Christmas tree with one snippy word after another escaping from my mouth, a clear sign that my heart was stirred up and needed attention (Luke 7:45).

My eldest daughter noticed and had the courage call me out. To my dismay, I confessed, “I hate Christmas. It brings back the hardest memories.” Her look of disbelief matched mine as she pressed further, “Mom, how is it that the last twenty years of raising us and making memories together is not enough to outweigh the hard from your past?”

Can you relate to this struggle as you consider the times you wish you were joyful but instead your heart was filled with unwanted emotions? I imagine that is how the apostle Paul felt when he urged the Romans to be careful how they were living by taking hold of their thought life. He wrote: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2, NLT).

Paul certainly had experience in copying the behaviors and customs of the world he lived in, persecuting Christians before God removed the scales from his eyes and commissioned him to be a messenger of the Gospel. No doubt that his familiarity with the ways of the world and the radical transformation he experienced gave him the courage to challenge the Romans to become the people God intended and to uncover His good, pleasing, and perfect will. The same is true for us – at Christmastime and every other day of the year.

But the question is whether or not we’ll let God work in us, even with the things that trigger past memories. Yes, we have a choice. I certainly did at the moment of my outburst when I picked up that ornament from my childhood and it reminded me of all the holidays marred by fights and discord. I could have continued to focus on the pain, but instead I ran to the Lord with my hurting heart and asked God to use even this to help me see His work with fresh eyes. My pain would not define my story because the cross accomplished more for God’s glory.

Consider Paul, again. He went from a persecutor of the Church to a disciple-maker for Christ! From lost to found! From blind to seeing the hope of Jesus with full technicolor vision. God transformed Paul from what he was to who he was still becoming. God is able to do the same for us.

From hurting to healed.

From lonely to loved.

From abandoned to adopted.

From rejected to redeemed.

There’s no need for us to dread this holiday season, or any other occasion that brings up bad memories. God can and will use these opportunities to draw us nearer to Him and show us a new way forward. When we ask God for a new perspective, He will give it to us. He will change our thinking and thereby our living to line up with His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

No, change may not happen overnight, but it can happen over time.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, thank You for creating a way for us to heal from the past pain without forgetting it, and grow through yielding the hardest parts of our lives to You. Make us mindful of the patterns that we fall into, and show us how we can choose a new way by inviting You to transform the way we think and live. Show us, God, what your good, perfect, and pleasing will is for us today.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Would you be willing to commit to setting aside 10 minutes this week to meet with God and lay before Him those triggers you know will come your way over the holidays? Click comment and let us know “I’m in!” and we’ll pray for your time to be healing and life-changing!

Who can you reach out to and ask, “How are you doing this holiday season?” Maybe you can even share this with a friend and confess if you’re struggling, asking for prayer to support you in putting the trap and transform principle into practice.

More from the Girlfriends

Want to learn more about how to change the way you think and live to line up with God’s truth? The Infuse Life Transformation Course available through More to Be will help you do just that!

© 2020 by Elisa Pulliam. All rights reserved.

75 Responses to “Thinking on the Good or the Bad, I Get to Choose”

  1. Pat says:

    I’m in

  2. Dee says:

    I’m in.

  3. Pamela says:

    I’m in. thank you so much for the devotionals. I read them everyday.

  4. Carol says:

    Many happy pre divorce ( not my choice) memories, many lonely post divorce memories.
    I cling to James 1:2-4!

  5. Dannielle says:

    I’m in.

  6. Kim says:

    I’m in

  7. Michelle says:

    I’m in

  8. Tia says:

    I’m in

  9. Rita says:

    I’m in

  10. Brenda says:

    This could have been written just for heart is so heavy right now..I’m angry,bitter and resentful..Please Lord help me to give it all to you and walk away from the pain.

  11. LK says:

    I’m in. How perfectly fitting for me in this season right now!

  12. Priscilla says:

    I’m in!

  13. Paula says:

    I’m in!

  14. Paula says:

    I am in. It is hard because as a woman who grew up in a dysfunctional home, my one desire is to insure my children don’t experience the same. The hardest part of that is in some ways they have sometimes because of actions out of my control. My prayer is God will give me His Perfect Peace as I navigate the next few months.

    There is always a chance for change… In Jesus’ name.

  15. Sheila says:

    I’m in.

  16. Sheila says:

    This was just what I needed today. I sit waiting to hear if my job is terminated. I pray hard that God will grant me grace and mercy and see that I don’t lose my job. Thank you for reminding my that my attitude and outlook on life needs to shine the light of Jesus.

  17. Angie says:

    I’m in.

  18. Judt says:

    I’m in. I never looked forward to holidays even as a child because of all the drama.

  19. Cody says:

    I’m in

  20. Susan says:

    I’m in!

  21. JUDY Price says:

    I lost my sweet husband suddenly in May of this year and the holidays have been a struggle. BUT I have a wonderful family and loving friends but most of all I am learning to lean on God and my faith more and more.

  22. Bertha says:

    I’m in!
    Please Lord help me to give to you all the rejections I have felt not only during the holidays but my entire life. By family, friends and significant other. Please my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, help me with all the hurt from the present and the past and to focus on your promises from you.

  23. Heather says:

    I’m in!

  24. Shelly says:

    I’m in!!! Thank you

  25. Lindsey says:

    I’m in!

  26. Laura says:

    I’m in!

  27. Teresa says:

    I just lost my job. I have no other income to support myself. I’m scared about my future but have been trying to place it in God’s hands. I’m in. Please pray for my situation along with so many others looking for work.

  28. carol says:

    “leaning on the everlasting arms”….I’m in!

  29. Pam says:

    I’m in!

  30. Becky says:

    I’m in.
    Just last night, decorations at a minimal, waves of emotions. Why wasn’t my husband feeling the say way?
    I know you God, I smiled.
    God your timing is perfect. Why would I ever doubt that? Going in circles, calm my anxious heart to see you in ALL things.

  31. Terri says:

    I’m in! Struggling emotionally right now… please pray for me.

  32. Mary says:

    I’m in!

  33. Lana Russell says:

    I’m in!

  34. Sylvie says:

    I’m in…..

  35. Theresa says:

    I dread Christmas every year.

  36. sara says:

    I’m in!!!

  37. Deb says:

    i’m in, I do pray for help dealing with a live-in family member who has dementia and a very frustrated husband who feels overloaded i don;t know what to do or say.

  38. Pamela says:

    I’m in!

  39. Pamela says:

    I’m in! I needed this as well and need prayer for this holiday season. Thank you Lord for the many blessings even the sufferings which teach me to persevere, build character and hope. And hope does not disappoint…

  40. Beth says:

    Boy, I just got called out. But my stuff has nothing to do with Christmas, just a bad experience that I haven’t been able to shake. But God has shown His mercy and love and forgiveness repeatedly since that time, so what’s my problem? This is where I’m AT. I’m IN! All the way in. Thanks for this devotional!

  41. Katy says:

    I’m in!

  42. Shawna says:

    I’m in!!

  43. Leisa says:

    Thanks! I needed that today! I’m in!

  44. Roxanna says:

    I’m in! I lost my son January 16, 2015, he was 28 years old, married with 2 small children. The holidays were his favorite time of the year. He loved the lord with all his heart and loved celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Our first holiday without him was so hard, but I realized that I always must remember to give God praise for the wonderful blessing and memories he gave me for 28 years. I chose to lean on the Lord and remember that one day I will be celebrating with our Lord and my son in heaven.

  45. Sandy says:

    I’m in !!

  46. Petronella says:

    In Christ alone, my solid rock

  47. Liz says:

    With tears flowing, I’m so in. This devotional poked at my heRt in a big way.

  48. Erin says:

    I’m in!!

  49. Dawn says:

    I’m in.

  50. Anna says:

    I’m in

  51. Beth says:

    Boy, did I get called out! My thing isn’t Christmas, but something that I went through a few years back that I can’t seem to shake. God has been so gracious and so good and has turned the situation around ENTIRELY, but there’s something that I just cannot seem to shake. This is right on time! I am DEFINITELY in!!!

  52. Alvita says:

    Im in!!

  53. Monica says:

    I’m in

  54. Lynn says:

    I’m in!

  55. Sharon says:

    I am in

  56. Lena says:

    thank you, I needed this today! I’m in!!

  57. Kathy says:

    I’m in!

  58. Lorri says:

    I’m in❤️

  59. Julie says:

    I’m in…
    Praying for change…

  60. Robin says:

    I’m in!

  61. Donna says:

    I’m in
    I lost my fiancé from Covid on December 4th, the very day we were to be married. He loved the Lord and was saved and I rejoice in that. He loved me and he loved the Christmas season. This is going to be hard. We are burying him today.

  62. Tamika says:

    I’m in…God transform me…Help me to be a light so that I can glorify you…

  63. Deborah. Bright says:

    I’m in!

  64. Cindy says:

    I feel like this was written just for me as well. I had one of those meltdowns just last night. I feel so let down by my family that I was born into, not my husband or daughter that sometimes it seeps through and becomes blame on them. I hate it when I let that happen. I love my family that I was born into, but I had a very tumultuous childhood and not much changed when I became an adult because instead of it being my father, it became my brother. I always felt like I had to be the strong one because the rest of my family was falling apart, but sometimes I needed to be the one to fall apart. I never have been able to go to my mama for much because she’s always had so many of her own issues. She can’t let go of the past and therefore she won’t let me. I almost feel like if she doesn’t have turmoil or something to be sad about, she’ll create it because she is so use to living that way. It drags me down and then I end up taking it out on my husband and daughter. I never mean too. It just runs over me and out my mouth and I hurt them. I need prayer to learn to deal with my born into family and how NOT to take out my anger on my chosen family if that makes sense. Don’t get me wrong I love my mama with all my heart, but sometimes she can be so exhausting and I’ve never had help from my brother because he’s had a drug problem and he’s been the source of most of the heart ache through my adult life. I need prayers to learn to forgive as God has forgiven me of my shortfalls and prayers to learn to love unconditionally and prayers on how to keep my anger from spilling over to the ones I love the most. Thank you!

  65. Jamillie says:

    I’m in Jesus name! Desperately needed this reminder especially this Christmas Season. Thank you. 🙂

  66. Bernadette says:

    I am filled with so much regret because of the poor choices I made before I was a believer. I just can’t seem to forgive myself I guess.

  67. Lea says:

    I’m in. This is exactly what I needed today. Please pray for me.

  68. Linda says:

    Iam In….Just what I needed today..Thank you

  69. Vivian says:

    Sounds like great housecleaning by our Saviour to me…great job Lord, what we all need from time to time. thank you Lord.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8