Viewing Life Through God's Lens
Updated: Dec 22, 2021
The holidays are a time of cheer and joy, they are times to get together with family and friends to celebrate God sending his son to Earth. And also, it also brings up stress and big emotions within me.
Since having kids, handling emotions has become a main objective of mine. I want my children to create pleasant memories, I do not want them to relate the holidays with a stressed mom who brings down a joyful moment, seemingly for no reason.
In the past, before I started actively giving every moment of my life to God, I would rely on a little prayer and a lot of self will to get me through the stress.
Before understanding how to dig through my past with God, I would feel ashamed for my angry outbursts.
After I had apologized I would think about what got me to that point.
If I had blown up at my husband for instance, I would create a list in my head of all the tasks he had forgotten to complete on his own. "How dare he make me remind him to do these tasks, he should just know they need to be done". The list would get longer and go back weeks or months before the time of the outburst.
My cry to God sounded like this: "God please allow me to give my husband grace for not being perfect. Take away this feeling of anger and replace it with the patience I need to get through this holiday season."
My list focused on how outward actions (my husbands forgetfulness) affected my inward emotions and eventual outward response. In this scenario I was telling myself "this was out of my control, I can not control the actions of those around me". I could not rely on my husband to magically know what I needed, still I was placing the blame on him and feeling righteous by 'acting like Jesus and giving him grace'.
Here is the same scenario after I dug through my past with God. My angry outburst would still lead to feelings of shame and an apology, the same as before. Then I would start a different approach, asking God to reveal what he needed from me.
Instead of looking for the 'splinter in my husbands eye', I am looking for the 'log in my own eye'. This began an inward look into my reaction.
Why am I angry? Because I feel like I am doing all of the work.
Did I reach out for help? Yes. I had to ask my husband to help me.
Is it his fault that he did not know my every need? No, only God knows my heart.
Why does it anger me that I had to tell him what I need? Because I am uncomfortable asking others for help.
Why am I uncomfortable asking for help? In my past, at a young age, I felt like a burden when I needed help.
What was my reaction to feeling like a burden? I hated this feeling so I taught myself to be as self sufficient as possible.
Is my self sufficiency rooted in pride? No, it is rooted in self preservation. I am protecting myself from the hurt I felt as a child.
When I first completed this introspection it was like a light had gone on over my head.
My past, all the experiences leading up to that very day, clouded the lens through which I saw my present situation. The problem was a deeply ingrained behavior pattern I had taught myself at a very young age.
Up until I had kids I could avoid major outbursts because life was *mostly* manageable.
After kids (or any hard season), when I am pushed to my limit, I need to slow down. Assess where my reactions are coming from instead of falling into the temptation of bitterness and outward blame.
After God had placed the root of my reaction at my feet, it was time to give it over to him.
My new cry to God sounded like: "God, I give you this negative behavior pattern. I am taking control so I can protect my feelings, but in that process I am hurting myself and others. I give up to you the hurt from my past. Break down those walls of protection I have put up. I ask for you to change my heart so my reactions are directed from the Holy Spirit working within me. I want to view life through your perfect lens, not one clouded by my past."
Giving up past experiences to God has brought me a deep sense of peace that carries me through my stressful moments.This is now a constant rhythm in my life, not only during the holiday season. But I find I need it the most at Christmas when worldly expectations pull my focus from God.
Try this when you feel the temptation to lash out under stress. God will reveal the thing that holds you back from a stronger relationship with him. I pray you will have the courage to take the first step, ask God to change your heart. I hope that change unburdens your heart and makes room for the Holy Spirit to work within you. May you experience his deep peace in your life.