Renewing Our Minds
By Noelle Dey
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV
Have you ever wondered who shops at the local 24-hour Super Kmart in the middle of the night?
In the early years of my marriage, it wasn’t uncommon to find me roaming aimlessly, aisle by aisle, at 2:00 am.
Inevitably, it meant that my husband and I had an argument the day before. And although I’m married to the most amazing peacemaker, Ryan is married to a girl who has been known to dig her heels into the ground just to see how deep she could dig.
I tried to give him perspective. I grew up in a home where my mom would hold a grudge for weeks or even months.
As for me, I’d hold my anger for the amount of time that it took to stock up on toilet paper, window cleaner and dog kibbles. Then I would drive back home, sleep for just a bit and wake up extra early for a quiet time.
I can’t count how many journal entries I had with the same revelation:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV
Then, as if on cue, I would wake Ryan up to apologize.
One afternoon, in the middle of a disagreement, Ryan asked, “Can we skip your Super Kmart trip and the early morning wake-up call? You already know God is going to open your eyes in your quiet time tomorrow. Is there a way to fast forward so you can apologize now and so the sun doesn’t go down on your anger?”
My husband spoke the heart of Ephesians 4:26-27. If I dig my heels into the ground, the enemy is also digging his heels into my heart.
I don’t have to wait for my next official quiet time to renew my mind. I can make peace before the sun shines in the morning.
Life is so much sweeter with a peaceful marriage, uninterrupted sleep and a Corgi-Chihuahua mix who no longer eats from the mountainous stockpile of stale kibbles. Interestingly enough, our Super Kmart went out of business… could this be the power of one grudge-holding shopper?
How long does it take you to resolve your conflicts? If it takes longer than it should, here’s what has helped me:
- Step away from the argument and the environment. It’s amazing what happens when I commit myself to prayer in the fresh air. And it’s also remarkable what happens when I let God work on my heart instead of pointing my finger at someone else. (Romans 14:19)
- When you approach the situation again, listen more than you speak and focus on facts (over estrogen-infused feelings). (James 1:19)
- Come to a peaceful agreement - even if it means agreeing to disagree. But do everything in love. (1 Peter 3:11)
- End in prayer. If possible, pray together. If not, pray on your own. (Philippians 4:6-7)
- Laugh. Most arguments aren’t as serious as we pretend they are. Laughter is medicine to the bones! (Proverbs 17:22)
Dear Heavenly Father, You are always waiting with open arms, even when we choose to dig our heels in the sand. Help us to not conform to our personal histories or to the patterns of this world, but help us to be transformed with the renewing of our minds while today is still today. We love You and pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen!
© 2018 by Noelle Dey. All rights reserved.
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