Were you the type of girl who made vows about how you were going to do life a whole lot differently when you grew up? I certainly did, as I dreamed about securing a high-paying job, finding my knight in shining armor, and having no more than two perfectly well behaved children. Shall we say that’s not how my life turned out?

“High paying” has never defined any of my jobs. My husband shines with the armor of God upon him, for which I am very grateful, but there’s no horse to be found. And as they say in basketball, I went from man-on-man with the first two girls to zone defense when the twins were born.

Funny how we like to plan our course, but the Lord establishes our steps {Proverbs 16:9}.

Maybe that’s because He’s concerned with what’s going on inside our hearts while we’re consumed with what’s happening everywhere else {1 Samuel 16:7}. It’s like the linoleum tile that was pulled up during a kitchen renovation in one of the homes we lived in years ago. Underneath the fake-brick flooring was a layer of flowery patterned vinyl. Below that was darker version, and yep, below that one was a lighter one. The former homeowners swung from one extreme to the other, much like we do when we make vows about our future.

While we’re pressing on toward change, God is waiting for access to our hearts.

“I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.” {Jeremiah 17:10, MSG}

God most certainly got hold of my heart in college, and gave me fresh hope when I put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. In light of eternity, those vows I made about my future changed, but my dissatisfaction for the present continued. My issues kept getting in the way — like a critical spirit, anger, worry, and never-ending fears. Going to church, attending Bible study, and praying didn’t seem to fix it, and neither did all the self-control I could muster.

I was so intent on “dealing with the top layer of linoleum” that I couldn’t see what was happening below the surface, yet ignoring it was only causing more chaos in my life. By God’s grace, He used my husband and a dear friend to challenge me to get help, which led to a decision to go for counseling. My counselor gently led me through the process of seeking the Lord about the layers-upon-layers hidden with my life.

Sometimes we have to look back in order to grow forward.

This reflective journey wasn’t about remembering — it was about seeking God for His perspective in order to move forward whole, healthy, and grounded in the Truth. By taking the time to get honest with God about the state of my heart, He didn’t change my past but transformed my understanding of His faithfulness, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. In many ways, it was like removing the old linoleum in order to build upon a solid foundation for the future.

This process of embracing truth is what I’ve come to call the Trap & Transform Principle. It’s simply the habit of taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ {2 Corinthians 10:5} and seeking to be transformed by the renewing of our minds {Romans 12:2}. It’s a daily choice to walk in Truth, seeking God in the process of reconciling the past while giving to Him every present-day offense, disappointment, insecurity, and warped way of thinking.

Embracing life change isn’t about waking up one morning and being totally different. It’s about inviting God to transform us over the long haul, one belief at a time.

Is it time for you to pursue God for real life change from this new perspective? Oh, friend, God longs to get deeper into your heart and mind, so that He can bring about that change you crave and transform you from the inside out.

Related: Be inspired with words of truth — ‘you are braver than you know‘ — with this fun canvas plaque on your wall.

  • Renae

    I’m definately at this place in my life right now. It’s so amazing how The Lord gives us just what we need, just when we need it. I’ve been pealing back the layers for a while now. I’m anxious to see what lies ahead!!!

    • Elisa Pulliam

      Renae, thank you so much for sharing how the Lord is meeting you today, even through these words. Isn’t it amazing how He knows exactly what we need and when we need it!

  • A

    Elisa, thank you for this uplifting and clarifying post this morning. As I reconcile my past and move forward into the future plans Jesus has for me, it can be scary but beautiful to see Him walking with me through each baby step. There is a great hope in that. I love how you talked about “It’s a daily choice to walk in Truth, seeking God in the process of reconciling the past while giving to Him every present-day offense, disappointment, insecurity, and warped way of thinking.” That is the challenge of healing these things. May each of us walk in His Truth reconciling and letting go :)

    • Elisa Pulliam

      Scary and beautiful — yes, that does describe the healing process, doesn’t it! I give God glory for the hope He’s put in your heart and pray, too, that we may walk in His Truth, reconciling and letting go!

  • ark3377@aol.com

    Love the trap & transform idea on taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ! I was blessed by your article Elisa totally related to the layers of linoleum lol
    We tend to cover over what we don’t like instead of dealing with its removal. My husband’s family is dealing now with layers that have been buried and are surfacing. The Lord like you said & I love~ is waiting to change our hearts! smile emoticon

    “While we’re pressing on toward change, God is waiting for access to our hearts” Elisa Pulliam

    • Elisa Pulliam

      Oh yes, Linda — it’s our nature to cover up the mess rather than deal with it. May the Lord give us courage to look at life from His perspective and walk out the Truth together!

  • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

    yes! inviting God to transform us is def where hope is found. we are sure good at trying on our own aren’t we?! Looking back IS a great way to grow forward. Loved that.

    • Elisa Pulliam

      Jenny, thanks for sharing how this post hit you. May God fill you with fresh hope on this transformation journey!