Many of the old temptations I used to have are really not temptations at all anymore. I LOVE that! This is GREAT news, ladies!
I have ZERO desire to say hateful things to my husband, to criticize him, lecture him, boss him around, complain, argue, disrespect him or try to control him anymore. In fact, I almost never even THINK that stuff anymore. God has changed me profoundly. And those were VERY strong temptations at the beginning of this journey. Now, you could not pay me to say some of the things I used to say to him. I know exactly the damage I would be causing, and I just can’t do that anymore – PRAISE GOD!
You know how when you are starting to learn respect and submission, saying admiring things and praising your husband feels like speaking a foreign language and feels awkward? Well, now, saying the awful old things feels awkward, foreign and icky. I hope that will be very encouraging news to those of you beginning your journey! God can and will change and renew your mind and heart.
But temptations do not end. We are still human and still on this earth. I am still a wretched sinner in total need of Christ every moment.
Now, there are still temptations, some old ones, and some new ones (this comes with the territory of the later stages of this journey):
- There are still temptations to commit idolatry. It could be easy to make rituals idols, or even respect an idol, or ministry an idol – almost anything could become an idol! My heart is an idol factory – and I have to CONSTANTLY be on guard for idols. I have a rebellious, stubborn, wandering heart. I pray that God will bind me to Himself!
- There are still temptations to do other things and put off spending time with God – especially when the schedule is very busy. Not a good thing to do! I MUST have that time with Him, or I am worthless to my family and everyone else!
- There are still temptations to have impure motives. The difference now is that I can recognize them much more quickly. I have to CONSTANTLY ask God to check my motives and purify my motives to be sure that what I am doing is for the right reasons. Every thought still must be captured for Christ! That battle never goes away. Am I doing this for my glory, to make myself look good? Why do I really want to do this thing? Or am I doing it purely for the glory of God? The human heart is wicked and deceitful above all things. I can easily deceive myself. I need God’s Word and His Spirit to constantly search my soul for sin with that intense spotlight of God.
- I must still be sure I am holding nothing back from Jesus daily. I have to examine my heart. Is there something that I want to say, “You can have everything, Jesus – except for THAT!” I have to be sure that I am fully surrendered and yielded to Him and His will.
- I must still die to self daily. And I must still be prepared for those moments when self suddenly tries to come down off the cross. I’ve got to have the hammer and nails ready! Not my will, but Yours, be done, Lord!
- There is still the temptation to run ahead of God – with writing posts, wanting to write a book, wanting to see things happen for others or in my family. Thankfully, God’s Spirit usually reminds me QUICKLY to stop and wait now. And I don’t view waiting with the loathing I used to! I want to learn every single lesson along the way. The waiting is the most important part! That is where my faith is often tested.
- There is temptation for me to think I am too important here. Pride can set in easily. I have to always be vigilant about that. God is what people need, not me. God is the necessary ingredient here – and His power. I am just a jar of clay for Him to pour through. I am not the essential one. And if God decides to – He can remove me from the picture, and His purposes and plans will still carry on just fine without me.
- It is tempting for me to think if I just explain the “right way” enough – women will understand all of this stuff. Sometimes I have to let women go. I cannot be God’s Spirit. I can’t open people’s eyes. I can present the truth, but I can’t control when and how and where people will see it. I have to present and then allow God’s Spirit space and time to do His job. I can’t force anyone to understand and learn when they are not ready. Some women have heard me out, and then chose to rebel against God and His Word. And I had to let them go. That is REALLY hard. It is tempting to try to cling and make them go God’s way. But that is not my place! I prayed for them daily. But you know what? God has brought many of them back to Himself! Not me. I didn’t do it. But He has done this. What a mighty God we serve! He is so very good, all the time. Regardless of circumstances.
- It is a temptation for me to take on the weight of other people’s problems. I used to do that. But, thankfully, now, God has shown me how to lay the burdens down at His feet and not carry any of the weight. I am really glad for that! All that weight would crush me. So, I don’t carry it, I trust God to do that. But it is a temptation, and I must guard against it.
- There is a temptation to miss opportunities God is giving me. I don’t want to ignore or miss ONE!
- If someone treats my husband with disrespect, it is REALLY, REALLY tough for me to sit quietly and not say something. I have spent 4 years now learning to respect this man and honor his leadership – and it completely eats me up if someone else is disrespectful to him or tries to control him. I get UPSET. I want to step in and rescue him. I actually emailed Laura Doyle (“The Surrendered Wife”) about this issue a few years ago, and she had very wise advice for me. She said, “the respectful thing to do here is to trust him to handle his own relationships and his business without your interference.” Well, that makes sense! How come I couldn’t have come up with that!?!? So now, I remain quiet and trust him to take care of himself in his relationships and dealings with people.
- If I see a wife disrespecting her husband, trying to control him and treating him like he is an idiot – WOW! – I have a HARD time witnessing that and not intervening. But I know it would be disrespectful and ineffective for me to rush over and try to tell a wife what to do. I would probably get slapped – or shot. So I haven’t intervened so far! It is definitely not my place AT ALL to be the respect and submission police. That is the Holy Spirit’s job. I am not the Holy Spirit. But still, it is a HUGE temptation for me to interject myself when I see women being disrespectful, condescending, negative and controlling with their men. Thoughts definitely enter my mind! I want them to find the intimacy, joy and peace God has shown me. And it is excruciating to see the pain those husbands are in! But I have to be patient and allow God to work in His time. I can’t just go around trying to force wives to learn about God’s design. I need to only work with the women God brings to me who are ready to learn and ready and able to hear.
- I cannot stand to hear women bashing their husbands/boyfriends/ex-husbands. That makes me want to run screaming out of the building. It is like nails scratching a blackboard to me now. It is shear torture! I seriously have to bite my lips – and hopefully find something very engaging to read or do if I must be in the same vicinity and can’t leave and it is not appropriate for me to address the situation. Oh, I hate hearing that stuff SO MUCH!
- Issues with other men – The more I understand about the power of respect, submission, godly femininity, godly masculinity and God’s design for marriage – there are new temptations. With all this knowledge comes a lot of scary power. Now that I can see the masculine perspective and point of view, and I can see how disrespectfully some husbands are being treated – I have to be REALLY, REALLY careful. I have a lot of empathy for men. Now – I know what men need. I know what they want. I know what they like and how they perceive the world. This whole new world of manliness has opened up for me and it is an amazing and wondrous place! I appreciate men’s wisdom and masculinity as being a reflection of Christ. I know how to meet their needs now. I know the power of respect, godly femininity, a peaceful and gentle spirit that does not give way to fear, admiration and praise. I know what men could become if their wives give them respect, honor, faith, trust, encouragement and praise. And that really helps me to be able to teach this powerful stuff to other women and to translate husbands’ words and actions for wives. It is a HUGE blessing! But I have to be extremely careful not to see a man who is starving for respect and think that I can meet that need. I mean – I COULD meet that need. But then what a MASSIVE MESS that would be. I can be respectful, of course – to a point – with everyone (men and women). But I have to only give teeny, tiny doses of respect and be extremely aware that I can’t apply the respect/admiration skills full force on any other men. I can only do that for my husband. THAT IS IT. I have to hold WAY, WAY back with other men. This respect and admiration stuff is like having super powers with men. And it is some seriously dangerous ground.
- Persecution – When a woman stands for the truth of God and His design for marriage – lots of people, women especially, cannot tolerate her stand for Christ. There is persecution. So far – it is very mild. Just words. It’s not a bad thing – it is actually a good sign that people are treating me in some small way like Jesus was treated – with contempt and ridicule. Jesus says we are blessed when we suffer on His account. But I long so much to honor God with my response – to know what to say and if to say something and when to say it. There are temptations not to forgive – that is why I need the Spirit of Christ to be in control NOT me! So I must constantly check my heart for unforgiveness or any tiny root of bitterness and get rid of it immediately! I long to see these people come to know Jesus and have His peace, joy and eternal life with Him forever!
- This will shock you, I know. I am frequently tempted to spend too long BLOGGING, working on my book and emailing people. I LOVE blogging and ministering to wives and am not particularly great at moderation sometimes. So finding balance with all of my priorities can be tricky for me. Thankfully, my husband has lovingly given me a curfew of 10:00pm on the computer so that I will stop and spend time with HIM from 10:00-12:00 and that has been the best thing ever!
Please pray for me as I minister, for my marriage, my children, wisdom and God’s Spirit to have full control as I write and for God to keep me from sin and temptation by His power for His greatest glory! Satan would love to take me down. I am a target. So are you! Let’s pray for one another and build each other up!
My Personal Convictions about Dealing with other Men:
My personal convictions:
– I don’t EVER want to be alone with another man in a room/building.
– I don’t ride alone in a car with another man.
– I don’t have private phone conversations/email conversations/texting/FB messages with another man
– my husband has full and total access to all of my text messages, my FB messages, my internet history. I am completely transparent.
– I tell my husband immediately if I notice temptation so that I stay accountable to him.
– I tell my godly girl friends/prayer partners or my twin sister about tempting feelings or even the possibility of tempting feelings.
– If I notice possible temptation, I try to break contact with that man completely.
– I pray that God would take me out of this world before I would fall and disgrace Him, my marriage and my family by getting ensnared in adultery.
– If possible, I much prefer not to work with men at all.
To me – I have a constant sense that other men could be poison. I try to keep a very clear distance.
Blogging creates some new challenges. So I am constantly in prayer and talking with my husband and godly girlfriends to see if I need to add additional accountability measures.