Having a solid understanding of where my responsibilities end and where God’s sovereignty begins is a HUGE key to peace that I was missing for many years.
THE WAY I USED TO LIVE
I ultimately trusted myself, not God.
I said I trusted Christ.
I thought that I was living by faith – but in reality, I lived as if God was far away, or not involved, or as if He was a wimp. I had a HUGE picture of all of my responsibilities in my life and a very tiny picture of God and His responsibilities in my life – a warped understanding of my own identity and of God’s identity – that I can trace to my childhood.
As a child, I thought I learned that I was completely responsible for everything in my life and for other people. It seemed to me that my parents “needed” my help. It seemed to me that my actions and words greatly impacted other people’s lives in potentially catastrophic ways. I thought I learned that I was very powerful and in charge.
If I believe that I am in control and all the circumstances in my life are completely dependent upon me – my decisions, my actions, my making things work out “right” – then I live as if I am sovereign in my life and I have the responsibility and duty to try to force things to go the way I believe they should. (None of this was conscious in my mind – but it is how I lived)
This is my core belief about who I am and who God is. This is the crux of why I believe so many women are anxious, fearful and stressed out. We don’t have a proper understanding that God is God, and we are not.
If I am worshipping and trusting myself instead of God – I will also expect others to submit to me, obey me and see that MY way is the only “right” way. That is what I did. That is why I could justify my controlling behavior in my marriage and in other relationships.
Because I believed in the core of my being that I was the only one who knew God’s will and who could see clearly and that I was the only one who could cause circumstances to work out right. So it was my duty to try to make other people do what I knew was best. I was protecting them from themselves, after all! If only they would do what I said, everything would be fine. I was “helping” them. Funny – they didn’t seem to appreciate my help! How could they be so ungrateful, after all I was doing for them?
My confusion about me not being God, me not being the Holy Spirit – led me to think that it was perfectly acceptable and necessary for me to take the lead in my marriage and tell my husband what to do and expect him to do whatever I said. I was right! He wasn’t. I could clearly see that. It was my job to try to make him do the “right” thing.
How else would he possibly do God’s will if I didn’t try to force him into it? At the core of my belief about God, God was not very powerful. I didn’t believe that God would change my husband. I believed it was MY job to change people.
Trying to be in charge of things and control things that I actually don’t have any business controlling is extremely stressful! And I was very worried all the time. No wonder! It all depended on me in my mind. That was a LOT of pressure! I was motivated by fear. I couldn’t “let” the wrong things happen. And it was entirely on my shoulders to be the “savior” in my life and the lives of those I loved. Again, this was not conscious – but it is how I actually believed in the depths of my soul – and that motivated my behavior and thoughts.
REBUILDING ON THE FOUNDATION OF CHRIST ALONE
I thank and praise God that He opened my eyes to see that I am NOT God. Not only am I NOT God – but I am a wretched sinner. That was a huge shock to me! I truly did not appreciate that until 4.5 years ago when God suddenly opened my eyes to my personal mountain of sin.
He showed me:
– PRIDE PRIDE PRIDE – I had set myself up, unconsciously, in my own life as equal to or above God. I thought I knew better than EVERYONE – certainly better than my husband – about practically everything. I really believed I knew better than God, too – since I was able to decide that certain scriptural commands didn’t apply to me.
– Idolatry – I put myself, being in control and my husband loving me the way I wanted him to up as idols – these things were more important to me than Christ. I would never have said that to myself or out loud. But when God showed me the way I was living – I knew that He was right. I had been committing idolatry every waking moment for decades – and didn’t even know it. I held on to anger and bitterness. I cherished that more than intimacy with Christ.
– Unforgiveness – Jesus said after the Lord’s prayer that “if you don’t forgive men when they sin against you, God will not forgive you your sin.” This is HUGE sin!
– Rebellion against His Word – I had unknowingly been disrespecting my husband and trying to lead in our marriage. That was in total defiance of Ephesians 5:22-33. I had been blind to my disobedience.
THE KEY TO PEACE
When I make Christ LORD, and humble myself GREATLY… when I understand God’s sovereignty and my weakness and smallness – then I begin to have a foundation for real faith in Christ. Then I learn where my responsibilities end and His begin. Then I do what I can to obey Him and to seek Him with all my heart – to love Him with all that I am and to love others – and I rest in His sovereignty and perfect love – trusting that He is working out the details of my life for my ultimate good and His glory because I love Him. (Romans 8:28).
His Spirit fills me and produces in me things that I cannot produce on my own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I can’t lose! If things go the way I want them to, awesome. God is in it. I want to exalt His Name.
When things do NOT go the way I want them to – no big deal. Because I am daily dying to self – dying to my sinful nature, dying to my will, my wants, my desires, my wisdom, my plans, my purposes, myself. And I am seeking God’s will, his plans, His purposes, His wisdom, His goals and His glory.
He gives me a new heart so that I desire the things of God and want what He wants. It is no longer about my will. It is no longer all about ME.
Now I see that God is wise, I am not. So I trust that He knows how to make things work out for His will to happen and for His greatest glory.
Then I can know that trials and suffering have passed through the filter of His loving, sovereign hands. He will use it to make me more like Christ and for His glory. That is my greatest desire now that He is LORD of my life.
So I can’t lose! I have to win when Christ is Lord. He is in charge. He is working things out for His purposes to be accomplished. I may not understand at the time – but I have faith, knowing that He knows best and He is taking me to the place He desires me to go.
That is how I can rest in His love and sovereignty and live with His supernatural peace that passes all understanding.
I don’t have peace because of my circumstances.
I have peace because I trust my mighty, powerful, awesome, holy, omniscient, eternal, faithful, loving, sovereign Lord – Jesus Christ. I look to Him, not my circumstances.
I can have peace when I am not the leader. I trust that my Lord is “sovereign enough” to lead me through my sinful husband. If my husband is not asking me to sin – I know that it is God’s will for me to cooperate with and honor my husband’s leadership. I tell him my feelings, my desires, my perspective – then I trust God to lead me through my husband, knowing this will bring great honor to Christ. THAT is my goal! That Christ be greatly exalted in my life and marriage!
A Real Life Example of Biblical Submission and Respect
How God Used a Wife’s Great Faith and an Old Truck
Love, Honor, Respect and Submission are Gifts
How to Make Your Husband an Idol
A Great Place to Start to Learn to Be a Godly Wife