A Wife Analyzes Her Journey

Mongolian Gold being refined to 99.99% purity.   http://www.mgs.mn/refining.html
Mongolian Gold being refined to 99.99% purity. http://www.mgs.mn/refining.html

An email I received from a Fellow Wife in Nov of 2013..  Her words are in black, mine are in blue.  She was taking an inventory of her heart and soul and her progress on this journey over the past 13 months, and asking some questions. This journey of becoming a godly woman is a life-long process of sanctification. It is how we work together with God to allow His Spirit to refine our hearts and make us more and more holy and Christlike and set apart for His diving purposes (and please check out her latest update in September of 2014): 

1)  I want to get your opinion.  I am going to rely on the fact that you understand men MUCH more than I do right now.  I *feel* like you don’t see this the way I do at all- and that is perfectly okay.  🙂  I *feel* like you can see dh’s love for me at all times and see that he makes me very much a priority and that there is never a question of his feelings.  Are those assumptions correct?  Perhaps a large part of this is my misunderstanding of him.  There have been other times when I was wrong in what I thought he was thinking.
I am not an “expert” about any of this. I still have so much to learn and so many areas where I want to understand God, marriage, femininity and masculinity more fully. I think I have just been studying these things a bit longer than you have, so I do see your husband’s actions and behavior in a very different way than you do many times. There are times when you focus on “I’m not the highest priority to him” that you and I see the picture of your marriage VERY, VERY differently, yes.
 
Yes, I can see your husband’s strong love for you all the time  – sometimes, I think he is frustrated by your negative assumptions, hormones and attempts to control him.  But yes – you have one EXTREMELY loving man who is very committed to you.  I have no doubt of that.
 
I can also see ways that he makes you a HUGE priority in his life.  He doesn’t always do things exactly the way you want him to.  There may have been a couple of exceptions where he was selfish.  But – overall, I believe he makes you his biggest priority and I believe it exhausts and frustrates him to have it thrown in his face that he is not making you his priority when he actually usually IS making you his priority.
 
I don’t think you understand his heart and mind and motives well yet.  I think if you did, you would be shocked by how wrong some of your assumptions have possibly been.
 
Are there men who don’t make their wife a high enough priority?  YES.
Is your husband one of those?  Not usually.
 
2) I do know this man loves me.  That is not in question at all.  He works hard to provide for us every day.  He is kind and caring.  He tells me he loves me multiple times a day.  I could count on one hand the number of times he has called me by my name.  It is honey, baby, babe, baby doll and a number of other endearments.  He loves my children- who are not his biological children- beyond words.  He could not possibly love them more or do more for them if they were his biological children.  He adopted them.  A man does not do that if he does not love his wife!  And her children!
That is a lot of VERY strong evidence that he does love you and your children and is a very committed, devoted husband and father.  There is also much evidence of his love for you in many of his actions that you have shared with me in the past year.
3) Let’s flip this.  Holding onto this past hurt is not fair.  I have done countless things toward my husband that were wrong in our marriage and he very easily could have held them against me and to my knowledge, does not.
Yes, he could hold hundreds of things against you – but he does not.  He has been extremely forgiving, merciful, patient and gracious with you even when you have been very unlovable.
 
4) I can go long stretches in peace before this thing rears it’s head.  Right now I need to run everything through a hormonal weakness filter.  Yesterday was a terrible hormonal day.  I finally went to bed early because I knew it was the healthiest thing I could do.
Hormones make these temptations SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT. It is infinitely easier to assume our husbands have evil motives towards us when we are hormonal, exhausted, sick or in pain.
 
I’m glad you went to bed early.  Smart girl!
 
5) There is no one time of dealing with this and it is done.  I falsely believed that.  There will be times the idol of “wanting to be my husband’s first priority” or “wanting control” or “thinking I know best” springs back up and I have to deal with it again and again, but it does not have to grow to the HUGE thing it was before.  This is a daily decision to not bite the bait.
Right.  There will be many times of temptation and times you will want to resurrect those idols.  This is a daily decision – it gets easier over time with practice and with God’s Spirit’s power! 🙂 But apart from God, if we are not abiding in Him and full of His Spirit, we cannot do this on our own. If I stray from God, I will crash and burn.
 
6) I have made HUGE progress!  I am doing wonderful.  Just because the temptation raises up to accept this idol back at times does NOT mean I have to accept it or that I haven’t come far.  I do not want to feel defeated by not doing this perfectly.  I CAN and AM doing this.  🙂
You are absolutely right!  God is giving you the power to do this.  You have come VERY, VERY far.  It doesn’t mean you are back to step one if you trip and stumble.  You just get up and keep going. 🙂
7) Truth: a lot of this is that *I* have a problem with setting too high expectations- for myself and my husband.  Last night, before I put myself to bed, I was fussing that I was so upset I had not got more done yesterday (although I HAD cleaned the stove, cleaned the microwave, fixed a time consuming supper, read my bible, did floors in the whole house, tv screens, mirrors, 2 loads of dishes in the dishwasher, multiple loads of laundry, ironed or today and tonight, went to a dr apt and did other errands, helped our son study for a test, etc) and he said, “Babe, you expect too much of yourself!” I was still stressing I did not get my grocery list made and unload the final load of dishes.  I am a perfectionist and I expect perfection from my husband at times.  Not a healthy habit.
Your husband is so right.  You do expect too much of yourself. 🙂
 
Perfectionism is a form of idolatry, too.  Been there, done that myself. I have to be very careful, I can easily pile up all kinds of expectations on myself that are not actually of God and then drown in my expectations. We must ALL constantly watch our thoughts and motives and expectations and lay them at the feet of Christ.
 
God doesn’t expect perfection.  He desires increasing holiness and Christlikeness.  And He doesn’t expect us to do this on our own. He expects us to do it in the power of His Spirit. Let’s use seeking to please God as the goal – not our own human standard of “perfection.”  
 
 
8) Changing internal dialogue might take awhile… I need to give it time to become a habit… when I ‘catch’ a negative thought with an evil assumption, I will have to just replace it with a better one.  Habits take time to form and that is okay.
Yes.  Habits do take time to change and to form.  It is important to have healthy and true statements and scripture at the ready to replace the evil assumptions and the lies that we repeat over and over to ourselves so that we can take those sinful thoughts captive.  This whole process of sanctification takes a lifetime. 🙂
 
9) This came to my mind last night from a book I read several years ago, Having A Mary Heart In A Martha World, which is a very good book by the way.  Anyways, I learned in that book that the devil has three basic weapons.  Doubt, Deceit and Distraction.  Anything that he throws at you can be pretty much traced back to that.  The thought, “I am not a priority to my husband”- doubt & deceit.  “He doesn’t care about me that deeply.”- doubt & deceit.  Just examples.  Taking every thought captive is very, very hard work.
Yes!  that is awesome!  When you can recognize what the enemy is doing – that is a huge part of claiming victory – just to see it so that you can combat it with God’s power is VERY important!
 
Any time you hear yourself accusing your husband of not loving you or having evil motives – please examine the source. Are you actually basing those thoughts on real fact, or on fleeting emotions and assumptions? Negative emotions and assumptions are NOT a solid basis for making accusations against our husbands. When we do that, we are not showing the love of God.
  • ie: He’s not sitting with me right now, so he must not love me. I must not be a priority to him. He obviously doesn’t care about me at all!
Thoughts like that are not based on fact. These are the kinds of thoughts we must take captive. Let’s assume the best about our husbands instead of the worst. Yes.  It is very hard work to take every thought captive instead of luxuriating in the toxic mire of resentment and bitterness and pain. We can also ask for what we want and need in a respectful, kind, pleasant way instead of assuming our husbands can and should read our minds. 
  • i.e.: “Honey, I’m feeling lonely. I’d love it if you could sit and cuddle with me sometime tonight!” (with pleasant tone of voice and a smile, but no pressure, then allow him to decide what he wants to do and accept his “Yes” or “No.” If he doesn’t choose to sit with you, that is ok. And it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. He may have something on his mind he needs to do. We can still find peace and joy in Christ no matter what our husbands do or do not do.)
 
Of course, wallowing in those sins is destructive ultimately.  Taking thoughts captive and shooting down the lies empowers us to allow Christ to renew our hearts and minds with His truth and His wisdom and His Word, and allows God’s Spirit to be in control, not our old sinful nature.
10) There is probably an explanation for my husband’s behavior at the times I don’t understand… and then there are times I really believe are just selfishness… but that is between him and God.  That is his journey.
Yes, I think there may be explanations at times for his behavior that you don’t understand sometimes. He thinks very differently from the way you do. He will also need room to mess up and sin and make mistakes.  He will not be perfect.  His needs are just like your needs – mercy, grace, forgiveness, unconditional love, unconditional respect. 🙂
 
When you condemn him as being selfish, you are setting yourself up as his judge.  You (and I) are not qualified to judge him accurately.  Jesus will be His judge – and Jesus will be righteous about His judgements.  You don’t know his heart.  You don’t know his motives and you cannot accurately judge him.  That is God’s job.  You are not God.
11) I really need to just relax and enjoy where I am.  It is okay I am not doing this perfectly…. I am moving forward, that is the main thing.  And I need to keep practicing letting go and it will all be okay.  Some days are more perfect than others.

Yes, some days will be better than others.  DEFINITELY ENJOY where you are and relax. 🙂 Rest in God’s love and in your husband’s love for  you.

12) Why hurt myself with negative assumptions?  I really DON’T know how he thinks.  Why not assume the best?  Although I am sure the temptation will come again to assume evil motives.
True.  You don’t know how he thinks and you don’t know his motives – although he has given you many clues. 🙂   God’s love assumes the best about others, not the worst. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
 
13) I seriously cannot let my guard down one single minute.  The devil is furious that our marriage is getting healthier.  He has taken some large hits from us lately.  I need to pray for God’s protection and help at all times.
True. True. True.
How is that from your analytical friend?  LOL!
RELATED POSTS FROM A FELLOW WIFE:
BY KAYLA:
BY PEACEFULWIFE:
PMS – part 1
PMS – part 2

“He Broke My Trust. I Can’t Forgive Him.”

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ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:

I am going to need to take an email break for the next few days, maybe 4-5 days or so. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding! You are welcome to post comments.

——————–

A dear wife commented on the post “I’m Going to Stop Pursuing My Husband (in the Wrong Ways)”

FROM THE WIFE:

Hello Peacefulwife,
Wow. Your post has touched many hearts, including mine now.  I’ve been searching for answers on how to be the best I can for my husband or if I’m doing the wrong things, saying the wrong things or wanting the wrong things. My way and not his way, the second he gets home from work its always about going upstairs to see his family (we moved in after he got out of the marine corps) I’m always on his tail about making me feel like I matter more than anyone to him. Because I do those things for him without asking. And he always takes it the wrong way when I say anything about it. I tell him he doesn’t make me happy when he does these things, but I feel like if I back off from him he’s going to mess everything up or hurt me again.

I don’t feel like I trust him since he broke my trust and lied to me about getting another woman’s number right after we had married.  He promised me that he would never do anything to hurt me again and he even admitted to being wrong and foolish, begging for my forgiveness on his knees. But still, I have this hurt, this scar and ache inside me that just won’t let me forget what he’d done. That was almost 2 years ago.

After that happened we started fighting very badly he verbally and mentally abused me because I’d never let that go. I took the beatings to my heart and have kept them since. It got so bad that I had to leave to be with my family for a little. Shortly after he followed and did what ever he could to keep me. I know I’ve got a novel going but what my problem is, Peacefulwife, is that I feel like I’ll never forget what he did. Even with God’s help.

I am a strong believer in Christ and my parents are pastors/missionaries but I just have no trust to believe he won’t mess up again. Him. My husband. The man that is supposed to love me. The man that is not supposed to hurt my heart. Ugh. I’m confused. I’m weak. I always feel like my husband should be my happiness but I know that’s not true. I need prayer for strength to keep my mouth closed and to be still and pray to God for guidance because I feel not in control of my actions and I’m causing fights. He is a good man and I know he loves me but we are both hot headed and stubborn. I just want to know, will my heart heal?

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

It is great to hear from you! :)

So 2 years ago, your husband got another woman’s phone number – and you have fought with him and won’t forgive him and can never trust him again? Is that correct?

My precious girl!!!!

I am very sorry that things have been so difficult and painful! It sounds like a very rough two years for you. I am glad that apparently things are somewhat better and it seems that your husband has tried to improve things for you to be willing to get back together with him.

When you are a believer in Christ, your trust in not ultimately in your husband. Husbands are wretched sinners just like wives. Your trust is to be 100% in Christ Jesus. You can forgive not because your husband deserves it, but because Jesus forgave YOU for your mountain of sins and because the blood of Christ is sufficient to cover any sin.

Thankfully, a husband getting a woman’s phone number and lying about it is forgivable in Christ! Quite honestly, he is probably going to sin against you a whole lot worse than that many times in this marriage. And, it looks like you have already sinned against him a whole lot worse than that, too.

PRAISE GOD we have access to the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Christ for ourselves AND for those we love when they sin against us!

If Jesus is your LORD – He commands you to forgive or God will not forgive you (Matthew 6). Unforgiveness is HUGE SIN. I held on to unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness for many years in our marriage, and I had no idea that what I was doing was – choosing to cherish bitterness instead of Christ.

Those are my choices. I can have Jesus or I can have my bitterness. I cannot have both.

Bitterness is ugly, nasty sin that starts as a little root and grows into an evil tree that overtakes my entire soul. It is idolatry of unforgiveness. It is toxic poison.

I think that you may possibly be putting your husband and his behavior in your heart as more important to you than Jesus. I did this, too. You may expect your husband to meet needs in your life that only Jesus can meet – expecting him to be responsible for your happiness.  A Fellow Wife, who wrote this post, did that, too. Many, Many wives do this today – it is just “normal” now. But, this is idolatry. There is no greater sin than that. You may also have SELF as an idol, you may be trusting self more than God – I did that, too. And I also had being in control as an idol. I said I trusted Jesus, but I lived as if everything depended on me and I was ultimately responsible for making everything work out “right.” I completely missed the sovereignty of God. I lived in fear, worry, anxiety and loneliness. My pride and self-righteousness and contempt and resentment and bitterness repelled my husband away from me – and it grieved God’s heart so that God did not hear or answer my prayers.

Turns out, I am a WRETCHED sinner. I didn’t really and truly get that before 5 years ago.

If you need something to be happy and content in life – and that thing is not Jesus – there is a really good chance that you are committing idolatry.

  • It is not your husband’s responsibility to make you happy.
  • YOU are responsible for your own emotions and your own contentment and real contentment is only found in Christ. If you find that you are discontent and anxious – that is often a very clear sign that you are putting something or more than one thing above Christ in your heart. Idols always bring discontentment, depression, anxiety and fear.

You cannot have the fruit of God’s Spirit when you are clinging to sin and idols. It is time to lay down all of the sin and to tear out anything that has become more important to you than Jesus, and repent in tears and humbly turn back to Christ.

You can be content in Him alone. Seek Him alone. He can handle your husband. The more you try to force your husband to do things, the more you destroy your marriage. Rest in God’s love for you. Trust in Christ. He can give you the strength and power to deal with things if your husband sins. And when you are not pressuring and trying to control your husband, amazingly, he is going to be a lot less likely to sin the way you fear he will.

You have a LOT of sin in your own life to deal with right now. If your husband is like mine, he will probably be pretty forgiving, thankfully!

Get into God’s Word. Humble yourself before Him. Allow Him to remove every trace of sin. Submit yourself fully to Him as Lord and trust Him with all these things in your life.

The more your husband feels respected and honored, the more he will care about your feelings. Please don’t follow him and scold him for talking to his family first. THANK and APPRECIATE the good things he does. Tell him you are proud of him for being a loving son. Be a SAFE place for him instead of a constant source of negativity, criticisms, lectures and contempt. Smile, Praise the good in him. Beg God to change you into the wife He desires you to be and seek to please God and bless your husband. All the other selfish motives have to go.

I hope that your husband can have another chance. How awful to feel that there is never anything he can ever do that will be good enough again and that it is impossible to earn back your trust or have the relationship he wants to have with you.

Check out “Signs Your Husband May be Feeling Disrespected”at the top of my home page, and the post about disrespectrespect and biblical submission– and what is attractive/unattractive to husbands.

You have come to the right place, my friend! If you are ready to do things God’s way, I am glad to walk on this journey with you.

I’m right here if you have any questions – I will do my best to point you to Christ and His Word. :)

(NOTE – God is able to heal marriages even after porn addiction and adultery. I have seen Him do it countless times. It is possible that trust may have to be rebuilt. But God can give us the power to forgive, and if our spouse is truly repentant, we can move towards rebuilding trust. If there are SERIOUS issues in your marriage, please seek godly, biblical, experienced counsel!)

FROM THE WIFE:

Wow.

I can hardly find the words! I’m so ashamed.

I didn’t even think to realize how God would be feeling about the way I’ve been acting, I know He probably has been hurting because I’m not crying out to Him for this – thinking I could do this all on my own. I was so wrong. It’s so good to hear this from someone who has been through these motions to realize what I’ve been causing in my marriage! I didn’t even see the signs! Its like a slap in the face. But I’m thankful for it, and for you. You helped me wake up to see the true root to my sin. I’ve never been able to talk to anyone about these insecurities I’ve been having.  Now I truly see that it is selfishness, bitterness and idolatry.

I have chosen to put God first. I’m putting my foot down in front of the flesh and asking Him for my complete undeserving forgivess. I’m going to constantly seek Him humbly and choose prayer instead of giving into my selfishness to choose my route. Thank you, Lord, for awesome loving unselfish caring people like you! I bet that you are at peace. Because you have chosen to put your strength and trust in Jesus as am I from this day on! I receive that in Jesus name! I will be checking out your links as well as God’s Word to help guide me through this that I realize now that it is the only way. And I am ready for my storm to calm finally! <3 Thank you so much for making room and time for my sin and worry.  Wife to wife, God bless you.

RELATED:

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

Bitterness is Contagious and Toxic

Finding Victory over Bitterness

Forgiveness

Bitterness of Soul – A Wife Desires to Be Her Husband’s First Priority

Say “Thank You!”

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ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:

I have a busy week this week with our children home from school on a winter break and some extra work. I will get to emails and comments as I am able to.  I apologize in advance that I may not be able to be as prompt as I would like to be.  Thanks for your understanding and patience!  You are more than welcome to comment here.  I know many of you will encourage each other.  I love what an amazing group we have and how you support, respect, love and build up each other.  THANK YOU for that!  I am so grateful for each of you!!!!!!

THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE

I have another little challenge for you, ladies!  Last week was the SMILE challenge.  I’d love to hear some reports about how that has gone. 🙂

If your husband does something that blesses you, something that you benefit from in any way – THANK him.

Smile, have a friendly voice, thank him and maybe even give him a real hug, too!

I know, it’s crazy, right!?!?!!? 🙂

In a man’s world, spoken or visible appreciation is HUGE!  For your husband,  hearing “thank you” or “Great job, Honey!” may actually mean more to him than a long love letter from you or even the words, “I love  you.”

If you haven’t been thanking him – it may feel a bit awkward at first to thank your husband.  That’s ok!  You can do this!  Don’t expect anything back from him.  Just thank him because God commands us to “give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I Thessalonians 5:18

When should we thank our husbands?  Here are some of my suggestions for your consideration.  Don’t do all of these at once!  Spread them out.  Maybe do one every day or so, or thank him as he does some of these things.  Make it a new habit.  Be sincere.):

  • Thank him for working to provide for the family sometimes, even if you work too, even if you make more money than he does.  Most men view providing financially as the primary way they show love to their families. (From Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only”)
  • When he has had a particularly difficult day – THANK HIM for working so hard to take care of his family.
  • When he helps with the children.  Yes, they are his children, too, but it is a great thing to thank him for taking some of the burden off of you.  He is blessing you.  He could be at a bar or sitting in front of the TV ignoring the kids.  Even if he is doing something we think he “should” do, we can thank him and appreciate him. This encourages him to be more involved as a father.  Men respond to appreciation, admiration and genuine praise. It motivates them to do even better.  Aren’t we all like that, really?  Don’t we all want to do even more when someone shows real appreciation?
  • Thank him for complimenting you when he does and ACCEPT his compliments graciously.
  • ANYTIME he does any kind of chores around the house (thank him, don’t criticize him!  Especially if you would like him to continue to help  you!)
  • Thank him for his leadership, for carrying that weight in the family, even if he hasn’t started leading yet.  You can step down and allow him space and time to start leading, and you can thank him for his leadership.  There may even be ways he does try to lead that you could appreciate that you hadn’t noticed before.
  • Thank him when he gets something for you at the store.
  • Thank him any time he buys you something.  Thank him for his thoughtfulness and generosity!
  • Thank him for taking care of the yard or the cars or for fixing things around the house.  SMILE and thank him and tell him when he does a good job.  Avoid criticizing how he does things as much as possible.  Let him experience having a fully happy wife, a content wife.  That is every husband’s greatest dream!!!  To do something for his wife and for her to be completely satisfied with his efforts.
  • Thank him for taking you and your children to church if he does, or thank him for allowing you to go if he does not go with you.
  • Thank him for disciplining the children, stand behind his decisions as a father.
  • Thank him for being a great dad.
  • Thank him for being a wonderful husband.
  • Thank him for his strengths – his strong work ethic, his patience, his forgiving spirit, his eye for detail, his careful decision making, his responsible driving, his character, his integrity, his faith in Christ, his carefulness with money, etc…
  • Thank him for being faithful to his wedding vows to you if he has been.  “Honey, I just want to tell you that it means the WORLD to me that you have been faithful to me in our marriage.  Thank you for being a man of your word and for being a man of integrity.”
  • Thank him for being here with you and for the honor of being his wife.
  • Thank him for bringing fun into your life and family.
  • Appreciate his sense of humor.
  • Thank/appreciate him in front of your children often and in front of other people – this makes most husbands feel like they are on top of the world!
  • Thank him for the difference he makes in the world by doing a good job at his profession.
  • Thank him if he sends you a sweet text/email.
  • Thank him for coming home and being with you and the family.
  • Thank him for eating supper with you.
  • Thank him/appreciate him for having sex with you or cuddling with you.

HUSBANDS:

What would it mean to you for you to hear your wife say, “Thank you” for the things you do for her and your family?  How much does it mean to see her smile a real smile and to tell you how much she appreciates your efforts?  I would love to hear from you!

LADIES:

Let me know how things go!

Contentment During the Christmas Season

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Administrative note:

I am on an email vacation through January 6th.  You are welcome to comment on posts, but please kindly hold emails for me until January 7th.  Thank you and Merry Christmas!

 

This time of year can seem to exacerbate loneliness and maybe even tempt many of people into depression.  (Depression this time of year is an issue for lots of folks, actually.)  

MARRIAGE DOESN’T GUARANTEE FREEDOM FROM LONELINESS:

Loneliness is one of the most painful things about marriage, when things are not going well.  Several years of our marriage were the loneliest of my life.

  • sometimes because Greg and I worked opposite shifts for 2 years
  • sometimes because Greg worked a full time job then worked on the house until midnight 6 days a week for months or a year at a time.
  • sometimes I was lonely because I repelled Greg with my disrespect, pride, self-righteousness and controlling behavior and he would ignore me almost all of the time – wouldn’t look at me, touch me or talk with me much at all.  Of course, I had no idea I contributed to him shutting down at the time.  Wow! I wish I knew then what I know now!

I know MANY of you are suffering from loneliness right now.  How I wish I could hug your necks!

Ultimately, I believe now as I look back, that I was in great pain because I didn’t know how to find my contentment in Christ alone.

THE SECRET TO CONTENTMENT:

The truth about contentment is that if you are not content now, you would probably not be content even if you had what you wanted.  Once you have that, you would want something else or something more.

One time when our son was about 4 years old, he said, “Mama!  If I could JUST have that new Thomas the train I would NEVER ask for anything else again for the rest of my life!”  I had to laugh so hard.   Of course there were MANY more things he wanted after that ONE thing he just had to have.  We are insatiable.

If you are basing your contentment on circumstances, then you will always think that if you could just have one more thing, you would be happy.

  • If a guy would just act interested in me, I would be happy.
  • Then a guy is interested in you and you think… if he would just commit to be my steady boyfriend, I would be happy.
  • Then you get a boyfriend, and you think… If I could just have an engagement right, I’d be happy.
  • Then you get an engagement ring, and you think… If I could just have a set wedding date, I’d be happy.
  • Then you have a date and you think… If I could just be done planning this wedding, I’d be happy.
  • Then you have your wedding day and you think… If we could just have a beautiful house, I’d be happy.
  • Then you have a beautiful house and you think… If we could just have some children, I’d be happy.
  • Then you get pregnant and you spend months throwing up every day and you think… if I could just get to my second trimester, I’d be happy.
  • Later in the pregnancy, you think, if I could just have this baby and not be pregnant anymore, I’d be happy.
  • You have the baby and you think… if the baby would just let me sleep for 2 hours in a row, I’d be happy.

It goes on and on and never stops…

I’d be happy if only:

  • I made more money
  • I had better health
  • I lost weight
  • I gained weight
  • my church were different
  • I had a better job
  • I worked a different shift
  • I felt loved by my husband
  • my husband were more romantic
  • if my husband didn’t work so much
  • if my husband didn’t watch tv so much
  • if my husband paid more attention to me
  • if my children were better behaved
  • if my children were in college
  • if my children were out of college
  • if my children would leave the house
  • if my children were back home

If we are not careful – we can make idols of these things and decide that we MUST have them or we cannot be content.  Some of these things are good things.  But we have to be careful where we put them in our priorities.  If we put them above Christ in our hearts in importance – that is big time sin – idolatry.

Hopefully, you get the picture.  There are always more things for us to want, but when we get more things, even good things, if we don’t know how to find our contentment in Christ, we will still be discontent.

GOD GIVES US THE POWER TO CHOOSE CONTENTMENT NO MATTER WHAT OUR CIRCUMSTANCES!

The Bible has a pretty amazing standard for contentment:

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 

God’s standard for me to be content is to have Christ and His Spirit and to have food for today and clothing on my back today.

This is not a popular idea today  in our society – to be content with very little.  But this is exactly what God desires us to do.  As we make Christ the MOST IMPORTANT focus of our lives, the other stuff starts to not matter nearly as much – “the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”  We can truly begin to say, “Not my will but Yours be done” and we can learn to be content no matter what circumstances may come, trusting God to do what is ultimately best for us in everything.

What a blessing not to have to depend on circumstances but to depend fully on Christ for our joy and contentment!!

How can we be content in any and every situation?

Through Christ who gives me strength!  Philippians 4:13

If God grants us the desires of our hearts – awesome.  But if He chooses another path for us – we can trust that we are in His loving hands and nothing can separate us from His love and that His wisdom is infinitely higher than our own.

16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  I Thessalonians 5

DISCUSSION:

1. What kinds of things help you during the Christmas season to experience God’s love in a deeper way?

2. What kinds of things make this time of year harder for you and fuel discontentment or loneliness?

3. What are you involved in that brings you joy? A hobby?  A friendship? Maybe a ministry to others?

4. How can you avoid comparing your life to what other people have?

5. What blessings do you have in your life right now?

6. How can you plan to shoot down any fleshly feelings of resentment, bitterness, jealousy or idolatry in your heart this week?

7. What kinds of friendships do you have that boost you, encourage you and nourish your soul?

8. Is there someone who is lonely, too, that God may want  you to reach out to this week?

9. How do you plan to focus on being content in Christ this week and next week as New Year’s approaches?

Lord,

I lift up my precious sisters (and brothers) to Your throne room in the highest heaven from which You reign in total sovereignty, love and justice.  I pray for godly friendships and godly marriages for each of these beloved children of yours.  I pray for a sense of family in their churches and in their communities.  I pray for godly mentors for them.  I pray for opportunities for them to minister to others and share the love of Christ and experience the joy that comes from giving of themselves.  I pray for them not to isolate themselves but to reach out to others to develop deep spiritual friendships that will nurture their souls and sharpen them in their faith in Christ and that will bless their new friends, as well, for Your glory.

Let this not be a time of loneliness, isolation, depression and tears.

Let this be a time of great joy, thankfulness, celebration, trust in You, peace, patience and hope as these friends of mine train their eyes to stay on Christ, not on their circumstances.  May they find the true contentment that only comes from Christ this Christmas, and every day, even if their circumstances are not what they wish they were.

Surround my sisters (and brothers) with Your love. Let them spend much time feasting on Your Word, praising You, thanking You, worshipping You, seeking Your face and listening to Your voice.  Make them a bright light for Christ in this dark world. Use them for Your greatest glory this week and every week.  Make them faithful to Your Name, Lord!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!