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The Visit

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This wife’s husband has been separated from her for some time.   He comes to visit their son, and visits her as well.  Last week they had a visit that was unlike any other in the past.  What an inspiration!!!!  THANK YOU to this precious wife and sister in Christ for her willingness to share.  There are COUNTLESS nuggets of treasure in this email.  I pray that you might be able to glean all of them, my precious sisters in Christ!
I encourage each of you to abide in Christ and to look to God’s Spirit to be your ultimate Counselor!  His wisdom is true and pure.  His ways are good.  There is no evil in Him.  Compare everything that people say to God’s Word and only embrace what stands the test of Scripture.
Please keep in mind that each wife and each marriage is unique.  There is no standard timetable of how God works.  Many factors play into that.   Some husbands may take months or even a year or more to respond to the changes God is making in their wives.  Rarely, some husbands never respond.  The results and timing have to be up to God.  Our job is to seek Him and love Him with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to obey Him in all things:
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Well, dh left a few hours ago – and your advice, thoughts and CERTAINLY your prayers were with me throughout the entire visit. He came yesterday and the visit was different from all the others, because this time I had … guidance — there have been a “few” OK visits in the past, but then I felt stifled by not doing/saying what I wanted to do…….. Now I feel empowered, to “choose” to say/act the way that pleases God — it is not about me. 
I kept repeating stuff in my head… like –
– Die to your flesh
– Live in the now (one of my favorites from you!!!)
– Do not focus on what is wrong, focus on what is good
– Tell him how happy you are that he is here
– Tell him how appreciative you are of the things he has done
– You wish things were different, but EVERYTHING that is good for you, must be according to God’s will/time/plan
– Make him feel happy here
– Leave all the “issues” to God
The Holy Spirit has to talk to him.  You are NOT his Holy Spirit!
– Focus on doing the right thing for God — not for dh
These are just a few of the things that kept playing in my head. It is really not on my own strength that I was able to be this “renewed” person.

Usually, when he comes I use it as an opportunity to tell him how I feel. I try to talk about the way his choices have hurt me, my despair, how he is wrong etc. and I go on and on. All I could focus on was the fact that my marriage was CERTAINLY not what I wanted to be, it is not what God wants it to be and how blind dh was.

This attitude surely was not one that would help to bring a lost soul to his senses.
This time,  I met him with a friendly hug, and helped him pack the grocery items he bought for us. He likes to buy groceries and cook for us. He always has…. He tries to get my favorite food that I do not usually get a chance to eat. I was just calm, sweet spirited and nice to him. I tried not to “crowd” him and I acted in a way that showed that I understood he was here to see our son and not me. He seemed relaxed by my attitude and he talked with me a lot…just casual talk. He was not “tense” as he usually was, when he was aware that any moment I could start talking about how he destroyed our family.
It was then time for him to take our son shopping for back-to-school clothes, and he asked if I was not getting ready. (Usually I would have already stated that I “wanted” to join them!). I told him I was not planning to go because I know it was a time for him to spend time shopping with our son.  He said no, I should join them. I did, and we had a marvelous time, laughing at the terrible taste our son had, and being thankful we could help him choose clothes, because his choices were crazy.

I expressed my gratitude to him for everything………and told him how happy I was for the things he bought, the way he loves to cook for us, and how happy I was to be invited to join them.

I made sure he knew that I was more than happy to make dinner if he was tired. He just wanted to.  We had dinner and talked about business we have out of town. Later we went to bed — separately (but we were under the same roof – thank God for that!)
AN IMPORTANT THING I DID
We own a house out of town…. for all the years since we have been here, I have been the one to deal with everything! Tenant issues, mortgage payments, maintenance stuff etc. “I” have also been thinking of selling the house in another year or so. Well, I told him that I “can’t” (not won’t) manage it anymore, and I would be so happy if he could take it over for me because it is so much. (I had briefly told him of this intention to let him take “control” of this, about 2 days earlier on the phone). It was his pleasure!!! I gave him all the passwords, contact information, account numbers – everything- – and tell him that moving forward he is responsible for everything, and I know he will do a great job.
April —

I realize that I was burdened with everything because I INADVERTENTLY CHOSE TO BE – IT WAS PART OF MY CONTROLLING SPIRIT!

I have always “whined/complained/nagged/criticized” him for leaving it all on me…. but I really did not give him a chance to want to do it!

In fact — dealing with the house has been one of our biggest “arguing topics” since we have been here. This is because I usually tell him that it is too much for me, in what I now know to be the TOTALLY WRONG way. The way I did it degraded his worth, made him feel less than a man, etc. (disrespect)He always responded by saying he does not care about the house anyway, because he does not want to own anything with me (unloving) — the Crazy Cycle (Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs)! Of course – my actions were due to my stress, my desire for him to just want to help me, but I came across as criticizing his abilities as a man when all I had to do was ask nicely, and make him feel as if I needed him – not as if I was his mom reprimanding him for his lack of initiative.

It is the same house — and the same me (or, the-“not-so-same-ME”), and now he seems to feel empowered to take charge. I AM AMAZED.

I would have never been able to hand over this aspect of our lives to him if I did not learn so much from this blog ….I must admit that I felt as if I was having a mild panic attack, when I started to consider passing on some of the responsibilities to him. I was especially worried about his abilities to make sure the mortgage is paid on time, the tenant is paying the rent, etc etc. Now I feel so less burdened. He told me that he will deal with the issues, except where he really needs me to do something (example, If he will need my signature on documents etc.)
Your advice to LIVE IN THE NOW – has been VERY powerful to me and this visit. I was able to enjoy him, based on what he has to offer today!  Not get so caught up on whether or not this was a picture of what a marriage should be. It certainly was not helping to make the “now” worse than it had to be, because I so badly wanted the “past.” In fact, adding to the destruction of the “now” only further guaranteed a worse future.
Our son was so very loving to his dad —- extremely, and again, I am so happy that despite all the pain, we can both love on him. That in itself is a testament of how God has washed our hearts, how we are learning to please GOD FIRST. There was a time when  our son was so cold to him, and although I know it was not entirely my fault for this, I can see how my own bitterness, my own steadfastness on  focusing on my dh’s  part, significantly contributed to this. Sigh….

I am so glad that God has opened my eyes. Praise God for not giving up on me…. He is patient, I was so far from being at this place.

…. Now we see beyond  dh’s sins, and just see him as God does. That is what happens when we focus on our own sinfulness. I have realized that I have contributed SOOOO much sin to my marriage, I do not know how on earth I had so much time to focus on his sin. I must have said it 1000 times – pardon me for being so repetitive…but it is beyond my level of understanding how much I have learned from you in such a short time. I thank God for your powerful spirit.  (From Peacefulwife – that is a GOD thing 100%, not an April thing!)

Today, I said nothing more about my plans to be respectful to him….. I will just let my actions speak moving forward.

I won’t get it right all the time, but I will certainly not go back as far as — or anywhere near — where I was before. He has not mentioned that he has noticed any difference. I AM OK WITH THAT! I know he does – and it really is about my walk with God, not a desperate need to please dh (though it is nice to see him more relaxed with us).

I enjoyed my husband’s presence today because I chose to:

– accept what he  can give today

– focus on what he is doing right, instead of what he is doing wrong

– live in the joy of the moment, instead of the better life I want in the future

– let my joy come from God– my husband is only a man – not God

April – that is a big thing you have taught me too.

I wanted my husband to be my JESUS.

I am so ashamed to say that 🙁 🙁 I certainly did not feel as if that was what I was doing all those years!!! Yikes!  I wanted him to be the source of, or a part of any joy I had. That is just too much even for the BEST husband on the planet. Now I have learned that my Joy is in Christ alone….and I can be joyful even in less than ideal circumstances. God’s plan for me supersedes anything that my husband can do to me. Many are the plans of dh’s heart – but it is God’s plans that will prevail. Why then have I been so focused on my husband’s plan? Because I am only human. Yes – but I can draw on the strength that comes through the Word of God
There are so many more things I could say about this visit. My desires have not changed, but now they are not misplaced. That makes it easier. I am also humbled, because I don’t have to try to be “God” to my husband. I use that energy to let God minister to me.  Dh’s heart has not changed towards me — but that changes nothing that God wants for me.
My husband is on his way back (to his place) now, and I know there is less turmoil, pain, frustration and anger in his heart than when he usually sees me.
  • Praise God for showing me MY OWN SINFULNESS.
I just read the post (of my 1st email)  — Oh how terrible I was. I am thankful for the prayers and support that have been offered by everyone. Especially the prayers!! Thank God for those! One lovely person stated that there are times when I will wonder if I should wait on my husband – she is so wise —there are times when I feel HOPELESS. Times when the tears feel like a flowing river. Times when I am too weak to even pray.
However, thinking of one day at a time will help me even more, and remembering that if it is about “me” I will be even weaker!  It is at times like these that I need the most prayers. There have been times when I know only the prayers of others have moved me from my emotionally paralyzed state. It is not a state of a desperate woman. God has blessed me to be a “strong,” brilliant and capable woman (This is not to be full of pride – it is just to share that it is not out of desperation that I am standing for my marriage, it is out of my desire to walk the rough road I think God has been leading me on). When my marriage first crumbled, I begged God for the strength to let go and let it be! I thought that was what took strength! That would have been way easier. Sometimes God takes us on some very rough road to draw us closer to him and to bare us of our own selfish desires.

The truth is, regardless of what happens in the future, I am better for having endured this. God’s methods might be different for everyone – each student learns differently. I NEEDED THIS.

Just now, as I am typing……. dh  just called to let me know he has reached home. He never usually does!
Thank you so much. This visit was different even though my husband’s stance has not changed. For years, things may very well be the same from my husband’s view point – but I am different. I am the one that is saved – so that is exactly how it should have been all along.
You showed me how to accept what my dh has to offer – today. You showed me how while praying for a BIG cake, I was blindly pushing away the ingredients to make the cake because I was so focused on “All I want is the cake!” “Why is he (dh) giving me eggs if he says he does not want to give me cake?” Why is he giving me an oven if he says he does not want to give me cake.” I was rejecting God’s hand in my life, because I was so focused on the future which is TOTALLY in God’s hands. Even if all I end up with are eggs – they are still good for me. God must know what I need today! Additionally, I have seen how relaxed dh is around me when I don’t keep hammering the marital problems over his head. It surely can’t speed up his journey home to have him be uncomfortable around me! Plus – most importantly — the healing of my marriage/changing of dh’s heart is God’s job.
Thanks for your kind words and your support — your blog has been like FOOD to me.
RELATED:

Our Identity in Christ – THIS Is My Security!

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Ladies,

Two days ago, we looked at insecurity in the post “Trying to Find Security in All the Wrong Places.”

Yesterday, we looked at “The Roots of Insecurity, ‘Low Self Esteem,’ Sinful Jealousy and the Desire to Control”

Quite honestly – what I am addressing in these several posts could easily be a book or two.  We are BARELY scratching the surface here.  But these are EXTREMELY important and foundational concepts in our walk with Christ and in our relationships with other people.  If we have a faulty foundation here – our lives will be a disaster, because we are building on sand instead of the Rock – which is the truth of Christ.

SECURITY IS ONLY FOUND IN JESUS!

  • I will be disappointed if I look to another human to meet the needs for security, salvation, joy, fulfillment, purpose, acceptance and unconditional love.  People cannot replace Jesus in my life.
  • I will be devastated if I look to my beauty, looks, figure, weight or shape to find contentment and security and happiness in life.  These things fade and are fleeting.  Things cannot replace Jesus in my life. They cannot offer real joy.  In fact, if I make these things my idols, I will destroy myself with them.  That is what idolatry does.  Whatever we “worship” eventually destroys and consumes us – whether it is bitterness, food, fame, wealth, sex, men, career, weight, beauty, education, self, being in control, people’s approval, people pleasing, addictions … If I set up something or someone in the place of God in my life – God will make sure that I will never find contentment, that I will only find dissatisfaction and emptiness and if I continue in this sin, He will allow my idol to destroy me.

GOD IS GOD, I AM NOT.

That is a VERY foundational concept that I MUST grasp!

This was Satan’s sin – to elevate himself and exalt himself to be equal to or greater than God.

This was my sin, too.  It was not a conscious thing, but I lived as if I believed I was in charge.  I trusted self, not God, for many years.  And I had the disappointment, anxiety, fear and loneliness that always accompanies pride and idolatry of self and being in control.

WHO AM I ONCE I AM IN CHRIST?

Well – this really should be a book, or more than one book.  But we will look at a few things that God says about those who trust Him by faith and who devote themselves wholeheartedly to live for Him in obedience to His Word.  If you are not living in obedience to Christ, Jesus says, you do not love Him.  “Anyone who loves me will obey My commandments.”  John 14:23a, “Anyone who does not love Me will not obey my teaching.”  John 14:24

  • We were chosen by God (Ephesians 1:11)
  • Our purpose is that our lives might bring praise to the glory of Christ (Ephesians 1:12)
  • We are marked with a seal – the Holy Spirit who guarantees our salvation and keeps us, working in us to bring us to maturity in Christ (Ephesians 1:13)
  • We are to be fully submitted to Christ. (James 4:7)  He is LORD of our lives.
  • We are slaves of righteousness and slaves of Christ now (Romans 6)
  • We are no longer slaves of sin (Romans 6).  We are set free from sin!!!!!!!!!!
  • We are no longer spiritually dead in sin, but ALIVE in Christ!  (Ephesians 2:1)
  • We have a “new man in Christ” instead of our old sinful self now. (II Cor 5:17)
  • We are recipients of grace because of the faith God has given us to have in Jesus.  We cannot and do not earn heaven or a right relationship with God.  We have no room to boast.  “Jesus paid it all.  All to Him I owe!”
  • We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10).  Good works don’t get us salvation.  Salvation, Jesus in us, produces good works.  That is a really important distinction!
  • We are at peace with God.  Jesus has absorbed all of God’s wrath that we deserved and has taken our sins away as far as the east is from the west! (Ephesians 2)
  • We are at peace with other believers in Christ (Ephesians 2).
  • We are sons and daughters of the Most High God!
  • We are joint heirs with Jesus to all of heaven.
  • We have total access to approach God in prayer – greater access than even the High Priest in the Old Testament times had – because of what Jesus, our Great High Priest, has done for us!
  • We have access to the spiritual riches, power and treasures of heaven. (Ephesians 3)
  • We are able to know God more and more. (Ephesians 3, John 17)
  • We have been given gifts to serve Christ and His body (Ephesians 4)
  • We live on God’s Word.  His Word is real spiritual food and drink.  We hunger and thirst deeply for Him, His presence, His Spirit, His power and His Word daily. (Matthew 4:4)
  • We are soldiers for Christ, who are to be fully armed and wearing our armor, ready for spiritual battle constantly (Ephesians 6).
  • We are part of the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, the church.
  • We are gifted by the Spirit to serve and build up the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12)
  • We have the peace of Jesus Christ – it is a promise He has given to us. (John 14:27)
  • We can do nothing on our own, Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches.  We must constantly abide in, live in, soak in the nourishment Jesus gives us from His Spirit and His Word and His presence. (John 15)
  • We are hated in the world because Jesus was hated. (John 16)
  • We are one with God and Jesus and other believers in Christ (John 17)
  • There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!!!!!! (Romans 8:1)
  • We are controlled by the Spirit – our mind is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
  • We identify with Christ in His sufferings by suffering, also – that God might make us more mature and more and more like Christ. (I Peter)
  • We are inseparable from the love of Christ!!!!!!!! (Romans 8:35, 39)
  • In all trials, obstacles and difficulties, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!!!!!! (Romans 8:37)
  • We are living sacrifices to Christ (Romans 12:1)
  • We are imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1)
  • We are citizens of heaven, and we are aliens here. (Phil 3:20)
  • We are God’s temple (I Cor. 3:16)
  • We are complete in Christ (Col 2:9-10)
  • We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13)

WHEN WE REALLY GET THIS – OUR LIVES WILL NEVER EVER BE THE SAME!!!

If I truly understand the depth of the meaning of who Christ Jesus is and my identity in Christ – all my fear and insecurity has to vanish!  Perfect love casts out all fear. (I John 4:18)

Suddenly,

  • The numbers on the scale aren’t really very important anymore.
  • If my husband doesn’t meet my needs, I can remain unshaken as I trust in Christ, depend on Him and He empowers me to bless my husband.
  • The approval of people doesn’t matter anymore, only the approval and pleasure and smile of Jesus!
  • Other’s sin against me becomes forgivable in the power of Christ because He has forgiven me MUCH.  I am not free to love Him MUCH.
  • I desire to treat people only the way Jesus treats people, I DELIGHT in obeying Him.
  • The numbers in my checking account don’t matter much because it all belongs to Him, I want to be a godly steward and spend as Jesus would have me spend and I know that He is able to provide for my every need.  My faith is no longer in my job, my 401K or the economy – my faith is squarely in Christ Jesus.
  • I do not worry because my Lord is SOVEREIGN and He promised me that He would cause ALL things to work together for my ultimate good (by His definition) and His glory (Romans 8:28)
  • Worldly things begin to be very uninteresting and only the things of God seem to really matter.
  • God’s Word SPRINGS to LIFE every time I open it – I can’t get enough of Him!
  • I have Jesus’ priorities and desires.  He gives me a new heart and a new mind in Him!
  • I don’t care about my will, I only want His will.
  • I am willing to lose my life in order to have His life in me.
  • I live by faith, not by sight.
  • I see God answer prayers in miraculous ways in His power for His glory and in His timing.
  • God makes me fruitful in His kingdom and I cannot help but share the GREAT NEWS of Jesus with those around me!

RESOURCES:

Identity in Christ sermon index at www.desiringgod.org – John Piper

Identity in Christ sermon index at www.radical.net – David Platt

What Does God Say About Me?

Roots of Insecurity, Low Self Esteem, Sinful Jealousy and Desire to Control

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Yesterday, we looked at how we as women desire security in our lives and in our relationships so desperately.  But we often look for it in all the wrong places instead of finding our security in Christ alone.

I believe that the deep roots of a woman’s insecurity in her marriage, her “low self esteem,” her desire to control her husband (and others) and her sinful jealousy can be found in:

  • her lack of proper understanding of who God is
  • her lack of proper understanding of herself in relationship to God (PRIDE)
  • unbelief in the sovereign, holy, loving, righteous, omnipotent God of the Bible
  • an attempt to replace Christ as Lord of her life with something else – an idol (self, a man, marriage, wealth, beauty, thinness, etc.)
  • the sinful nature being in control instead of God’s Spirit being in control.  Either she has not received Jesus Christ as Savior and as literal LORD of her life, or she has sinned against God, grieving His Spirit, and does not have His Spirit empowering her right now – until she repents of her sin and begins to abide in Christ again.

THE FRUIT OF MY LIFE TELLS ME PLAINLY IF MY SINFUL NATURE IS IN CONTROL OR IF GOD’S SPIRIT IS IN CONTROL

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immoralityimpurity and debauchery (drinking alcohol to excess)20 idolatry and witchcraft (use of mind altering substances)hatreddiscordjealousyfits of rageselfish ambitiondissensionsfactions 21 and envydrunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.  Galatians 5

I used to think, well, I don’t participate in orgies or witchcraft.  And I don’t bow down to an idol.  I don’t drink alcohol.  I don’t commit adultery.  So – I am obviously not controlled by the sinful nature.  But I glossed over the fact that I was unforgiving, bitter, resentful, jealous, selfish and a huge idolator.  If I have even ONE of the things on the sinful nature list – that is the sinful nature in control, not God’s Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is one fruit.  ALL of these 9 qualities will be in my life in increasing abundance as God makes me more and more like Jesus.  If I am not living in His Spirit and experiencing all of this fruit on a regular, daily basis – I have a HUGE PROBLEM.  I either don’t have a relationship with Christ, or I have sinned against Him and grieved His Spirit.  Either way, I need to admit my sin, turn from it, and turn with all my heart to God – accepting His death in my place on my behalf to appease God’s wrath against me for my sin – by faith.  I must be willing to obey Him and submit myself wholly to Him in everything.  Willing to call Him my LORD and Master.  I cannot obey Him until He empowers me with His Spirit.  I cannot earn favor with God.  It is ALL Him.  He provides the way through Christ.  He gives me the faith to come to Him, He empowers me to grow in Him and live for Him.

UNDERSTANDING WHO GOD IS  AND WHO WE ARE WITHOUT HIM – IS CRITICAL

Sometimes we try to make God over in our own image.  We imagine that He is like our earthly father.  Or we have a very small, impotent, weak picture of Him because we learned not to trust Him but to trust self.  That is what I did.  I misunderstood some things that happened when I was 5-8 years old, around the same time I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord, and from that childish misunderstanding, I thought I learned that I was WAY more responsible for other people, situations, circumstances and, really, the whole world – than I actually am.  I truly believed it was my job to make everyone’s lives turn out right.  That is TOO MUCH PRESSURE!  I can remember crying when I was about 8-9 years old every night at bedtime because there were people starving around the world and I was not giving them food.  I really believed I was sovereign.  No one corrected my gaping and tragic misunderstanding  – or I didn’t understand it if they tried to – and I continued on with this belief into adulthood that I was responsible for everyone and everything.  I didn’t see where my responsibilities ended and God’s began.

God is God.  I am NOT.

I believe that when we put ourselves in the place of God in our lives (idolizing self), we think we should be able to be perfect, and when we discover we cannot be perfect, that can definitely lead to “low self esteem.”  We see we are not “good enough.”

Or if we believe we can actually be  “good enough” to please God in our own strength, and think that if we just work hard enough, we can earn God’s love and heaven – we find that it is impossible.

Another way we end up with low self esteem is that we make idols of beauty or of men – and when those things don’t fulfill us and provide the security and contentment we long for, we are devastated.

Sometimes we expect our men to idolize US – and when we detect that they could possibly even be conscious that there are other women on the planet – we may feel sinful jealousy.

There is a jealousy that is not sinful.  If our man is flirting with other women or cheating on us – we are being wronged if we are in an exclusive relationship.  Of course we feel jealous in that situation – our marriage covenant is being violated or threatened.  And yet – God does call us to respond without sin.  We may need to respectfully confront sin. (Matthew 18, Matthew 7:1-5).

**** If your husband is involved in infidelity, or there are major problems in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP!

UNBELIEF IN GOD AND TRUST IN SELF INSTEAD OF GOD IS HUGE SIN AND LEADS TO MANY OTHER SINS

That is why I was disrespectful towards my husband.  I had myself in the place of God – and I expected my husband to honor me as god, too!  Not consciously.  but this is how I lived.  I expected him to submit to me – I would NEVER have said that – but that is really what I expected.  “He should see I am right, and he is wrong, and he should do what I know is best.  I’m always right.  I know better than he does.  I’m a better leader than he is.  I know God’s will and he doesn’t.  I know better than everyone.”  YIKES!  If pride is measurable – mine was off the charts!

This is also why I tried to be in control.  If I put myself in the place of God – and I believe I am sovereign and responsible for everything to turn out “right” then I have to make things happen my way or they will all be “a mess.”  In my mind, it ALL hinged totally on me. So, I believed it was my responsibility and duty to make sure that things were done my way.  I was offended when other people resisted me.  After all, I am “doing God’s will.”  But what I was really doing, and this is terrifying, was trusting self and demanding that others worship and serve me.   Keep in mind, I was NEVER consciously saying these things to myself.   All the time believing I was trusting God and being the best Christian wife ever.

I developed and nurtured this false image of God being tiny and not very powerful and this HUGE image of myself being sovereign over my own life and over the lives of everyone around me.  I didn’t consciously think that way – but that is how I lived and what POWERFULLY motivated my thoughts and behavior.

I had it all backwards!

GOD is huge, powerful, omnipotent, omnipresent, sovereign over all the universe, wise, loving, just, holy, righteous and to be highly exalted.

I am NOT those things!

I am small, impotent, weak, full of sin and depravity, incapable of anything good on my own, foolish, unloving, prideful, totally unable to control circumstances or other people and I am but dust.  

  •  As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

11     there is no one who understands;

    there is no one who seeks God.

12 All have turned away,

    they have together become worthless;

there is no one who does good,

    not even one.”[b]

13 “Their throats are open graves;

    their tongues practice deceit.”[c]

“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]

14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16     ruin and misery mark their ways,

17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]

18  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]  Romans 3

This is me, a HUGE sinner – with ZERO capacity to do good or to “earn favor” with God.

  • All of us have become like one who is unclean,

    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6

This verse, literally translated, means “filthy, bloody menstrual rags” – which were not only nasty and gross, but were considered “unclean” by the Law in the Old Testament (per God’s instructions) because anything and anyone who touched a menstruating woman in the Old Testament Law times would have become “unclean” and would not be able to participate in temple worship for a certain number of days.

That is what our righteousness, our “good works” on our own look like to God.

Kind of  puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

  • I had to exalt God about a million notches and bring myself WAY, WAY, WAY down in humility for the first time in my life.

From this proper understanding of myself and God.  I can begin to build my true identity as a woman.

There is no need for me to freak out about why my man or any other person on the planet is doing if I am totally secure in Christ.  I mean, it would be great if people love me and are kind to me and are trustworthy all the time and never ever sinned against me.  But, if my contentment, strength, identity, power, purpose, peace and joy is 100% wrapped up in Jesus – I can have a peaceful, gentle spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear – even when I am sinned against, even when bad things happen, even when I don’t get what I want.

My trust is in my sovereign Lord.  His perfect love has driven out all of my fears – every single one of them.  I don’t have to try to make things work out or force my way. I rest in God’s sovereignty and live in His supernatural peace by His power working in me.  It is not my power – it HAS to be His alone.  I know that life is no longer about what I want, it is about God’s will and His purpose and His glory now.  I trust Him to use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory.  So I am unshakable in my human relationships.  I no longer desperately need the praise and approval of people.  My heart is totally devoted to Christ and I want to please and obey Him no matter what the cost.  No one can separate me from the love of Christ.

WHO CHRIST IS:

You may have a section in your Bible at the back that talks about the identity of Christ and of God.  That can be really helpful.

You can also search at www.desiringgod.org for some excellent articles by John Piper about who God is, and who Jesus is.

You can check out David Platt’s church and look at sermons, or look up his sermons on Youtube about Christ to watch.

You can read God’s Word – especially the gospels and New Testament letters – to see who God is.  But the Old Testament is also VERY rich in passages that describe the majesty, might, power, wisdom, royalty and awesomeness of God.  Be in His Word every day.  Hunger for Him.  Thirst for Him.  If you don’t have a huge desire to know Him more, ask Him to convict you of every sin that is keeping you separated from Him and be willing to repent (turn away from) all of that ungodliness and seek Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Proverbs 1:7

RELATED:

25 Ways to Respect Myself – ways to rightly think about myself

My Security Must Be in Christ

Trying to Find Security in All the Wrong Places

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Insecurity seems to be a practically universal struggle for women.

We want security in our marriages, and – really, with other people, too.  We want to know that we are lovable.  We want to know that no matter what happens, those we love will still love us.

We want security in the love of our husbands, their ability to protect us, their ability to provide for us, their trustworthiness, our safety with them, etc…

When Greg and I took a class on the 7 Basic Needs of a Husband and the 7 Basic Needs of a Wife – our teacher said that the #1 basic need of a wife is “A wife needs the stability and direction of a husband who is functioning as the spiritual leader of his family.”  I believe that another way of saying this is “security.”  I think that is interesting, considering the wife represents the church in marriage and the husband represents Christ.  Also interesting that the #1 need of a husband is “a wife who respects him for who he is as a man.”

Ideally, our husbands would be godly men in whom we could place our trust and confidence and they would never disappoint us.  Trouble is, they are all human, and they will let us down at times.

Here is a little secret about real security for you.

If you try to find security in anything or anyone other than Jesus – you are going to be full of fear, anxiety and insecurity constantly!

Trust me… I have personally gone down that road way too many times.

Sometimes as women, we think we are honoring and serving Christ, but then we start to put our faith in other places, too – without consciously even realizing it.  We start to look to other things/people to find our identity, to find our purpose, to feel safe and secure in our hearts.  “If I could just have X, I would feel safe.  I would be happy.  I would feel secure.” Things like:

  • self
  • romance
  • trying to be in control
  • perfectionism
  • people pleasing
  • education
  • high grades
  • sports
  • marriage
  • sex
  • our man to do what we want him to do  (“If he would just do what I want, everything would be great!”)
  • a man who never ever ever notices that there are any other beautiful women on the planet (“If I can keep him from seeing that woman at the next table, I can feel secure.”)
  • my man’s sinlessness (even in his thought life – this is a HUGE idol for many women!  “If I can just monitor his computer/phone all the time, and if I can watch to be sure he is not sinning at all, then I can feel secure.  Then he won’t sin against me and I will be safe.”)
  • children  (“If only I had a child, then I would be able to be happy/content/fulfilled.”
  • money
  • a great career
  • luxury
  • a house
  • a fancy car
  • having certain friends
  • popularity
  • adventure/excitement
  • partying
  • drugs/alcohol
  • escape
  • fame
  • beauty
  • having a certain body shape/size
  • being a godly wife, respect and submission can be idols if our goal is to control our husbands and we are not obeying God with the right motives to please Christ alone, we can even think God “owes” us if we think we are doing  a “good enough” job and begin to demand that God do certain things for us in return – NOT GOOD!

The list could go on and on.  What we are really doing here is – we are trying to fill a God-shaped hole in our hearts with things that will never satisfy us.

Worldly things cannot bring true contentment!  God Himself makes sure of that!  I am so thankful!

Only Jesus can truly satisfy the deepest needs and longings of our souls.

These other things can easily become idols that we put above Christ in our lives – these things can become more important to us than intimacy with Him.  That is one HUGE problem!  Idolatry breaks the most important commandment to have no other gods in our lives but to worship the One True Lord God and serve Him only.  To God, when we put other things in His proper place of worship in our lives, and try to find our identity, purpose, fulfillment and contentment in those things – it is as if we are committing adultery on Him in a marriage covenant.  But His covenant with us is even more sacred than a marriage covenant.  This is SERIOUS stuff.  Many times, we don’t even realize what we are doing!  But there are some symptoms we can look for to tip us off.

SYMPTOMS OF INSECURITY – THAT WE MAY BE PUTTING SOMETHING ABOVE CHRIST IN OUR HEARTS AS AN IDOL:

  • desperation for something other than Christ
  • neediness towards the thing/person we idolize – thinking we MUST have that thing/that person to be happy!
  • despair
  • loss of joy
  • anxiety, lack of peace (any sin can create this, and there can be other causes, too – but not trusting God but trusting self or something else, not living by faith in God does create huge anxiety!)
  • depression (this is one cause for depression – it is not the only one!)
  • fear (this is one of the causes of fear)
  • willingness to sin to have the thing/person in which we place our trust, a willingness to go after our idol no matter what the cost to us or anyone else
  • obsession
  • extreme anger when someone attempts to take our idol away
  • the things of God seem boring
  • God’s Word does not spring to life when we read it
  • a lack of ability to hear God’s voice
  • disobedience to the Word of God
  • comparing ourselves to others
  • complaining
  • arguing
  • increasing sin
  • a hardened heart to God
  • lack of love for Christ, a heart that has grown cold towards Him
  • pride that I know what is best
  • discontentment
  • bitterness

There are many more – but hopefully this will help us recognize what we are doing.  Basically, our sinful nature is in control – but we are not getting the happiness we want and we become more and more sinful as we try to reach for that thing we think we have to have.   It consumes us.

God designed us to find our identity, our purpose, our fulfillment, our strength, our refuge, our joy and peace in Him alone.  

HE IS OUR LIFE!

HE IS OUR REWARD!

HE IS OUR IDENTITY!

HE IS OUR PURPOSE!

HE IS EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD!

When I see negative feelings, anger, jealousy, discontentment, greed in my soul – it is a big flag to check my motives and to look for idols in my heart.  They must all be torn out by the root.

INSECURITY IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH MEN

If we begin to feel very insecure with a man, it is often because we have taken our eyes off of Christ.  It’s time to ask myself some hard questions in the light of God’s Word and His Spirit

  • What is my purpose here?
  • Why do I feel insecure?  Is he sinning against me?  Or am I trying to find security in him that I can really only find in Christ Jesus?
  • What is the goal of my life?
  • What do I believe I need to make me happy?  Is it anything other than Jesus?
  • Could I be putting this man above Christ in my heart?
  • Am I expecting this man to meet needs that only Jesus can meet in my soul?
  • Am I trying to please this man or this person above pleasing God?
  • Am I seeking this person’s approval above God’s approval?
  • Am I looking for reassurance that I am worthy of love in this human relationship?
  • Where am I looking for my security?
  • How is my communion with God?

sometimes we are insecure because our husbands sin against us.  Sometimes we are insecure because we expect them to be Jesus to us in ways that no human could be.  Sometimes we make our husbands into idols and expect them to be responsible for our joy and contentment.  That is not right!  Only Jesus can give us real, unshakable, joy and contentment.

WE HAVE NO REASON FOR INSECURITY IN CHRIST JESUS!

The way that we develop a godly, feminine, gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear (I Peter 3:4-6) is that we put our trust 100% in our sovereign God.

  • THAT is how we can be at peace no matter what our circumstances.
  • THAT is how we can be unshakable.
  • THAT is how we don’t have to struggle with feeling insecure about our looks, our bodies, our abilities, our lovability or anything else.

THE THINGS TO FOCUS ON AS WE GROW IN OUR SECURITY AND FAITH IN CHRIST ARE:

WHAT DOES GOD’S WORD SAY ABOUT ME WHEN I DON’T HAVE CHRIST?

I’m sure that “self esteem” experts wouldn’t like what I am about to share.  But, God says that we are all wretched sinners.  How is that for boosting our self esteem?

  • God says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23
  • “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one… ruin and misery mark their ways, the way of peace they do not know.  There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-12, 16-18
  • We are all image bearers of God.   We were created to bring glory to God (Genesis 2).  But we all became slaves to sin.
  • We all deserve God’s wrath and judgment for our sin.  (Romans 6:23)
  • We can do nothing on our own to restore a right relationship with God.  (Ephesians 2:8)

WHO AM I IN CHRIST?

Once I receive the gift that Jesus offers to me – where I accept that He took the wrath and punishment upon Himself for my sins that I deserved – and I accept that in total faith and trust in Him – He gives me a new life.  He gives me a new identity.  He gives me a new heart and mind and a new nature.  He crucifies my sinful nature with Him on the cross.  All things become new.  I accept Him not only as my Savior – who saved me from the punishment God would have righteously given to me for my sin – but I accept Him as Lord.  Now He is the Master.  I am a slave to Him.  I am free from sin and now I am a slave to righteousness!

Our security is found in Christ alone.

We’ll talk much more about these issues in the next post!!!!!

THIS is exciting stuff! 🙂

 

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Roots of Insecurity

Our Identity in Christ -THIS is My Security!

CONTACT ME:

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