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Am I Too Quiet with My Husband?

The past two Mondays, we have examined the topics, “Am I Too Chatty with My Husband?” and “What Do I Do with My Desire for More Verbal/Emotional Connection?” For some of us, we struggle with talking too much. Others of us struggle with not wanting to talk to the point that our silence is deafening and not healthy for our marriages. Some of us try to correct one imbalance and overshoot  and end up on the other side of the pendulum for awhile and just keep swinging back and forth between the two. I have done that.

Today, let’s tackle the issue of times when we may be too quiet and examine the heart issues that may be going on behind the scenes. It’s helpful to do a motive-check with the help of the Light of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Prov. 8:21

WHY DO I WANT TO BE QUIET?

Some Not-So-Productive Reasons to Be Quiet

If these issues are going on, I may want to spend some time with the Lord to deal with my spiritual issues so that I am not hiding from God or from my husband. If things are severe, I may need to reach out to a trusted godly counselor or female mentor.

Some Reasons That Require Godly Discernment – talking may be wise, or being silent may be wise

Some Good Reasons to Be Quiet

  • Talking a lot is exhausting for me – it is just my personality.
  • I want to avoid talking too much out of humility and a desire to honor the Lord with using my words carefully to only speak Life.
  • My husband is not a believer (or is far from the Lord) so I want to focus on 1 Peter 3:1-6 to “win him without a word” and not preach, lecture, nag, or explain too much about spiritual things but set a godly example by my attitude and actions.
  • I am seeking to give him the gift of respectful space that I know he would appreciate.
  • He doesn’t want me to talk too much or he is in a bad place spiritually and unreceptive right now.
  • I am thinking carefully about what I want to say so that I say it wisely.
  • I want to pray over what I want to say first so that I respond in the Spirit and I don’t just blurt something out in my flesh.
  • I am focusing on thanksgiving and praise in my heart to the Lord.
  • I want to just be available to listen to him for awhile if he wants to talk.
  • I am silently praying in my heart.
  • We enjoy being together without talking sometimes.

RELATED VERSES:

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Prov. 17:28

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Ps. 62:5

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matt. 5:37

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matt 12:36-37

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Ps. 19:14

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Eph. 5:4

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Prov. 25:11

SHARE:

What are some reasons you find yourself being really quiet? When is talking and speaking up a struggle for you? Is there any wisdom you would like to share on this topic?

Much love!

April

RESOURCES:

If you have a very difficult marriage, please check out the healing you can find in Christ for yourself (and maybe your marriage) in Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMSdaily

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

25 Ways to Respect Myself – (or to think rightly about myself)

Isn’t Loving or Respecting Myself Wrong or Selfish? – by Radiant

The Spiritual Healing Available to Each of  Us in Christ – by Radiant

I Can’t As for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Desires, or Emotions – By Radiant

Cinderella and the Gospel – by Radiant (about how many of us reject the love of Christ instead of graciously receiving His amazing gift)

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

Handling Political Disagreements Respectfully

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

Overlooking Insults

Am I His Prosecuting Attorney?

Me in 2003 – 5 years before the Lord opened my eyes

MY OLD WAYS

Ugh. This describes me for so long in our marriage. I would often decide we had an issue. I would think nonstop about it all day – determining all the questions I would ask Greg so I could verbally nail him to the wall. I was completely sure I knew all kinds of evil motives he must have had toward me. I spent hours carefully gathering my evidence against him so I  could prove to him how wrong he was with all of my strong arguments.

When he would get home – there was no happy welcome or smile from me on those days. I lit right into him. I was in “prosecuting attorney mode”  – determined to get him to admit how wrong he was and how right I was about any and every little issue as I cross-examined him under a microscope. That was all that mattered to me at the time – being right. I had no idea what I was doing to Greg or our relationship.

Of course, if he dared to address an issue in my life, even the smallest thing, I would all-out viciously verbally attack him. I was the only one allowed to do the questioning. I was the only one allowed to confront. Not him. I could disagree with him. But he best not disagree with me or he would suffer my wrath.

I was dumbfounded that I would ask all of my carefully crafted questions and he refused to say anything. Oh, that made me so mad! Fighting mad. I escalated my volume and vitriol when that happened, thinking he would surely answer me if I increased the intensity of my attack. I would make him answer! I thought he didn’t say anything because he knew I was right and he had no ability to defend himself against my superior reasoning abilities and character. I thought he was quiet because he was guilty of all of my accusations against him.

Many years later, after God opened my eyes to all of the sin to which I had been so blind for over 14 years in our marriage – I was able to finally see. Almost nothing about my husband matched up with what I had wrongly assumed for so many years.

Greg didn’t answer me because I put him in a no-win situation.

I had misunderstood his heart, thoughts, words, and actions completely. I was determined that I knew the truth and was right and that he was wrong. That was the only paradigm I would accept all of those years. And how could he even have started trying to explain anything – even if he wanted to – when my vision of him was so distorted?

It turns out, I didn’t know his heart at all. I didn’t know his motives. I was completely in another book – not just on another page.

What I thought was true all that time – really wasn’t. I had deceived myself. I was emotionally and spiritually completely exhausting to be around. I was verbally abusive. I didn’t call him names, generally. And I never cussed at all. I just took many verbal shots at him to undermine him, to label him, to condemn him, to blame him, to attack him, to show him how everything was his fault, etc… Then I resented him for being emotionally unavailable to me. He should love me more!

God! You need to change this man and change him RIGHT NOW! He is hurting me by not loving me the way I want him to. How could he be so cruel to me to unplug from me like this?

I don’t know if I could have understood back then if Greg did try to explain even if I had been willing to try to listen. I had no idea how different Greg’s perspective and mindset was. Usually, if he started saying something, I cut him off. I was convinced I completely understood the situation without ever hearing his side of things. I thought I already knew what he was thinking and what he would say. How I wish I had stopped attacking him and tried to listen.

To answer before listening– that is folly and shame. Prov. 18:13

GREG’S DILEMMA

So his choices at the time were:

  1. Try to explain himself, knowing I would refute anything he said that didn’t match my pre-conceived (and extremely inaccurate) notions.
  2. Fight me verbally.
  3. Say nothing to defend himself and just let me rant on by myself and continue thinking and assuming the absolute worst lies about him.

He knew it was futile to explain himself to me. He didn’t want to fight me. So he often chose #3 – which seemed like the lesser of all of the evils. He withdrew from me. He shut down. He became a shell of the man he was when we got married.

Turns out – husbands don’t really like to feel like they are coming home to a verbal firing squad or to an interrogation. Really, no remotely emotionally healthy person enjoys that. No one revels in the stress of feeling like a criminal defendant who is being cross-examined by a prosecuting attorney who has already judged him/her to be guilty. Most husbands want to have peace, harmony, joy, and contentment at home. They want to feel safe with their wives emotionally. Isn’t that honestly what we all want in our relationships?

WHOSE INSTRUMENT AM I?

How might we come across as if we are cross-examining a witness at a trial?

It is often our tone, our facial expressions, our emotional intensity, and our constant barrage of pointed, accusing questions.

It is extremely hurtful and frustrating to be utterly misunderstood, vilified, falsely accused, and wrongly condemned by someone who doesn’t actually know your heart and who isn’t even interested in trying to understand the truth or in trying to heal the relationship.

Ultimately, we long most for our husbands to share their hearts with us, to emotionally connect with us, to cherish us, love us, and adore us. So – let me just mention, my precious sisters – this “prosecutor” approach repels our men (and anyone else). It causes them to shut down their hearts to us. It does not make them want to open up to us and be vulnerable. They know they are not safe with us when we act like this because they are not safe.

It was sobering for me to realize that I was not acting in the power of God’s Spirit when I acted like a prosecuting attorney, like an accuser. In fact, I was acting like Satan and cooperating with him. “The accuser of the brethren.” I had actually allowed the devil to get a huge stronghold in my life. I didn’t realize it. I was blind to my sin back then.

I unwittingly invited him to set up a base camp in my heart and mind by holding on to pride, resentment, unforgiveness, etc… And I gave him free access to my thoughts, heart, mind, mouth, and body. I thought I was living for Jesus. My words often said I was. But the Holy Spirit was not in control. The fruit of my life was the fruit of the flesh not the fruit of the Spirit. I had allowed myself and my mouth to be an instrument in the hands of the devil to try to destroy my husband.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own
hands the foolish one tears hers down. Prov. 14:1

How I NEVER want to go back to that awful place again! I had a lot of repenting to do – to the Lord, to Greg, and to other people in my life, too.

 

Thankfully, there is so much hope for all of us in Jesus! We don’t have to stay in this awful toxic place where we destroy ourselves and our husbands and other people. Jesus can set us free from this snare. We can turn away from our sin and turn to Him to let Him cleanse and heal us by His work on our behalf on the cross! The Lord graciously healed me, and in time, He eventually also healed Greg and our marriage. How can I ever thank Him enough?

That same healing is available to you. You can have peace with God and you can live in peace, as far as it depends on you, in your relationships with people. The key is to know the Prince of Peace and to allow Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life. He has to power to change us as we yield to Him in faith, trust, humility, and obedience.

I have so many posts that may be a blessing to you if you find yourself in this place where I was years ago. If you are ready to stop cooperating with Satan’s plans to steal, kill, and destroy in your marriage and you are ready to cooperate with God’s good plans for your life and marriage, check out some of these resources. He can set you free from Satan’s prison just like He set me free almost 9 years ago.

RELATED VERSES:

A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike; he who would restrain her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand. Prov. 27:15-16

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. Prov. 21:19

 

NOTE – This post is not designed for women who are truly in danger with abusive husbands.

RESOURCES:

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Posts about husbands being our idols – being enmeshed with them, expecting them to meet our deepest spiritual needs that only Jesus can really meet.

Posts about being enmeshed

Posts about being a controlling wife

A Fellow Wife’s posts

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

Posts about fear – which is often the real motive behind my control

Posts about bitterness

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

If you have a very difficult husband, please check out Nina Roesner’s Strength and Dignity eCourse, or seek one-on-one private counseling with a trusted, godly counselor.

 

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Three strong believers share about finding contentment in Christ alone even in very painful, difficult, lonely situations where worldly peace and contentment are completely impossible. I pray their words and stories might bless you and your walk with the Lord richly!

From Sister in Christ #1 

I had to hit rock bottom and surrender everything to the Lord before I found that peace and trust in Him. I had to get to the point where I truly realized that my husband and my marriage had been an idol – that I had been depending on my husband to meet my needs, instead of God. So truthfully, the main reason I was so afraid of losing my husband (in the beginning) was because he was the one that I had been looking to – to take care of me, provide for me, love me, and fill me. I knew the Lord, but I had not been fully relying on God for these things – and I didn’t even realize that until after my husband left!

It took my husband leaving me for me to come to the end of myself and surrender to the Lord. And it took many months (actually over a year) before I FULLY trusted God with my life, my husband, and marriage.

I can assure wives that if they will press into the Lord and give Him total control, that they will get to a place of complete trust and have a peace that passes our human understanding! I’m sure there may be other problems on our spouse’s end, too. But the Lord wants to work on our hearts individually. The change has to start with us! There may be a totally different timetable for what God does in a husband’s heart and in the marriage, but the only time table that we have any control over is what we allow God to do in our hearts right now, even through painful, lonely situations.

I remember people telling me things like that and I would just get angry because I didn’t want to hear that I had no control over anybody but myself.

Control issues are rooted in fear – what do we truly believe about God?

  • Are there false beliefs about God that needed to be uprooted?
  • Do we see Him as being totally sovereign, 100% trustworthy, and that He is exactly who the Bible says He is – and that He can do exactly what the Bible says He can do?

That was another thing that I discovered in this journey, that I had false beliefs about God – I didn’t truly believe He had only the best plans for my life. I had to ask the Father to break many strongholds, and to renew my mind by His word.

I had to start speaking out scripture, and hear myself declare it, until I truly believed it.

 

From Sister in Christ #2

You know what? It would be wonderful to have Christ-centered human companionship always, but so often in life, only the Lord stands with us. For example, in 2 Timothy 4

  • “. . .At my first defense, no one stood with me, but everyone deserted me. . . . But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me. . . . So I was delivered. . .

Ultimately, it is just us and the Lord who have to cross the “Jordan Rivers” of our lives.

God makes all His best people in loneliness. That is so demonstrable. You study the great souls in the Bible, those great souls – they walked alone — alone with God. Just like great eagles that soar, they fly alone.

That loneliness is hard to endure, and impossible to enjoy unless God is really within you. But that’s how you can tell He is really living in your heart. You will enjoy it!

God makes us His, alone. He takes us out to be alone to make us Holy. And Holiness is real Happiness. I believe it is because He knows how dangerous co-dependency is. Faith in Jesus combined with action is the only thing that will bring you contentment. I have to be alone very often because of my work and travel schedule. I was so worried when it all started, now, I can’t wait to get alone with the Lord. That’s how I fully refuel.

My goal is GOD HIMSELF. Not joy, not peace, not even blessing – but HIMSELF. . .my GOD.

I lived for the praise, acceptance, and expectations of those around me. Now, I have an audience of ONE. Also, He is now the only One who gets a vote on my worth and value. Jesus had an audience of ONE, His Father. Only God knows why He takes us along these paths. All we can do is keep seeking God in Christ and let Him direct us. He loves you, you have the greatest value. He gave His life for all your worth!

From a Brother in Christ

Two weeks before our 10th anniversary my spouse walked out of the family home with my two children after engaging in multiple acts of adultery with multiple different people. I am now divorced (not my decision), I have sold that family home, split our assets, moved to a different town and have walked a LONG way through the valley of pain since that day.

When a person whom you believed would meet your emotional needs and create fulfillment within you fails to meet those needs, it creates a deep hole within.

We begin to question so many things!! We feel upset, angry, and fearful. For me fear was the overriding emotion.

  • What will this do to me?
  • What will this do to my children?
  • How will I ever heal from this?

At the point of my anniversary I had NO idea what to do or how to heal. But I came to a place where I genuinely surrendered the situation and the outcome of my life to God.

I did NOT have peace or joy when I surrendered it to God, I still felt the pain and fear but I had made a conscious decision to trust God with the process. It was a time of great trial.

Fast forward to nearly 7 months later and I was still grappling with the separation and pain, but still surrendered to God’s will and plan. At this point I was focused on a Christian book that used Isaiah as a springboard to talk about the healing that we can find in Christ. It talked about the fact that Jesus used these prophetic words to illustrate that He was the one who would bind up our wounds, heal our hearts and set us free. And I wanted that far more than anything else!

God graciously opened my eyes and heart to see that in Christ I was loved and accepted without reservation! That the only one who had any right to reject me actually chose to give His life for me!!!

As I saw this, my heart was set free from needing approval or acceptance from my spouse and I knew SO much joy. I knew that if I never had my spouse again I would be more than ok.

And, I am more than ok.

Nearly 2.5 years after my spouse requested a divorce, I AM divorced and all that I feared DID happen, plus more. The trials were so severe that I could not have imagined them. But I am 100% ok and I am thriving in all aspects of life. I enjoy companionship and the love and presence of God in a tangible, incredible way that I did not think possible before I experienced it. I have experienced answers to prayer, fulfillment, and joy that I had no idea was possible. Truly the treasures of heaven are found in Christ.

God has met my needs emotionally, spiritually and physically in every way I needed.

Interestingly, my prayers for a reconciliation were not answered and I realise now that those prayers were made because I wanted to find my identity in my spouse. God could not allow that, my identity must be in Him. Now, I do not pray for a reconciliation, in fact I am reluctant to consider a reconciliation given the history between us. Now I pray for my ex-spouse’s salvation and for my ex-spouse to experience God’s love, as that is of primary importance.

When we try to find our identity in another person we find ourselves in bondage to that person.

When we receive validation, we feel ok. When we do not receive validation, we feel awful. But, when we receive all that God has for us in Christ we can feel ok whether we receive validation from our spouse or not! The words and actions that our spouse gives can be received as a gift when they are positive, recognised as coming from a wounded heart when they are not positive or used as a springboard for prayerful, personal evaluation if they are suggesting things about an area that we may need to grow in.

I pray that you will be able to see again, or maybe for the first time, just what you are worth to Christ. He gave ALL that He was to purchase you, to have you for His own, He ADORES you and wants to know you and love you in a way that you can not imagine. I pray that you are able to release your fear and hurt to God and enjoy this day with Him.

SHARE:

If you want to share a bit about your story and how you are learning to find contentment in Christ alone, you are welcome to share. If you are struggling in this area and want to talk about it, you are also welcome to share.

Much love!

RELATED:

If you are dealing with a very difficult marriage, please check out the healing that is available to you in Christ at Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. There are lessons to read and watch. And there is a private forum there for women to heal and encourage each other.

A Big Lightbulb about True Contentment

Roots of  Insecurity

Finding God’s Victory over Fear

My Security Is in Christ Alone

A Lightbulb Moment about Loneliness

The Spiritual Healing Available to Each of Us in Christ – by Radiant

A guest post by a Christian wife and mom who is in her mid forties now. She had received Christ as a 5 year old child and was raised in a Christian home. Her personality and marriage dynamics were rather the opposite of Greg’s and mine. In addition, Radiant was severely spiritually oppressed and physically chronically ill for many years until the Lord miraculously healed her spirit and body about 3 years ago. Her physical illness was so bad that she was almost an invalid many days and couldn’t take care of her children. Sometimes she couldn’t think, walk, or talk. She had severe “brain fog,” confusion, and depression. And then some strong prayer warriors who knew Jesus and His love and power surrounded her and prayed over her. She began to renounce the horrible lies she had believed about herself and God and began to receive good things from God, His Word, His creation, food, and her family. May this post be a great blessing to you today:

Dear friends,

As we come to Jesus today, we come wounded. The vast majority of us have been beaten up and robbed on this battlefield of life. Our joy and peace have been stolen. The crucial truths about Who He is and who we are in Him – stolen, plundered and destroyed in most of the Church for centuries and left in ruins.

Our true identity has been stolen – and much like Edmund when the White Witch tempted him with becoming a prince of Narnia through obedience to her – we have believed lies of the enemy, and slipped into a frozen, dark prison. Bound in fear. Starving for nourishment. Always thirsting. Unable to breathe. Hearts racing. Bearing heavy loads. Harassed and helpless, like sheep without a Shepherd. Thinking we walk in the light (we have the Word!) as we walk in darkness and despair. Expecting ourselves to meet every standard of God’s law in our own strength, and living in constant defeat and condemnation when we don’t.

If you are like I was for so many years, you might be angry at anyone who suggests there could be real hope.

We believe we have tried. We have prayed. We have had elders and family and our church pray. We have done everything possible that we know to do and been to every doctor and tried every oil and diet, researching things to death – and yet we are…

Still stuck.

Still sick.

Still alone.

We have felt like victims. Victims of others’ abuse, of marriage, of politics, of the medical community, of the school system, of the food supply, of the Church. Of our culture. Sometimes we feel like victims of God. We start to believe the best we could get for is for someone to understand our pain – that we have been abandoned by God, the Church, and hope.

But, what was Jesus’ response to the sick, beat up, paralyzed, blind, hungry, poor and dead? If you are ready – let’s start looking at what Jesus really said and did, rather than filtering His healing or deliverance through sermons we have heard, experiences we have or haven’t had, or our current theology.

  • Can we dare to ask Him to open our hearts to Him – the Lover of our souls?
  • Can we invite Him in to heal and free our bodies, minds, spirits, relationships, and hearts?

Our Jesus told of a man who was beat up, robbed, and left for dead on the road; and the Christ-like response was Someone who picked him up, wrapped His own clothes around the wounded man, bound up his wounds, poured salve on his cuts, carried him to a safe place of rest and healing. All paid for by the Christ-like one out of love and compassion.

  • The One whose Cleanness was so contagious, He could touch lepers and they would be made clean.
  • The One whose compassion always moved Him to heal every sick, lame blind, possessed or oppressed person who was brought to Him. Every. Single. One.
  • The One who sings over us and made us His beautiful Bride. He seated us in heavenly places with Him – and He holds us close to His heart.

He draws us into the Throne Room to dance with Him as galaxies spin around Him. He whispers to His shy Bride, “In My throne room, we dance!” He moves His Bride from the shadows of condemnation, to the Light of His love and grace. This is the One who loves us with all of His heart.

We were blind –but He wants us to see. We were dead, but He raised us with His resurrection power in Him. He has moved us from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light with Him. He has made us royalty with Him. He placed His Spirit inside us. We have His DNA! He gave us His name. He wants us to proclaim and declare His truth and good news and power over creation – that His Kingdom come and His will be done in every heart, home, marriage, child, neighborhood, church, dark place and nation as it is in heaven.

As we speak out His truth and promises in faith – He accomplishes it!

He and His angel armies are on the edge of their seats, waiting and watching for those of us who will dare to praise Jesus in our trials and speak His will and power and authority into the dark places. The power of life and blessing is in our tongues! He loves to answer!!

He is our Supply. He is our portion. Our inheritance. He is the Initiator who whispers His promises, love, and joy into our hearts – that we get to echo back to Him in faith. He is Good. He fights for us. And He loves us with a pure, holy and infinite love at all times. He does not leave us but holds us close.

No, I don’t understand everything about how suffering, sickness, disease and injuries work.

But as a former ICU and recovery room nurse who has been healed by Jesus of things man couldn’t touch – I see that things are not as clear-cut as I once believed. I can’t neatly divide the body into the digestive system or the nervous system as the obvious root of a problem.

  • I can’t divide life into merely physical versus merely spiritual.

There is no such division as secular or sacred. There are truly emotional, mental, spiritual and physical aspects tied up together in much of life. Things connect. People connect. There are root causes of things that sometimes go back into our history. Words and actions have power for blessing or cursing, for life or death. Jesus says “Choose Life!” “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Jesus has shaken up my worldview. And I am so glad He has!! I see Him calling out to His Bride (His Church), who has been sick, frail, in tremendous pain, weak, wounded, plundered and left for dead.

He says over us, “Dead bones – (your own life, dead families, dead churches) – come together. Be joined and built together.” And there is a rattling sound happening now. Now. Today!

“Bones, be put back into a body with every connection and organ and cell in place working properly. Body of My Bride – be brought together and be made whole.” And the Bride is coming together, being healed and being united. She is being given the strength to stand on the Truth with Jesus.

“Breath of the Spirit – fill my Bride with Life! It is time. Now is the time for her to Live. Arise My Love! The grave no longer has a hold on you! It’s time to dance!! Sing to me as I sing over you, My beautiful one. Praise me and see what I am about to do! The bells of Freedom are ringing over you!”

Holy Spirit,

We invite You in. Open our cold and hard hearts and spirits to You. Help our unbelief. We invite You into our bodies, minds and hearts. Strengthen our spirits to be able to receive revelation of who You really are and Your great love for us.

Open the dusty drawers, dig up old rotting things in our closets. Cleanse, purge, prune us of all that is not of You. Reveal to us the places we are full of unbelief or pride, fear or doubt, anger or bitterness. Root it all out, Jesus. Plow up our hearts to be ready with good soil for all the seeds of Your Word You want to plant in us. Fruitful, beautiful things from You that need dead rotting things to be cast out.

Help us take up the weapons, tools and authority You have given us to take every thought captive for Christ. To reject all that is not of You. To receive everything that is of You, even if it is very different from how we are used to thinking. To the praise of Your glorious grace!

Amen.

You are loved!
Radiant

OTHER POSTS BY RADIANT

I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs Desires or Emotions

Being a Trophy Wife Is Not the Goal

Cinderella and the Gospel – about receiving the love and gift of Jesus for us with joy rather than rejecting Him with cynicism

Isn’t Loving or Respecting Myself Wrong and Selfish?

For a Wife with a Critical, Perfectionistic Husband

 

How to Avoid Being a “Busybody”

What is a “busybody”? Here is the definition from Strong’s Concordance:

Definition: one who meddles in things alien to his calling or in matters belonging to others; factious.

Essentially, if I am a busybody, I am inserting myself into other people’s lives and problems in a way that is unproductive and even harmful. My involvement does not bring healing, but rather, division. I am involving myself in the affairs of other people that are not my business. I am, undoubtedly, acting in the flesh not in the power of the Spirit of God. And generally, if I am a busybody, my advice is unwanted, unsolicited, and unappreciated.

As women, we love to help others. I think we are wired that way! Helping people is a good thing – when we are genuinely helping.

But there are limits to what is helpful. I can easily cross the line. Sometimes, I might think I know best for others, but I might really just be pushing my own personal opinions, agenda, and human wisdom. I can so easily deceive myself that my wisdom = God’s wisdom. People don’t need my opinions and wisdom. They need God.

When I try to help people in my own human strength, I speak death to the situation instead of God’s Life. That is not a blessing to anyone. Also, when I share God’s wisdom, if people are not receptive, they can’t and won’t hear me. I can’t make people hear or open their eyes. I have to accept my limits and remember I am not sovereign and I am not the Holy Spirit, God is.

What’s Wrong with Trying to Help People Who Don’t Want My Help?

If people come to me for advice or are open to what I share AND my heart is right with God, awesome! But most people won’t take advice that is unsolicited, even if it is really good advice. If people want help, they will generally ask for help. If I just keep blurting out lots of advice when others don’t want it, they will feel I am lecturing to them or preaching at them. They will resent me. People may feel I am looking down on them. I need to be sensitive to the way people respond to the wisdom I share with them.

The Bible has some wisdom to share with us about giving advice and sharing God’s truth:

  • The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. Prov. 12:15
  • If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words (about the gospel), leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Matt. 10:14
  • On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak. Matt. 12:36
  • Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. Luke 8:37
  • The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14
  • Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29
  • And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. He must gently reprove those who oppose him, in the hope that God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth. 2 Tim. 2:24-25
  • If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26

A few take-aways from scripture:

  • It is a person’s choice to listen to wise advice or to reject it. I can’t force wisdom on anyone. My job is to share the truth in love, what others do with what I share is between them and God.
  • Those who don’t know the Lord and are spiritually blind can’t see spiritual things yet no matter how much I explain them. This should not surprise or frustrate me. If they are ensnared by Satan, it will take the power of God’s Spirit to set them free.
  • My response to opposition must be kindness, gentleness, and patience. If people oppose God’s wisdom that I share, they are opposing Him, not me. I can lay them before the Lord in prayer.
  • When sharing the gospel or godly advice, if my words are not welcome, I don’t need to stay and argue, I can respectfully leave and ask God’s Spirit to work in the person’s heart.
  • Jesus didn’t stay where people didn’t want His help, healing, and wisdom. He is a Gentleman, and He only stays and shares His miracles, truth, healing, and wisdom when He is invited and welcome.
  • If I am not sure what God says or thinks about someone’s situation, it may be best for me to simply pray for them and not try to address something if I don’t really know for sure what scripture would say. Only God’s wisdom is needed, not my own thoughts. Perhaps I can also direct that person to resources and wise, experienced, counsel. I won’t have all of the answers myself for every situation.
  • If I am helping someone else, I want to be very careful about sharing private information with anyone else in order to avoid gossip.

NOTE:

There can be some exceptions about helping someone who doesn’t want my help. When people are involved in very serious unrepentant sin, self-harm, active drug/alcohol addictions, there can be times when the most loving thing to do is to try to intervene even when the person doesn’t want help. This will usually mean I will be getting that person to someone who is experienced in helping people who are ensnared in these traps who can help them. Also, sometimes our children or employees don’t ask for our advice or counsel, but we need to give it respectfully anyway – when they are under our authority.

 

What Does God’s Word Say about Being a Busybody?

  • Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 1 Tim. 5:13
  • And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 1 Thess. 4:11
  • For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 2 Thess. 3:11
  • But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 1 Pet. 4:15
  • Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 2 Thess. 3:6

How Can I Avoid Being a Busybody?

When I am a busybody, I am a lot more concerned about the sins and issues of others (things for which I am not responsible) than about my own sins and the things for which I really am responsible. That is a big problem. First, I must be willing to allow the Lord to examine my own heart and deal with all of the sin in my own life before I could begin to see clearly to address “the speck in my brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:1-5). Then I can have the power of God’s Spirit and His wisdom filling me. Then I can also have proper humility to approach others with godly love.

I don’t get to:

If I have been doing things like this, if I realize I have been overly involved in other people’s lives in hurtful ways, I can repent of anything I have done that offended God and yield myself to His Lordship.

If I am really helping people in a godly way, I would want to:

  • See others experience the healing and freedom Jesus offers to them.
  • Pray fervently for them for God’s will and for Him to open their eyes.
  • See God’s greatest glory in their lives.
  • Humbly remember that I have no goodness in me apart from Jesus.
  • Remember that God’s wisdom is what is most urgently needed, not my wisdom or opinions.
  • Respect a person’s decision if she doesn’t want my help and pray for God to reach them in another way.
  • Be sure God is calling me to speak and that I know what He wants me to say so that I am obeying His prompting, not running ahead.
  • Only talk to the Lord, and possibly to my husband, or a godly mentor about the situation.
  • Watch my motives for sin and to repent as soon as I see any sinful thoughts in my own heart.
  • Watch for me getting overly involved  (enmeshed) or reacting in the flesh. I must act in the Spirit, not my own strength or wisdom.
  • Look for burnout, frustration, resentment, bitterness, anxiety, or negativity on my side of the relationship  – these are flags that I may be overstepping my bounds or not acting in the power of the Spirit.
  • Not just be a sounding board for someone to “vent” to. Venting is toxic. If it becomes obvious that a friend really doesn’t want to change and grow in Christ, I may have to stop attempting to help until she is serious about asking God to change her own heart and mind.
  • Encourage a Spirit of unity in the body of Christ – never division, resentment, rumors, gossip, hatred, or bitterness.
  • Speak Life rather than death to others.

It is a most serious thing to give advice to someone about spiritual matters or relationship matters.

If I give unbiblical advice or my understanding of God’s Word or His will is not correct, I could mislead someone into sin or error. If my own heart is not right, I can repel someone from the Lord and from a godly course of action. We are each responsible for our own decisions and for our own sin. But how I never want to be responsible for setting a stumbling block in someone’s way.

If I am acting as “an authority” in that person’s life, like I am a mentor, supervisor, mother, or teacher, I have even greater accountability before the Lord. How humble I must be if God has given me a position of authority so that I do not misrepresent God in someone’s life. If something seems to be more than I can handle or I am not sure, I may need to refer people with really serious issues to experienced, godly counselors and authorities who can best help those in need.

How Can I Tell If I Am a Busybody?

www.gotquestions.org has a really helpful list of questions we can ask ourselves to determine if we have become busybodies.

RELATED:

Avoiding a Critical Spirit Toward other Women on This Journey

It’s predictable.

When I start to grow and God works in my life, there is always a new temptation that comes along with each step of growth and deepening faith. Satan will make sure of that.

As God begins to show me the sin in my heart, I start to become aware of the sin in others’ lives, as well. Things that didn’t bother me one bit before (when I was fine with doing them myself) will start to grate on my nerves in other people’s lives – like fingernails on a chalkboard.

I may find that women disrespecting their husbands or trying to control them is everywhere (or whatever sin I am currently working on in my own life).

When a particular sin issue is finally on my radar, I will become much more aware of the same sin in others’ lives.

If I am not careful, however, I will fall into a trap of the enemy. If he can’t keep me blind to my own sin, he would love to encourage me to develop a prideful, self-righteous, condemning, critical spirit toward others who are involved in my same kind of sin issues.

It can be tempting to think, “I have this whole disrespect and control thing totally in the bag. I’m being such an amazing Christian wife now. Doesn’t every guy wish he could be married to an awesome girl like me? All those other women really need to get it together.” But then, the second I do that, there is that nasty pride again. That is what started the whole thing in the first place with my control and disrespect toward my husband!

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

Pride. Ugh!!!

We all have to always be on guard for prideful thoughts. Here are some thoughts that may help us keep things in proper perspective:

  • How can I look down on other women who have the same struggles I do?
  • If I see others dealing with my particular sin issues, it is a chance to notice how destructive sin is and to see how much my own sin wounds those in my life when I act like that. When I see it more objectively from the outside of someone’s life, I may see it more from the perspective of my own husband when I do this to him.
  • I may be tempted to try to control or disrespect other women. That is not okay. Then I am right back to doing the same sin again!
  • I may find out next week or next year that I am still doing things that feel disrespectful to my husband that I am not currently aware of. I still have much to learn myself and will always have much to learn.
  • How can I condemn another person when if it weren’t for the grace of God, that is where I would be right now, too?
  • This is an incredible opportunity for me to extend the grace of Christ to others that I have received myself!
  • Without the Lord’s power and His Spirit, I am capable of any sin in my own sinful nature.
  • People sure don’t need my opinions or human wisdom, they need the Lord.
  • Lord, help me see my pride clearly and help me to detest it as much as You do.
  • The only power I have over any sin is Jesus’ power in me. It is not my own goodness. I have zero ability to please God in my own power.
  • These precious women – for whom Jesus died – need my prayers, my support, and the love of Christ.
  • They need God to open their eyes like He did for me and to be set free (just like I needed to be) because if they knew how to get out of that spiritual prison, they would.
  • God desires me to show genuine, godly respect to these other women (and everyone else).
  • I have the same depraved sinful nature that every other person does – thank You, Jesus, that You have put it to death!
  • I still have access to my sinful nature – but now that I have Jesus, I have a choice to allow my old self to remain dead and to live by God’s Spirit or to get my old sinful nature out. I can still sin if I choose to. Only through the power of Christ in me can I have victory.
  • It is a moment by moment choice whether I “reckon myself dead to my old sinful nature” or not. If I am far enough away from God, I am capable of any sin. But if I am in Christ, I won’t want to be in sin, but I will long to please the Lord.
  • Those who don’t have Christ have no choice but to sin, they are slaves of the sinful nature. This should provoke compassion in me for them.
  • My sin was and is just as deadly to my soul as any one else’s sin, no matter what sin it may be.
  • We all stand on level ground at the foot of the cross in total desperate need of Jesus’ blood and the cross.
  • I must constantly embrace humility. Exalting God alone, not myself.
  • God is good. I am not.
  • Anything good in me is from Jesus. Not from me. I have no right to boast in myself, only in Christ.
  • How I long to only think and say things that are of the Lord – to speak His Life – and not to use my thoughts or mouth to speak death to others.
  • I will want to be very careful with saying something – only sharing if I am sure God wants me to speak and if my motives are pure and I can share with great humility.
  • It is generally best for me to share only if another person asks for my advice – and it may be best simply for me to share things God has shown me rather than to tell her what to do. But only as God clearly leads me.
  • Not everyone will be ready or willing to hear about what God has shown me. Only God can open a person’s eyes to sin.
  • If I find that my friends tend to be very disrespectful of their husbands, I may need to separate myself from them more. Not in a resentful or prideful way, but just to keep myself from temptation.
  • If I do speak, I must have both truth and love for the person to whom I speak. And I must have the power of the Holy Spirit or I may cause more damage. This is a very sobering thing.
  • How may I pray for this woman who is struggling? How may I seek to bless her in a way that would honor God?

Lord,

Thank You that You have opened our eyes to sin in our lives to which we had been blind. It is a gift that we can see the sin now and that we can repent. Help us be humble about the temptations lurking around every corner to be prideful. Help us to be aware of Satan’s tactics to take us down. Help us recognize his voice when he tempts us to accuse others. He is the accuser. I don’t want to let his thoughts invade my mind and give him access to my mouth to use to attack others with his words.

Let the Holy Spirit alone rule in my heart. Give me Your eyes for other women and men. Give me Your heart and Your mind about them. Let Your Words of life flow from my mouth. Not words that will kill and destroy. Let me look on all other people with compassion, godly love, kindness, and total humility – knowing we all need You. I want to exalt You not myself. Cleanse me and radically transform me to be more like Jesus. I trust You to live in and through me so that I can obey You. I can’t obey You by myself. I can’t repent by myself or come to faith in Christ by myself. I am completely dependent on You, Lord, to cause me to grow and to live in victory over sin.

Amen!

VERSES:

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Prov. 11:12

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov. 16:18

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Prov. 26:12

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Resources:

Taking Our Thoughts Captive – Peacefulwife VIDEO

Avoiding Gossip – Peacefulwife VIDEO

Giving Friends Godly Marriage Advice

Don’t Expect Outside Support

 

 

 

“I Wish My Husband Would Quit Smoking Cigarettes!” a Guest Post

I appreciate a wife’s willingness to share her story of answered prayer with us. I pray it may be a blessing to those who are facing similar situations with a husband who may have an unhealthy habit. 

(NOTE – if you are dealing with a husband who has a mind-altering addiction to illegal drugs, prescription narcotics, or alcoholism  – those more serious issues may require a different approach at times, and possibly wise outside counsel as God leads. Of course, prayer should be our first method of approach with any destructive issue, even the really serious ones. May the Lord provide the resources each wife needs and the wisdom and discernment each one needs in her specific situation.)

———————–

My husband continued to smoke for five years after he was saved.

It was a huge struggle for me! I had built up much resentment in my heart towards my husband over it. I complained and nagged and fought with him constantly. I offered little compassion.

One day after service at church, I was complaining to another wife about the situation. I was shocked with her response! She very bluntly rebuked me and told me that it was most likely because of me that my husband was not able to lay it down. She asked me how it would work for me if that was how someone handled me with an addiction like that. She told me that I needed to stop criticizing him and keep quiet. She told me that what I needed to do was to quietly pray for him and allow God to work on his heart.

I did not expect this reaction but it was effective! I was super convicted! So, I repented to God but decided to not say anything to my husband yet about what was said to me. I started praying diligently.

Would you believe that only THREE days later, my husband came home from work and told me that he was going to stop smoking! He said he was driving down the street watching people standing outside their places of employment smoking their cigarettes but literally freezing in the bitter cold! (This happened during the time that businesses started banning smoking inside their buildings so people had to go outside to smoke.)

He told me with a very serious face that he was repulsed at how ridiculous those people looked and he thought to himself,

“That is me; I look like an idiot like all those people standing outside shivering just so I can have my cigarette. I don’t want to look like that, too!”

He told me how convicted he was and that he made the decision that no matter how hard it was, he was going to stop! I could not believe it! It was such a lesson to me!

I was amazed at how fast the Lord was able to work as soon as I decided to get out of the way and let God be God! My discouragement really was causing my husband to stay bound.

When he stopped hearing my voice, he was able to hear God’s.

It was a real struggle when he stopped, but he never picked it back up again – and that was many years ago… over 25. He was literally sick on the couch while he dealt with the withdrawals, but he refused to give in. I took care of him and was able to offer him the support and encouragement he really needed and he was victorious. 🙂

It definitely was a very fast turn around and I wouldn’t want to end up actually bringing discouragement to anyone if the Lord chooses to not work as quickly on their behalf.  He works the way He works and that is all up to Him! Sometimes God works quickly and sometimes He delays. He knows best. If He acts fast, praise him. If He takes some time, then praise Him for that too because his timing us ALWAYS perfect.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

We tend to think that our words are so powerful to motivate our men. But they often are not! Men don’t tend to be motivated by words. Especially negative words that sound like preaching, lecturing, or nagging. (Honestly, none of us are usually very motivated by that approach.)

If we are willing to take care of any sin in our own lives and come to the Lord in great faith, I think we would be amazed at the answers to prayer we may see as we humbly seek Him and ask Him to intervene. I also believe He can provide the resources wives need even in the most difficult of situations. He can change our hearts. He can change our husbands’ hearts. He can change circumstances.

May we be the helpmeets and prayer warriors God calls us to be and that our husbands need us to be. May we stop trying to make them do things in the power of our flesh. That won’t work. In fact, when we act in our flesh, we only make things worse. May we seek to use our godly influence, and more importantly, the power of prayer. God can reach our husbands in amazing ways that we simply cannot.

I pray for His clear wisdom and direction for each wife in each specific and unique situation. Every story won’t look the same. Every story certainly won’t only take 3 days – although, that was so amazing and encouraging! May we seek God wholeheartedly ourselves and may we seek His clear guidance to find deliverance and help in our times of need.

Also, it seems that the Lord was behind the author’s friend at church rebuking her. But that same rebuke may not apply to every wife in a similar situation. Each wife’s heart is different. If we have a friend come to us, let’s be certain and very prayerful that we are hearing God’s voice. Let’s only say what He clearly leads us to say. It may not be the exact same thing in every situation.

SHARE:

If you have a story about how God showed you how to stop trying to accomplish something in the flesh and the victory He brought to you or your family, we would love to hear about it!

ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT COLUMBIA, SC CONFERENCE MARCH 24th-25th:

Greg is planning to speak for about 30 minutes during the conference. He will share a bit of his side of our story and he plans to take questions. This has been a favorite part of the conference for many of the ladies at our past conferences. Don’t miss it! And bring your questions to share! 🙂

Tickets are $15-$25

RELATED:

When I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God!

Portia’s Story – Winning Him without a Word

Why Do I Have to Change First?

I Need to Change! I Can’t Go on Like This! – by a wife who can’t stop trying to control her husband

My Secret Idol – her husband’s salvation

I Felt My Husband Was Neglecting Me

Why Is the TV More Important to My Husband than I Am?

I Can’t Force My Personal Convictions on My Husband 

“My Technology Addiction Hurt Our Marriage” – a Guest Post

A guest post from a sister in Christ:

The lightbulb moment for me came in the format of a “threat” to our marriage, actually through my husband’s use of his phone and texting. My husband is the farthest thing from a “techy” person. Very little computer or device use, spends absolutely NO time on social media. Kind of the last thing I would have thought was that my husband would be the one getting sucked in by devices, leading him down a dangerous path. However, I believe the Lord used this to open MY eyes, to how my own use of technology/social media was driving a wedge between us in our marriage, one that I was absolutely blind to seeing, as I was so caught up in creating my own perfect little world where I tried to control everything and thought as long as I did, then I could assure the outcome. How very, very, wrong I was, and I thank the Lord for showing me this!

I was the one in our marriage who spent all the time on devices, having to stay “connected”. I always viewed my technology time as “harmless” and a way to stay in touch with family and friends that I am separated from by distance. Well I guess over time, I started to let my time spent “connecting” with others in this way increase more and more, to the point I was pretty much having a device in my hand most of the time. I would “browse” and “chat” and whatever while I was spending time with my husband and family, thinking I was still “there” with them, when really I wasn’t. I was giving them only what was left, as my attention was always split, and I was always distracted.

Over time, as those devices competed for more of my attention, along with my disrespecting and controlling ways in so many other areas of my life, I was pushing my husband away more and more. I see now it was just another tool Satan uses to drive a wedge in our relationships. I was completely blind to the impact it was having. My husband was already pulling away because of all my disrespect and controlling ways (which I didn’t see then) and this was like another nail in the coffin of our marriage.

He felt less and less important as it was yet another way I was using my time for something else, and only giving him the “leftovers” which wasn’t much with a technology “habit”, a full time job, kids, kids activities, household duties, etc. And then the more he pulled away, the more I substituted the time I should have spent with him, just accepting he wanted to be “left alone” and just turned more to my devices and social media for companionship. It was a destructive cycle. We spent most of our time in the same house just existing side by side, but so little time actually “connecting” with one another. And the more I craved that connection with him that we USED to have, the more frustrated I got, and the more I just comforted myself in time spent on social media where I felt better “connected”. And I was just absolutely blind to the impact this destructive habit was having on our lives. This went on for a long, long time.

Then my husband, who doesn’t hardly bother with any of it, the gadgets, the internet, hates social media, etc. started getting attention from someone that he had met through his work (no longer works with her now, thankfully) who found him “interesting.” This someone was half his age and started bombarding him through text-chatting. First it was a text here or there, then within only days it had grown to a continuous chat where he was ignoring me yet almost hanging on every word in that conversation. It was growing into something fast and furious.

And I, in my perfect little world (or thought so), couldn’t get a word out of him! I was dumbfounded! Hit right over the head. I clued in that something was amiss as his behavior because very hidden and secretive, not like him at all. It wasn’t long before the Lord revealed what was going on to me and I am thankful that He revealed it before it went TOO far (although he had met with her when I wasn’t around as “just friends”). Even though at that time I was not really “listening” to him, I can say that I clearly see this was the moment the Lord was using to show me the dangers and the impact of what the “idol of technology” that I had made was doing to us!

I can clearly see now how this easily could have been me. But I thought my own actions were perfectly fine, because of course I couldn’t see who I was then! The Lord turned it around to finally open my eyes to the self-destructive path I was on in my own life (in many ways), by using the one in our marriage, who didn’t use technology at all in his personal life, to show us how dangerous this idol can be in our lives and what a devastating impact it can have on our relationships!

It was VERY rejecting and hurtful that I had already felt I had lost my best friend over the last couple years in our marriage that was spiraling downhill very quickly, and that connection I desperately wanted back had easily been picked up by someone else when I hadn’t been giving my husband the respect that he deserved in so many ways. It wasn’t JUST that, but it was the pivotal moment, and it was the beginning of the painful truth of how much our marriage was near the breaking point. It was at that point that things really exploded between us and my husband had clearly said he was “done.”

Through that experience, the Lord clearly showed me the truth about so many things about myself, and it was the beginning of a turning point where I finally gave control over to Him and stopped fighting for it. The Lord revealed so many things I could never clearly see before.

  • One of the things that came out was my husband sharing how rejected he felt that connecting with everyone else in the world was more important than him.

It was only a matter of time that something (ie. someone) came up to fulfill his loneliness and give him some attention to enjoy that I was no longer giving him. It was a HUGE eye opener. We have now dealt with that issue and I believe we finally have the technology monster under control. I made the commitment to no longer using technology when we were together and if so it’s something that we are looking at together or else it’s off limits.

We both have made the commitment to the phones coming out of our hands and getting left out where each other can see them but they aren’t used. We make the effort to power them off and leave them behind when we are doing something that doesn’t require technology. It is something we have to be diligent about and we realize that, as it’s so easy to not even notice how much of our lives gets consumed by it. While I believe personal technology has been a wonderful, powerful advancement that has helped the world in so many ways, it also has opened so many doors to temptation, the opportunity to connect in ways we couldn’t before, the opportunity to “be” people we aren’t as we hide behind a screen, and if the devil can use it to get his foot in the door to destroy our relationships and make us dishonor God, he will. We must be on alert at all times, or it will happen before we realize what hit us.

I now only use my phone/device for any length of time generally during the time when I am not with my husband/family. I will only spend any length of time on social media, texting, checking email if I have time to myself. I realize now that staying “connected” to the world, is not what I need ALL the time. Staying connected to God IS all that I need. He is the only connection I need to have “open” all the time. Honouring my relationship with my husband and my family is honouring God. I now spend my time with my family without a device in my hand. I’m not perfect at it, but I try my best. And when I feel that itch, pulling me away from what is important, and trying to pull me back into immersing myself in social media, etc, I will continue to turn to God. I know He will help me overcome it. He has been faithful every step of this journey so far and I know He promises to be all that we need if we turn to Him.

 

 

“Dying to Self” Can Be Dangerously Misunderstood

Last Thursday, I ran a post about “Dying to Self.” Today, I want to talk about how it is possible for someone to misunderstand the concept of “taking up your cross and following” Jesus to think that this means, “I must take abuse. My needs don’t matter. I have to let my husband beat me or abuse my children. I have to be a doormat.”

That is NOT what this concept is about. It is not about giving up our personhood or being a punching bag. It is also NOT about hurting ourselves or beating ourselves up. It is about seeking God’s will above our own. It is about knowing who we are in Jesus and knowing and receiving ALL He has done for us on the cross and through His resurrection. It is about living in a place of great spiritual strength in Christ, not a place of spiritual weakness.

There are different kinds of suffering in this life.

  • The suffering that happens because we are in a fallen world.
  • The suffering that happens due to our own sin.
  • The suffering we experience due to others’ sin against us.
  • The suffering that comes because we voluntarily do what is right.
  • The suffering that comes because God is disciplining us.

God calls us to lay aside our old sinful nature and live for Him. My old sinful self is no longer to be on the throne of my heart. Jesus is now my Master. So when I talk about “dying to self” I am talking primarily about suffering I experience because I decide to live for Christ as LORD no matter what the cost. It is about self-sacrifice in a way that brings honor and glory to God. It is not suffering for the sake of suffering. It is not suffering because I just have to sit and take abuse if I have the ability to leave. It is suffering for the sake of doing God’s will. If this doesn’t make sense, let me know and let’s talk about this some more. 🙂

There may be times when a believer is persecuted and may suffer for the Gospel by being imprisoned, by losing his/her job, or by being physically punished. That kind of suffering may be inevitable. But suffering at the hands of an abusive spouse or self-abuse is something that we can rightly seek to avoid. Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified because that was God’s will to bring about salvation. Other times when people tried to kill Him, He slipped away.

NOTE:

There can be confusion about this idea of dying to self, or the concepts that are like it in Scripture. One reason I think this happens is that from God’s perspective, we are already dead and crucified in Christ. We are already dead to this world and alive to God through Jesus. To Him, that happened 2000 years ago on the cross. It is a done deal sealed by the finished work of Jesus on the cross. He did EVERYTHING necessary to make us right with God. We have already been justified. To be justified means that Jesus completely paid our sin debt in full. It is an accounting term.

But then, there are also all of these commands about us participating in this process on a daily basis as we follow Jesus. So we are involved in “picking up our cross,” “putting to death the misdeeds of the body,” and making ourselves “living sacrifices” for God moment by moment. It is a continual mindset of surrender of self and yielding to the Lordship of Christ. Yes, this is the process of sanctification which continues for our lifetimes until we reach heaven. 🙂 It is that process of learning to live out and experience all that Jesus has done for us in our daily lives.

We absolutely must guard against a works-based salvation. We are all prone to want to go to that in our pride – to think that we can somehow earn what Jesus did for us on the cross ourselves. But we cannot!

The ONLY way we can have power and victory over sin is through the power of God’s Spirit working in us. We don’t have power in our own sinful flesh to do this.

From an Anonymous Wife:

Because I come from a background with a lot of out-of-control sin from adult authorities, I had a very distorted understanding of the meanings of things. And then coming to church and hearing blanket statements made as if everyone had the same lexicon made it even more confusing for me. “Dying to self” was one of those things that really frightened and terrorized me a bit.

When you live with abuse, your very self is being attacked as if its somehow wrong for you to live and exist and as if there is nothing good about you. You are being told all the time that you are bad, worthless, etc.

Then I get to church and hear the self being talked about as if its a bad thing too. It was years before my reasoning skills and theological understanding developed enough for me to even understand what was being talked about, so I couldn’t even articulate my difficulties for a long time! I thought God agreed with the abuse I suffered because of that and that my feelings about it were irrelevant to Him because they were part of self! Worse, I met Christians who actually thought that way. Now, hoping I indeed have gotten it, lol, here is what I think it means.

How I understand this now is that when Jesus asks us to deny ourselves, He is not talking about systematically trying to annihilate anything that is us. He is more likely talking about the self that is part of the sinful nature, the flesh.

It can also include our will when what we want is contrary to what God wants. But it does not mean that the person you are as far as your unique identity or personality equipment as God designed it,is what needs to die. I like animals and art and living in the country. That is not bad, its part of who I am as a person. There is no sin in it, of itself.

However, if God was calling me to move to an inner city neighborhood where he wanted me to reach out to homeless youth, and I said to him ” No, I don’t want to leave my farm and my wholesome environment, then that would be an example of denying myself for His sake. If I have a tendency to gossip or am bitter and unforgiving towards someone that would be an aspect of my flesh that God wants me to deal with by putting it to death on the cross.

Yes, He is referring to that we are dead and we count ourselves dead to our sinful old nature, our flesh, and to this world. But we are alive to God in Christ. We have a new self that is glorious, blessed, beloved, cherished, valuable, precious, and beautiful in Christ. It is so important that we know what “self” we are to die to and what it means to take up our cross.

 

By The Satisfied Wife:

April,
I think you are right on in what you shared about this. And something else hit me as I read this comment. In my experience, because I was mistreated for so long, and suffered in that sense for getting involved with the wrong kinds of men, and not having a strong father figure in my life, I became completely self-reliant and independent, with a heart hardened to the harsh realities of life. And in being mistreated and developing that independent spirit, looking back I see actually how selfish I became. That sounds wrong, but hear me out if you can 🙂

Because I was mistreated and grew up mistreated, and did not develop a healthy self-worth, and developed that desire in my heart to be loved and wanted and all those idols that are attached to that desire—-it actually made me self-centered. All I cared about was what I wanted, what I needed, what I wasn’t getting from this guy or my father or whoever. My husband pointed this out to me a long time ago, really right after we got married, he saw how selfish I was and how focused I was on having my needs met in the marriage. And because my needs and expectations weren’t getting met the way I wanted them (with the never ending black hole heart), I was disrespectful, complaining, negative, argumentative, controlling, etc.

That’s what happens when we are mistreated in life, as a young woman, we become fearful and controlling because we feel the need to protect ourselves because we have not been treated right. We become independent and self-reliant.

So when God led me to Himself, and revealed Christ in my heart—— that was one of the first things He showed me. He led me to read the book “Not a Fan”, and it was all about dying to self and following Christ. I remember how eye-opening that was for me, because my selfishness was exposed.

And as the years have gone by, He has continued to lead me to the true meaning of dying to self and following Christ, by leading me to your blog, and to the book captivating— and now I see all the pieces put together to this puzzle for me.

He has shown me that in reaction to the way I was mistreated by my own father and men in my life, my heart grew very cold and I became even more selfish. I was living in self-protection mode which entails controlling and fear for my whole life really. All I cared about was myself, honestly. I wanted what I wanted.

I’m not saying it’s ok for anyone to treat someone wrongly. But what I am saying is that, I had an even more challenging time learning how to die to self because of being mistreated and having developed a very independent self-reliant spirit that was highly selfish. I looked at everything my husband did through the lens of my wounded, selfish heart, instead of through Christ and the Cross. I had no idea that my wounded heart was behind all of the control, fear, and disrespect. I didn’t realize that wounded heart was behind a lot of the conflicts in marriage. It was harder for me to “let go” of control and all the fear and self-protection and it was hard to learn to truly trust God and surrender all to Christ. But once He opened my eyes, holding onto those things seemed like garbage compared to surrendering all to Him as Lord and having His peace and rest in my heart!

Now that I know who I am in Christ, and who my husband is in Christ, I have a hard time focusing on the things he does wrong. Letting go of myself and my own personal interests has been the way of finding true Life!

From Peacefulwife:

This process of dying to self can also be described in other ways, too, like:

  • being a living sacrifice for God (Rom. 12:1)
  • putting to death the misdeeds of the body (Rom. 8:13)
  • counting yourself as dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ (Rom. 6:11)

Taking up my cross is about laying down any sinful motives and about picking up God’s will. So I would allow God to search my heart for things like selfishness, greed, bitterness, idolatry, resentment, hatred, unforgiveness, malice, gossip, addictions, etc… things that are spiritually toxic to my soul, my relationships, and my walk with Christ – and I would reject those things and allow God’s Spirit to completely fill me with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

It is not only about getting rid of the sin that was in me before. It is also about receiving all of the good that God wants to give to me and the new self He provides for me.

There are some who have been  abused and mistreated who do not believe they are worthy to receive God’s love. Truthfully, none of us are “worthy” to receive God’s love. But God loves us because that is who He is and His love is available to each of us. We CAN receive His love, not because we deserve to, but because He freely gives it!

For those who have a hard time receiving good things from God, I invite you to check out this post by Radiant about Cinderella and the Gospel. I also encourage wives who have been abused and who are confused about dying to self to search and read some of these posts as well:

Boundaries by Dr. Cloud and Townsend may be helpful in this kind of situation where there is significant emotional/verbal abuse.

Nina Roesner has an e-course that may be a huge blessing for wives in emotionally/verbally abusive marriages and very difficult marriages – “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity”

I believe we must find spiritual healing and wholeness in Christ FIRST before we learn how to “lose our life” for Christ or “put to death the misdeeds of the body,” or “be a living sacrifice” for God or “die to our old sinful self” in a healthy way.

NOTE:
I do want to mention – this is something we each choose to do ourselves. It is not appropriate for me to demand that another believer needs to “die to self” to do what I want him/her to do. I can’t force others to obey God. I can set a godly example. I can ask for what I need and desire. I can share my insights and perspective. But I don’t get to control other people or dictate to them what they should do.

My husband should be living wholeheartedly for Christ and leading and loving as Jesus did, laying down his life for me to portray the love of Christ. But it is not my place to say, “You need to die to yourself and do X, Y, and Z to lead me properly.” It is possible for me to try to manipulate my husband, or other believers, in this way, for my own selfish purposes.

SHARE:

If God has given you lightbulb moments about this concept, please share! If you are struggling with this idea, let’s talk about it together.

Much love to each of you!

April

Other People Don’t Always Know What You Should Do in Your Marriage – by The Satisfied Wife

 

This post is by The Satisfied Wife (AKA WorthyofLove). She is in a very difficult marriage with a husband who tends to be rather harsh at times – and yet, what God is doing in her heart is SO beautiful! I appreciate her willingness to share with us:

ON SEEKING GOD ALONE TO KNOW HIS WILL FOR OUR LIVES

In each of our lives, the only thing we can rely and trust in is the Lord, and His Word. There really are no other guarantees in this life. He is our greatest need, and our only source of life. When you are in a toxic marriage – it really is a great opportunity to seek the Lord with all your heart. I have found in my own life, being around toxic relationships and people is what drove me to Him in the first place. God can use anything to accomplish His greater purposes! Way before finding April’s site, I was driven into the arms of the Lord and His Word. It was the only place I found true rest and hope.

In my experience, seeking the Lord alone for the truth in your marriage is what will matter most in moving forward not only with the Lord, but in your marriage.

THE DANGER OF SEEKING HUMAN WISDOM ALONE
I honestly never sought anyone’s opinion about my marriage or life in the first place. I sought the Lord wholeheartedly, though. And through seeking the Lord above all – that is how I was led to His Body (April’s site). And once led to the Body, the Lord has been able to teach me so much truth and He has truly opened my eyes in so many ways since finding April’s blog.

However – at one point – I, too, found myself relying on what I was learning through the blog, along with what the Lord was teaching me, to direct my steps completely in terms of my own personal life and marriage. Because at that point, I was desperate for answers, and willing to try anything to “fix” my marriage.

When we are desperate for answers—we are at the greatest risk of being deceived about what our next step should be. Especially if we are not truly crucified to the flesh—and we have a predetermined will of our own. We will look for the answers that match our own will—and believe it is confirmation of God’s leading. We must first be truly crucified to our own will and ways—and seek only to know God’s will and ways.

That is the power of God working here. Many women might come there to find answers about their marriage and how to get their husband to love them a certain way, etc… but what they find is Christ Crucified as the Power of God! AMEN!

JESUS IS THE ANSWER
We can read and learn all we want about marriage, respect, submission, how to handle difficult people, how to walk in the Spirit, how to do this, that and the other thing. But knowledge of all that is NOT what will get you through the actual reality of your daily life living within a toxic marriage.

Your Spirit union with the Living, Risen Lord Jesus is what will get you through the toxic marriage. HE is what is needed. Not a list of rules. Not human wisdom.

If I adhered to all the “research” and “wisdom” of this world—I would be divorced already. I would have given up the first time I felt I was slighted or mistreated without a cause. That is the answer that the world gives to women who are in a toxic relationship. And perhaps that MIGHT be the answer that the Lord ultimately leads you to in certain situations (that are biblically supported).

The point right now is that when we are in a toxic marriage, and we are cowering under the oppression and fear of what will happen all the time – the most important thing is not what April says, what anyone human, or book (Christian or otherwise) says – it is what the Lord says. It is what He is leading you to see and do, that matters most. And He is not afar off – if we are in Christ and belong to Him, He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Christ Jesus has forever secured our entrance into the Presence of God by His precious Blood shed on the Cross! That is a FACT. Your feelings are NOT fact.

If any precious woman finds herself in a toxic marriage after evaluating in a godly way what is really going on – the best thing she can do is truly set aside some time, and seek the Lord. Pour out her heart to Him. Depend on Him alone for guidance, wisdom, and truth. (Maybe refer to Andrew Murrays “Waiting on God” and “Absolute Surrender”).

LOOK AT THE FACTS

Having already been through this more than once, the greatest thing when seeking God alone for truth has been to look at the FACTS.

  • The facts from the Word of God that tell us who we are, who God is, What God can do, etc.
  • The facts about how I am being treated (look to actions of spouse not words)
  • The facts about how I am acting/reacting to this treatment

A fact is a fact. It is what happened. It is what has been proclaimed. The biggest blinders in this process are your own feelings, because we all know that sometimes our feelings are actually NOT facts.

So I’ll say this – in my case, when my feelings matched the facts – I took them as real. If I felt as though I was being manipulated/controlled inadvertently, and I looked at what my husband did, compared to what he said – I found it was true how I felt.

HOW TO SEEK GOD

Seeking God, to me, has meant that I stop looking to anyone, anything, any system, and other source – except God alone to guide me, save me, provide for me, etc…

It means that I pray – I spend time reading His word and other trusted sources of spiritual food. I wait for Him and I depend on Him. Utterly. Wholeheartedly.

  • To speak to my heart.
  • To open my eyes.
  • To fill me with His Spirit
  • To save me from my own self
  • To save me from the fiery darts that are coming at me from the devil.

Be aware – any one who sets their WHOLE heart on God is a target of Satan. Don’t be shocked to find that yes, your very husband can be a tool in the devil’s hands to paralyze you spiritually – to trip you up and stop you at ALL COSTS from seeking God! Because when we seek God alone – we let go of all the things of earth -and when we are in our spiritual position with Christ by faith – we walk in His power and we are a HUGE threat to the Satan and his kingdom.

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of TRUTH. He cannot lie. He will not lead us into lies if we set our heart on Him alone. He will open our eyes, and grant us a revelation of Christ Jesus in our hearts – and when we see Christ alone -we will know Him and the Bible says that Christ is wisdom to us—CHRIST is wisdom! In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom. So then, more than anything else, we need knowledge of Christ in our situations!

 

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