“I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Desires, or Emotions” – by Radiant

 

From a very dear friend and sister in Christ whom God has radically healed physically and spiritually in the past year and a half. For decades, Radiant could not receive love from God, herself or from anyone and was imprisoned physically, spiritually, and emotionally. How I praise God for what He is doing in her life! This sister’s issues were often the opposite of my issues – and help to provide a much needed different perspective from my own.

———-

About the post, “Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!” – I totally thought like the wife who had objections to speaking in direct, vulnerable ways my whole life.

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS:

This way of thinking makes us a victim and voiceless, then we freak out  on someone when they put that teeny straw on top of our huge anger that we aren’t allowed to admit, or have, or own, or do anything about. And it makes us jealous of wives who “have because they ask,” annoyed that they are so unapologetically “demanding” as we see it. My old way of thinking was about “righteously” refusing to have needs, emotions, demands.

It makes you really sick! Emotionally, physically and spiritually. To receive nothing good and only receive bad truly makes us toxic.

Why can’t we receive good? I think it’s this false humility stronghold that simultaneously says we don’t deserve anything good, while somehow at the same time being proud at how humble and un-needy we are. Then it’s about being a victim because no one understands how hard our life is. I felt I should have enough faith to be above struggles and emotions myself, even though I would never say anyone else should be. I was always the first one to comfort hurting people because I knew the pain of trying to go through things alone, and felt no one should ever have to do that (except me!). Part of it is the idea that “everyone else is more important than you, it’s in the Bible.” So being humble is not needing or asking or demanding. That’s for others.

If someone said good things about us, they are obviously lying or have a distorted perception or are just being nice, since the only thing that can be true is self-attack. That has been the only voice I have ever really believed – and I saw so much evidence to verify it – that it had to be true. And I was so used to that voice. I always thought that maybe if I criticized myself enough, then hopefully no one else would need to. While I was at it, I could feel extra guilty and not enjoy anything, and help God out with the punishments I knew I deserved. If someone did criticize me, I was a complete failure and had nowhere to stand, and collapsed inconsolably. There was no grace. No hope. Only trying again as hard as I could, knowing I would fail again.

People’s approval seems to be the only gauge of hope, but then we don’t receive it either. Nothing is ever enough.

So all time is spent trying not to need, trying to meet all others needs, trying not to mess up, attacking self with every mistake, guilt fear and failure. Trying to find life in dead works, which puts you under a curse. All this rule following and no joy or good results. Baseline – it is unbelief. Hebrew 4. No one can enter His rest if we hear the truth, but it is not mixed with faith.

My old way of thinking:

  • It’s saying Jesus saved me so I should be able to obey all of His commandments in my own strength.
  • It’s trying to please God without faith. Hebrew 11:6 says you can’t do that.
  • It’s trying to please God by obeying without believing anything He says, receiving anything but the most anemic salvation, (and believing Jesus did it reluctantly – that he had to), not receiving His love, grace, forgiveness, power, mercy. Having no idea all of the good qualities mentioned about Him could somehow be directed to include you, too. Imagining being on the very fringe of heaven, not included.
  • It’s also being totally blocked by anyone who disagrees or says, “no,” to you, but not ever being allowed to say, “no,” or your dislikes to them.
  • It’s remembering what caused someone to be upset at all, and making an inner vow to never mess up or cause a problem again. (These inner vows curse us, trying to save ourselves in our own strength).
  • It’s not believing anyone could ever enjoy your company or love you because you don’t feel it, so it can’t be true.
  • The biggest fears are being a burden, a failure, and demanding.
  • The only “truth” you hear are these accusing lies and and it somehow intertwines itself into the gospel to make it a non-gospel. You buy into it completely.

Idols, or strongholds, in this mindset are false humility and martyrdom.

Faith is scarce in this way of thinking. We believe Jesus did die to save us, and that we can be saved, but we don’t see His grace or promises or healing or forgiveness or that He truly desires us. And even then, we can grow in faith, be set free from quite a few things, and fall right back into this prison. Behind the false humility is immense pride – pride, saving ourselves, and being wise in our own eyes. Pride that we are following rules, astonishment when we can’t follow rules; that we weren’t successful since we should be. We are Christians! How can we fail God like this? So we attack and punish ourselves trying to help God with His disappointment in us. We try harder. Until we can’t try literally. Then we sink into depression and can’t be pulled out.
Faith is the ability to receive from God. So we cry out and try to serve and love Him and repent and feel guilty, but we don’t actually exchange that guilt for forgiveness.

  • We cry to him that we feel alone and unloved and abandoned but we don’t receive that He really is here with us and will never leave us.
  • We complain to him that we can’t do what he asks us to, and basically say He is mean and cruel for not helping us, but we won’t receive His help.
  • We don’t believe he will help so we don’t ask.
  • And when we do ask we are full of doubt and therefore don’t receive, and validate to ourselves that He doesn’t care.
  • We are proud that we don’t burden God or others.
  • We aren’t rude and don’t ask for stuff.
  • We are busy getting things done for God and praying for people and trying hard to follow our rules.

Until we fall apart. Then we are angry at God, ourselves and everyone around us except we can’t be angry, so this awful feeling stays general, unknowable and unfixable  and is more evidence of how God has abandoned us.

The mindset of false humility and not receiving and Jesus’ response:

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”
John 13:6-10 ESV

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Being a Trophy Wife is Not the Goal, My Dear Sisters! – by Radiant

Being a Trophy Wife is Not the Goal, My Dear Sisters! – by Radiant

 

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I came from a background of focusing on what my husband should change for me. So it can be helpful for me to focus on what I can change to bless my husband in a healthy way – not an obsessed or idolatrous way. For instance, I learned that it’s great to seek to dress nicely and take good care of myself to show respect for myself and to bless my husband. But not all women are from the same background. Some wives have spent their whole marriage trying to change themselves for their husband – to an unhealthy degree. That is a problem, too!

We can seek to bless our husbands, but we are not responsible FOR them or their sin. I hope that makes sense! Ultimately this is all about us seeking to please God alone.

Here is what a dear sister in Christ shared – and has given me permission to share. She used to believe she had to be a “trophy wife” and when she approached some Christian books, she thought she was hearing that message reinforced. But we are not trophies! We are not to be idols or objects to our husbands. We are human beings with innate worth in Christ! Sometimes, certain women are very sensitive to triggers about a wife having to perform to be accepted. I think this wife’s approach may be a great blessing to many who struggle with balancing messages in the area of dealing with husbands being visual and having temptations, etc…

FROM A SISTER IN CHRIST:

Some Christian studies on marriage can tempt us to feel responsible for our husbands sin, our marriage, to stay together, and a whole lot of performance on our part to make sure he is never tempted and we are always enough for him. The problem is we are never pretty enough, exciting enough or wonderful enough to hold our marriages together. Our husbands could still sin even if we were.

So we need the truth – We are not going to be enough to keep our husbands faithful or keep them from sin. We are not their Savior. Their sin issues were there before we were in their lives.

  • Only God can set them free from lust or anything else.
  • Only God can set us free from fear, worry, and “performancing.”

I am already beautiful in Christ and I need to be filled up with His love and truth about me. Only Christ is enough for my husband. If he is focused on Christ, Jesus is enough for him. So the answer for my husband to be free – is Christ. I can pray for him. And the answer for me to be free – is Christ.

I don’t have to be a victim – worried about my husband’s sin or potential to sin.

I can grow with Christ in any circumstance including one where my husband is sinning. My hope, joy, and identity is in Christ, not my husband or myself being perfect. I don’t have to pressure myself and feel constant guilt and fear to perform or he will leave me. I can rest in Christ’s love and grace for me and for my marriage and husband. I don’t have to worry about the future and what-ifs. I can enjoy my husband and think of intimacy and beauty as a good gift from God rather than a heavy, impossible duty I will never be good enough at (a lie from Satan).

Rather than be fearful and jealous, (Beth Moore said jealousy and fear has never won back a wandering husband) and looking at my lack, I can look at all the good already in my husband, all the love and blessings Christ has already given me, and the hope that God is fighting for me and my marriage. I am not the Holy Spirit and I can quit trying to police my husband and be free to give him respect and to pray for him. I can listen to God and stay out of His way if my husband does need convicting.

Sometimes my husband isn’t even struggling and it is just me being paranoid that is the problem! I need to ask for God’s wisdom, and not try to figure out what is right in my own eyes.

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“I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs. That’s the Godly Thing to Do.”

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I would like to address some more concerns a wife shared in response to my post about how we can be vulnerable and direct about our needs.

First, and this is critical:

Our sharing our feelings does require a delicate balance.

BALANCE

We can go too far one way or the other and make a big mess. If I share every single thought that enters my mind and don’t have any kind of filter for my motives or for sin – I will hurt others. I do need to have God’s wisdom, discernment, love, and compassion firmly in place before I share. I need to take my thoughts captive and not share sinful thoughts.

But I can also go too far the other way and share nothing. I can become completely unknowable and give up using any of my God-given influence in my family and in God’s kingdom. I can become an island – incapable of receiving. That is also unhealthy and destructive in all of my relationships – including my relationship with God. I end up full of self and devoid of God’s Spirit.

AVOIDING CONFLICT

Avoiding conflict can seem like a very noble, godly thing. Wouldn’t it be godly to try to prevent conflicts and tension and to try to keep everyone happy? “Blessed are the peacemakers” right? I mean – Jesus, Himself, said that! Why not scramble around trying to be extra nice to other people, bending over backwards, to try to keep them from getting angry at you at all costs? Doesn’t that sound like the loving thing to do?

I used to think so!

God does command us to love others and it’s great to head off unnecessary conflict when possible – but our motives are to be to please Him and to bless other people. Our motives are not to be:

  • to get people to like us
  • to have the approval of people/the world
  • to make things easier for us
  • to get what we selfishly want
  • to keep from facing constructive criticism/rebukes
  • to avoid necessary friction and conflict
  • fear of people’s anger or disapproval
  • guilt
  • false humility, playing the martyr, or self-righteousness (the root of which is always pride)
  • peace at all costs

If my thinking is, “I can’t let anyone ever be upset with me,” I am saying that I believe I am responsible for the thoughts, feelings, and actions of other people. Is that true? No! I am responsible for myself – other people are responsible for their own emotions, thoughts, feelings, and actions.  (Please check out this post on healthy vs. unhealthy relationships for more detail.)

I might achieve a “temporary false peace” by avoiding addressing sin – but ultimately – allowing sin to continue on and on without a loving, respectful rebuke leads to destruction of the relationship.

I don’t want us to be afraid of negative emotions, or conflict. We are all human. We will all have a full range of emotions in various situations. Unless we are in actual danger – we don’t have to fear anyone’s negative feelings. Feelings are important, yes. But they are not Scripture. They are not God. They are not sovereign.

Instead of our being terrified at the thought of someone being unhappy with us – we can recognize that negative emotions are simply a signal that we need to investigate and see if something is wrong. Sometimes our feelings are incorrect. Sometimes they lie to us. When this happens, we can ignore the feelings after we thoroughly and prayerfully investigate. Sometimes our feelings are accurate and are important flags to warn us of a problem – like sin. Sometimes emotions tell us we need to eat or take a nap or have some time with God. Sometimes other people’s feelings are a method God will use to refine us. Other times other people’s feelings reveal sin or a need in their own hearts.

What comes out of a person’s mouth is about his/her character, not necessarily an accurate reflection on us. We don’t need to receive words from others that are not of God.

I can approach my husband humbly – willing to take responsibility for any sins on my part, willing to make amends, and willing to extend grace. I can listen to what my husband says and prayerfully consider whether I need to make any changes in God’s eyes. But I am not responsible for his sin or his obedience to God. If what he says is from the flesh and the enemy or twists God’s Word, I don’t need to absorb that. If what he says lines up with the Bible, then I can receive that word.

PEOPLE PLEASING

Let’s talk about some of the ideas about people-pleasing this wife shared in her objections to speaking directly and vulnerably about our needs, emotions, desires, and concerns:

  • People may get upset.
  • You will be judged.
  • You will look weak.
  • You’ll sound selfish and demanding.

Thankfully, we are no longer slaves to the opinions or approval of others when we are in Christ! Only God’s approval matters ultimately! Jesus is LORD.

Here is what Scripture has to say about people pleasing:

  • Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
  • for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. John 12:43
  • You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4
  • I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4
  • Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! Acts 5:29
  • But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4

WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT CONFLICT?

There are times when conflict is unavoidable – even necessary and good – like when we need to confront sin. God gives us instructions about how to handle conflict without sinning. But He does not condemn conflict itself or tell us to do anything we can to make other people like us and to make them happy with us in the moment.

  • Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-19,21

Note that we have some level of control over conflict vs. peace with others. But we don’t have total control. We only control our end of things.

Jesus experienced a great deal of opposition and conflict. How did He handle it?

  • Did He cower and run to try to patch things up with the Pharisees who accused Him of blasphemy?
  • Did He try to placate the Pharisees to get them to like Him and want to be with Him? He called them “a brood of vipers,” “hypocrites,” and “blind guides.”
  • Was Jesus most interested in avoiding conflict with His enemies or was He most interested in doing God’s will and exalting God?

If you really read how Jesus interacted with those who opposed Him, He was not wimpy, tail-between-His-legs, sniveling, afraid of people, and “nice” in the sense we describe “nice” today. He was firm, unflinching, and bold. He called sin what it was. He did not apologize. He responded with righteous anger when that was appropriate. And yet, He was loving in the midst of it. He did what was right – not what was easiest or most politically correct. He humbly went to the cross because that was God’s will for Him and He loved God – not because He couldn’t stand up for Himself. 

Jesus wasn’t troubled by what people thought about Him – even when they totally misunderstood Him. His concern was what God thought about Him. He said things that ran a lot of people off for which He did not apologize. Things like,

  • “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).
  • “Go sell all you have and give to the poor… then come and follow Me” (Matthew 19:21).  
  • He even talked about that people would need to eat His flesh and drink His blood or they have no life in them (John 6:53) – after that, many people stopped following Him. He was fine with that. How? He was able to be fine with them leaving because He knew that God would bring certain people to Him for eternal life and other people would not belong to Him. He accepted that. He never begged anyone to follow Him. He never ran after those who rejected Him, trying to get them to change their minds or trying to make them like Him.

CONFIDENCE IN CONFLICT

(If you are in danger in your marriage, please reach out for help when you safely can do so – www.thehotline.org, call the police, or a trusted counselor.) I don’t want us to fear conflict in normal relationships. I used to be terrified of conflict myself – but after the healing God has done in my own marriage and after over 37,000 comments on this blog alone in the past 4 years, I have seen what a powerful tool conflict can be in the hands of God to accomplish amazing things!

Conflict is often a platform God gives us to bring great glory to Himself! Our godly, Spirit-filled response during conflict can draw people to Christ in powerful ways like nothing else can.

The key to our ability to have confidence is that God’s Spirit must be in charge – not our flesh. If our sinful flesh is in control, we will make a big mess and hurt other people (and ourselves) in destructive ways. If God’s Spirit is in charge, He will take the conflict and use it to help us share His truth in love. It may even result in people being convicted of sin and may lead to healing, spiritual growth, and greater maturity. I have also seen conflict result in people coming to Christ!

  • Conflict sharpens and prunes us.
  • It helps us draw closer to others when approached in a healthy way.
  • It helps us understand others better when we seek to understand their different viewpoints and perspectives.
  • It can reveal sin in our lives and in the lives of others.
  • It is a necessary part of intimacy between imperfect people and it can lead to great good.

Usually, there is fear, ungodly thinking, or pain behind someone else’s anger. Look for their heart message. Address those deep fears or unhealthy ways of thinking as God leads you to. If you can address what is behind the emotions and negative feelings – the person may find healing in Christ.

Note – conflict does not have to mean yelling, violence, rage, contention, division, hatred, and bitterness. Conflict simply means a disagreement or misunderstanding. We can have conflict without sinning. We can have conflict without drama when God’s Spirit is involved.

Verses about conflict

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"Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!"

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I’m going to share one wife’s “gut reactions”  to the list I gave of ways we can speak and communicate directly and honestly. It’s worth the time to really hash through these objections in our self-talk together. My original statements from a post last month about how to directly communicate our needs and desires are in bold. Keep in mind, when you read the statements I am sharing – that I am talking about a wife sharing these statements with pure motives, respect, a genuine smile, and a pleasant tone of voice. I am also talking about a wife sharing difficult things only after much prayer and in the wisdom and direction of the Holy Spirit. I don’t intend to say that we should share out of selfish or sinful motives.

I greatly appreciate this wife allowing me to share her thoughts – (they are in red):

 

1. “I need this, please.”

(Yikes! Do not tell anyone what you need or you will sound needy! And whiny. And do you really need it? No. Be grateful for what you already have.)

If I were being whiny, I would repeat myself over and over again and verbally try to force other people to do what I wanted and I would continue to verbally pressure them until they did what I wanted them to do. That is not a godly approach. But to share my desire or need one time in a pleasant way (or to share when needed, not in a nagging way) – is perfectly acceptable. There are a lot of verses that tell us to ask for what we need and desire – but that we are to do so with godly motives, not sinful motives.

Verses about asking for things

There are times we genuinely do need things. I think it is important to differentiate between a need and a want. There are things I want that I can live without. But there are some things I truly need – or that others truly need. We all do have legitimate needs – air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, shelter, love, acceptance, purpose, forgiveness, grace, help, etc…

2. “I would really love to do that.”

(Maybe someday. Maybe after everyone else has their turn it would be okay to say what you’d love to do. Otherwise you risk upsetting someone who wants to do something else. But do not tell anyone or you’ll sound selfish and demanding.)

Perhaps you are thinking of this passage:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

But let’s read that closely. The key is that we don’t do something from selfishness, not that we have needs or desires. We are to think about others and their needs, considering other people more than we consider ourselves. But look at the last part, it doesn’t say, “don’t look out for your own interests and only look out for the interests of others.” We are allowed to look out for our interests – but we are not to do so in a selfish way or with sinful motives. And, ultimately, we are to seek God’s will above our own.

3. “I don’t like X.”

(So what? Am I queen of the world? We all have to deal with things we don’t like. Deal with it!)

God never says that we cannot have our own opinions, desires, preferences, and emotions. We are free to express them to Him and to others – again, as long as we do so with pure motives and we don’t try to force our way on others.

It is not sin for me to say, “I prefer Japanese food.”  Or “I don’t like being around a lot of cigarette smoke.” Or, “I don’t like for my children to see movies that are over PG.” Or, “I don’t like that color for the dining room – I like this other color the best.”

If others don’t agree, over the color of the paint for the walls at church – I can submit myself to whatever they would like and not cause a fuss. If my husband and I don’t agree on a paint color, I can decide to selflessly allow him to choose the color he prefers. But there is nothing wrong with me stating my preference calmly and respectfully. If we can’t agree, I may decide to acknowledge that the color of the room isn’t a big thing in the light of eternity.

4. “I want Y, please”

(Oh my goodness! This is the worst one on the list. Do not tell people want you want. Again, selfish. Begging. It’s worse than being forced to tell someone what you’d like for a gift. Who begs for gifts? This list is insane! This list is starting to frustrate me…)

God invites us to share our desires with Him. Jesus certainly expressed that He didn’t want to go to the cross. But then He submitted Himself to God’s will. Prayer is about our praising God, thanking Him, confessing our sins – but then it is about our sharing our desires and our seeking to line up our desires with the desires and will of God. As we approach God in prayer with our desires and seek His desires above our own, He helps transform our desires to match His own. But there is nothing wrong with us asking God for what we desires if our motives are pure.

James 4:1-10 is all about this. We don’t have because we don’t ask God, and when we do ask, we ask with wrong motives, that we might spend what we get on our own pleasures. The problem is not that we shouldn’t ask for what we want. God invites us over and over to ask of Him. But we do need to watch our motives.

Those who came to Jesus for healing, He often asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” And then, whatever they asked Him for, He would do for them. He healed them. There is no one I can think of who asked Jesus to heal them whom Jesus ultimately refused.

I can say,

  • “I really want another baby.”
  • “I want to spend some time together this week, Honey.”
  • “I want to think about changing careers. Would you pray about that with me, please?”

Verses about desires

5. “I feel scared/sad/upset/angry/happy…”

(Keep your feelings to yourself. Smile. If you share your real feelings you will be judged. People may get upset. You will look weak).

There is nowhere in Scripture (that I can think of) where we are commanded to be fake or told not to have or not to express our feelings. We are told not to “give full vent” to our every emotion – that would be foolish. We are not to share in sinful anger or in sinful manipulation. We are not to try to make other people do what we want. We do need to watch our motives and attitudes. Our feelings are not the source of absolute truth. We don’t have to be slaves to our feelings and emotions. But we are responsible to share our own feelings and concerns with God and with others when appropriate.

David shared all of the range of human emotions with God in the Psalms. Did God consider him to be weak because of that? No! God said David was “a man after My own heart.”

Sharing feelings and being vulnerable is  not “weak” – it is essential! Apart from vulnerability, there is no true intimacy or authenticity.

Verses about emotions

In the next post, we will address the issues of people pleasing that this wife voiced.

SHARE:

Do you feel safe to be vulnerable and direct in your marriage and relationships? If not, what fears do  you have that keep you from feeling like you can share?

 

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Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

 

Where are people not permitted to say what they need, how they feel, or what they think?

– those who are literally slaves or who are in concentration camps.
– those in extremely oppressive countries with totalitarian regimes.
– those who are in abusive or dysfunctional relationships/families.

Here are some hallmarks of abusive/dysfunctional personal relationships:

  • It is not okay to talk about your negative feelings. Only positive emotions are allowed.
  • I am responsible for your decisions, obedience to God, sins, and emotions.
  • You are responsible for my decisions, obedience to God, sins, and emotions.
  • It is your job to make me happy. If I am not happy, it’s your fault.
  • Conflict is unacceptable.
  • Disagreement is not allowed.
  • You may not ask me questions or confront sin in my life. I can confront you whenever I want to, of course.
  • You are not safe here emotionally.
  • Your voice is not important to me.
  • I love conditionally with strings attached. If you don’t perform, I won’t love you.
  • You better put me above everything and everyone else, including God. Pleasing me better be the most important thing in your life.
  • I will not respect any healthy boundaries you try to set with me and will be offended if you attempt to have healthy boundaries.
  • You are accountable to me for everything you do, think, and say.
  • I know what is best for you.
  • I am always right and you are always wrong if you disagree with me.
  • You should be afraid of my disapproval more than anything or anyone else.
  • There is no forgiveness here. I cherish bitterness.
  • I expect you to meet spiritual and emotional needs in my soul that really only Christ can meet. I come into this relationship as a black hole of neediness.

Some hallmarks of healthy relationships (these would be the goals as we seek to allow God’s Spirit to refine and sanctify us):

  • It is okay to talk about anything and to share all of your feelings about anything – even if they are negative.
  • We will work through conflict together. Conflict is inevitable. We won’t always agree. But we will always love each other and work through it as a team.
  • Conflict is an opportunity for growth.
  • I love you unconditionally.
  • You are safe here in every way.
  • We are kind to each other.
  • We treat each other well.
  • Love and respect are abundant here in both directions.
  • You are important to me. You are precious and very valuable.
  • Your ideas, feelings, concerns, and desires are important to me.
  • You are responsible for your own emotions, decisions, obedience to God, and sins.
  • I am responsible for my own emotions, decisions, obedience to God, and sins.
  • If I am not happy, it is my own responsibility to take care of my emotions and to voice what I need.
  • Healthy boundaries are respected and encouraged.
  • We each know we can respectfully confront sin in the other’s life when necessary.
  • We expect each of us to put God way above anyone else or anything else. Pleasing God is the most important thing in life.
  • We know we are all ultimately accountable to God for how we treat each other.
  • We are each free to respectfully confront each other about sin in our lives when necessary. We will work together as a team against sin and the enemy.
  • We trust that God knows what is best for each of us and we each want to seek Him individually and together.
  • We approach each other with humility.
  • There is no fear in this family – only love.
  • Grace, mercy,  forgiveness, and second chances are available here.
  • I have Christ on the throne of my heart and He meets the deepest spiritual and emotional needs of my life. I come into this relationship overflowing with spiritual abundance from Jesus.

GOD’S “MOST EXCELLENT WAY” OF LOVE – I Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 

RESOURCES (please carefully evaluate any author’s words, including mine, against Scripture!):

Boundaries – by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Nina Roesner has an e-course that helps women experience healing in Christ so that they have the strength and power of the Spirit to know how best to deal with very difficult husbands, check it out! Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

How to Handle Toxic and Critical People – by Leslie Vernick free PDF download

www.leslievernick.com – She has a number of Christian books about handling difficult relationships

Control and Boundaries

 

 

Another Challenge – Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No

 

In the last post, we talked about choosing to believe our husbands and taking what they say at face value. (NOTE – These posts are not for wives who are facing very serious issues in their marriage like drug/alcohol abuse, uncontrolled mental health issues, abuse, pathological  lying issues, or unrepentant infidelity. If that is your situation, please don’t read my blog, but seek appropriate one-on-one experienced counseling.)

Now, here are a few questions for us to prayerfully consider…

  • Can our husbands take what we say at face value?
  • Do we speak in a straightforward manner?
  • Do we communicate truthfully ourselves?

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Luke 16:10

If I say, “Yes,” is that what I really mean? Or do I expect my husband to decipher that I said “yes,” but I really mean, “no”?

Do I send mixed messages to my husband? Do I expect him to have to read between the lines to guess what I am really thinking? Or do I communicate clearly and concisely to my man? Most men truly do appreciate it when their wives say what they mean and mean what they say. (Gentlemen, you are welcome to jump in and comment here.)

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

What if we challenge ourselves to speak the truth to our husbands and to communicate honestly and vulnerably?

This can get a little bit dicey when we are in the process of learning respect – because sometimes when we try to be honest, we also come across disrespectfully. BUT – it IS possible to be honest and respectful at the same time. I promise! That is the goal – to share our feelings, needs, concerns, ideas, and wisdom effectively – and to do so without being hurtful, disrespectful, rude, controlling, unloving, etc…

It is also possible to be honest and straightforward without arguing, nagging, complaining, criticizing, or being negative. I do admit, it takes a lot of prayer, the power of God’s Spirit, and tons of practice… but God can empower us to do this!

Some ladies think that we are sparing our husbands feelings by being very vague, by giving hints, or by not directly saying what we need, think, feel, or want. That would be respectful, right? We may think it is rude or demanding of us to have any needs and to voice them. Actually, the men I have corresponded with often feel disrespected and confused by this kind of unclear, murky communication. It is my understanding that it is frustrating for husbands to have to jump through hoops and be mind readers to know what we are thinking. Women sometimes value nuance in order to try to spare people’s feelings, but not everyone can read into our hints. Our men, in particular, may appreciate us just being upfront and direct in a friendly, calm, pleasant, concise way.

When we are vulnerable and we share our desires and feeling directly with respect – it draws our husbands to us, and makes it easier for them to understand our desires and makes it a lot more likely that we will receive the things we would like. 

(Laura Doyle talks about this in The Surrendered Wife – a very helpful, but secular, book.)

Two Examples:

1. If I need help and am overwhelmed with the housework and children – I could refuse to ask for help. I could let my pride get in my way of my needs. I could dishonestly tell my husband that I don’t need help but secretly expect him to see I do need help and think, “If he really loved me, he would just know I need help and he would help me.”

But if I really do need help, and I won’t ask for help – then I resent him and huff and puff and storm around the house, slamming doors because he believed my words – that is not okay. It is sin on my part.

A lot of men don’t jump in to help unless they are asked because they believe it would be disrespectful to help someone who said she can handle things on her own (Nina Roesner – The Respect Dare blog). If I need help, it is good for me to say, “Honey, I am really feeling overwhelmed tonight. I could use some help with the kids and the dishes, please.” Then, perhaps my husband will help me.

2. If my husband didn’t clean up behind himself in the kitchen and I don’t like that, I can say (in a pleasant, friendly way), “Sweetheart, would you please wash the dirty dishes in the kitchen, thanks so much!” If I tell him, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll do them,” but then resent him or lash out at him later – that is not good. If I really don’t like it when he leaves a mess for me, I can share respectfully that I would appreciate him cleaning up after himself.

If he can’t or won’t take care of the mess, I have the power in Christ to clean up and to do it out of love for God and for my husband and to lay aside resentment. I don’t have to be held hostage to resentment.

I can ask for what I need. But even if I don’t get what I want, God can empower me not to live in sinful thinking and to walk in victory over temptation as I stay totally yielded to Him.

A big key to honest, godly communication is for us to examine our motives.

  • Why am I afraid to say the truth about what I feel? Is there anything ungodly in my thinking?
  • How am I going to respond after I say what I plan to say? Is there any temptation there for me?
  • How can I be honest, authentic, vulnerable, respectful, and loving? What is God prompting me to do?

Sometimes we are afraid to share our real needs and desires. We feel guilty even having needs or we think we are being selfish to say what we want. Where does that awful idea come from? We are real people, my dear sisters! We are allowed by God to have our own feelings, needs, ideas, concerns, and desires. We don’t have to pretend that we are two-dimensional, second class people who are not permitted to have thoughts, needs, or feelings. Now, if I am ONLY concerned about myself and don’t care about anyone else’s feelings, needs, ideas, concerns, or desires – or if I do not put God first – then I may be selfish. But simply sharing what I need and want is totally fine. Then I can trust God even if I don’t get what I think is best and seek His will above my own.

I don’t have to feel guilty for sharing my feelings, needs, and ideas!!!

The other side of the coin is – I want to avoid resentment after the fact. If I am going to resent my husband (or someone else) if I say a specific thing or agree to something, maybe I need to re-evaluate what I need to do in order to be truthful, vulnerable, and authentic. I also want to make sure my motives are not to hurt my husband or someone else. If there is any sin in my motives (bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, hatred envy, pride, etc…), I need to stop, pray, and get my motives right with God before proceeding.

Alternatives to Sharing My Needs and Feelings Directly:

If I don’t believe I can share what I need and think honestly in a straightforward, loving, respectful manner, I am left with a number of destructive, sinful approaches like…

Speaking in a direct, honest, straightforward way prevents a great deal of hurt feelings, confusion, miscommunication, misunderstandings, and destructive interactions. It promotes unity and harmony.

SHARE:

How have you communicated in ways that created confusion in your marriage at times?

Are you afraid to be honest and direct with your husband in a respectful way? If so, why do  you think that might be?

If you have learned to communicate in a more straightforward, honest way – please share your story if you would like to. What has been the outcome so far?

Men, is there anything else about this you might like to share so that we can better understand our husbands?

RELATED:

Verses about honesty

Posts about Bitterness

Posts about Forgiveness

Posts about Fear

Resting in Christ

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When we are on this journey, seeking to become godly women/wives/mothers… it can feel very overwhelming and we may drive ourselves insane sometimes trying to be perfect and trying to evaluate ourselves constantly to see if we are “getting an A+ on our godly wife report card.”

The more you get into this journey and the closer you are to Christ, the more you realize – it isn’t about me trying harder. This isn’t about me being perfect. It isn’t about me making myself crazy with impossible expectations. It isn’t about me beating myself up. It is not about checking off a bunch of boxes on a list. It is not about legalism.(I’m going to share a number of gems from Andrew Murray’s book, Absolute Surrender in this post that I hope may clarify what I am saying.)

This journey isn’t about self-effort or self at all.

This is about yielding control to God completely. It is about resting in what Jesus did for me on the cross to make me right with God. It is about resting in what He did when He was raised from the dead and His Spirit flooding my soul to empower me to live the life He wants me to live. It is about Christ breathing life into me.

If you are getting really anxious about not being good enough or about feeling like a failure – just take a deep breath. Turn from anything God calls sin – confess it to Him as sin and receive His forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Come sit down at the feet of Jesus and rest in His love, provision, care, and sovereignty for you. Stop frantically studying for awhile. Stop reading about marriage if that is stressing you out. Stop “worry-praying” constantly trying to get God to do what you think He should do. Stop trying to fix everything to make it all work out “right.” Just be still for awhile. This is not about you trying to live a perfect life. That is impossible! You can’t do this thing in your strength.

Picture yourself trying to push a car across a 3000 mile journey. It would be ridiculous to even try such a thing. Instead of pushing the car, get in and sit down beside Jesus. God’s Spirit provides the fuel so that the car will go in His power, not yours. Picture Jesus driving and you just enjoying the journey with Him. He knows how to get to the destination. He does all of the work. You get to be along for the ride. But it is all His strength that moves you.

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Only He can live this life in and through you. As you cling to Him and focus on loving, praising, and trusting Him – and as you allow Him to have control and you desire Him above everything else – He can change your heart, your mind, and your desires. He does the work, not you.

He can give you the power to live the life that He wants you to live. Focus on doing what a branch does. Abide in Christ. Just receive from the vine. The vine provides all of the sap, strength, and nourishment the branch needs. The branch only clings to the vine – and fruit appears without striving or effort on the part of the branch. Jesus talks about this in John 15, and Murray elaborates on the concept, as well.

Be still before Him. Worship Him. Praise Him. Sing to Him. Drink in His goodness and His Word. Seek to be close to Him. Give Him access to everything in your life and allow Him to lead you baby step by baby step.

No need to freak out. No need to stress. No need to be afraid. Just rest in His strong arms, His wisdom, and His care. Let His love and His truth overtake you and consume your heart, mind, and soul. Focus on receiving all that He has done for you and all that He has already given you if  you are His. If you are not His, I invite you to come to Him today and follow Him for the rest of your life as your Savior and as Lord of your life.

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Empty yourself of all of your old worldly ways of thinking. Empty yourself of your old self. That old self is now dead with Christ and buried. Allow God to cleanse the darkest corners of your soul. When you are totally emptied of self, you are like a clean tea cup. God can pour His Spirit into you when you are fully His. No one pours tea into a teacup that has something else in it already – like ink or vinegar (a helpful illustration from Murray). Once a teacup is totally devoted to its purpose – and nothing else – it is ready to be filled with tea.

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Another illustration by Murray is that “We all know what absolute surrender looks like in daily life. A pen must be totally devoted to the task of writing. And it must be totally yielded to one person’s use. If more than one person tries to hold and use a pen at the same time, it can’t possibly accomplish very much. But if the pen is completely given over to one person, that person can use the pen to write much and accomplish great things.” (paraphrasing)

We are like that pen – we must be totally given over to God and His control. Nothing and no one else must have a hold on us other than God in order for Him to be free to accomplish His good purposes in us and through us. We yield control to Him and allow Him to do the work.

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Jesus is your Good Shepherd. Run to Him. Allow Him to take you up and hold you close against His heart. He knows how to provide the pasture, water, protection, care, and leadership you need. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You can’t figure it all out. All that is necessary to do is to follow Him and draw near to Him.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.… Matthew 11:28-29

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, Hebrews 4:9-11 (Hebrews 4:1-11 is about the Sabbath rest that believers in Christ enter into in Him)

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23:1-3

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

Verses about Rest

One of the best descriptions of how to do this that I have seen so far is in the book Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.

SHARE:

How do you rest in Christ? What do you do when you realize you are anxious and stressed about this journey or about life in general to get your eyes back on Jesus and to sit at His feet and just receive His goodness, love, provision, and care for you?

What are some Bible verses and worship songs that help you remember to rest and trust fully in Christ that may be a blessing to others who are struggling?

RELATED:

Victory over Perfectionism – Peacefulwife video

https://www.youtube.com/embed/U5riGWJ8U10?rel=0“>

Something that helps me is to focus on God’s character and who He is:

Practical Steps to Overcoming Hatred, Rage, or Any Sin in the Power of God

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Ladies,

If you haven’t already read it, please read the first post in this series, “What Place Does Hatred, Rage, and Violence Have  in Our Lives as Believers in Christ?”

Please do keep in mind – there are times when we will feel angry. Feeling angry is not sin in and of itself and there is such a thing as righteous anger. There are times when we need to confront those who sin against us. Expressing the fear or pain behind our anger can be really important. We can even express our anger itself without sinning – the thing to watch for is when the anger slips into sinful anger or we hold on to the anger for too long and become resentful, bitter, or hateful. I think it is key for us to watch our motives. If we are seeking to hurt the other person, that is a sign we are involved in sinful anger.

HOW DO I GET RID OF SIN IN MY LIFE? (These steps work for any sin. Of course, you must belong to Christ for God to hear your prayers. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, please check out this post first.)

  • Confess your sin to God.

Agree with God that this is sin and that God hates it and it is repulsive to Him. Realize that every single sin separates us from God. Focus especially on learning to recognize and shoot down pride – it is generally the root cause of all other sins. (If I believe I am above God or above others, I can justify any sin in my heart.)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

  • Repent to those you have hurt.

Humbly apologize without blaming the other person. “I want to apologize for X. I shouldn’t have done that./I was wrong to do that.” Be sure not to add a “but.” It is not a real apology if I say, “I’m sorry that I did X – but if you hadn’t done Y, I would never have done X.” Take responsibility for your sins against those you have hurt – even if they have some responsibility, too. Ask for forgiveness.

Try to make restitution for anything you have done wrong against them (Matthew 5:23-24). You can ask someone to forgive you. But you can’t force someone to forgive you. That is each person’s choice. But you can take care of your part of things and trust God to work with them on their end. Keep in mind that if you have engaged in rage or violence or very hurtful words against someone, it may take time for them to trust you again. Trust will need to be rebuilt. If there are serious issues, please seek trustworthy, experienced counsel to help you.

  • Commit to absolute surrender to Christ as Lord.

Recognize there may is a spiritual battle against a spiritual enemy who wants to take your thoughts, mind, and soul captive who wants you to walk in the power of the flesh and to cause division and broken relationships. But we can walk in Christ’s victory over sin…

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10

  • Stay in God’s Word daily.

Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

  • Live in a constant spiritual posture of humility before God and prayer. 

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2

  • Cast your cares upon the Lord. Trust Him fully.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

  • Depend on God’s wisdom, power, and strength, don’t trust your own wisdom, strength, or self-effort. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5.

  • Desire to walk in obedience to God and seek to walk in obedience out of gratitude for all God has done – not to earn salvation, but out of thanksgiving for the salvation Jesus bought with His blood on your behalf.

To obey is better than sacrifice I Samuel 15:22.

As soon as you realize there is anger, resentment, or negative feelings – separate yourself from the situation if possible and go write down your feelings. Separate truth from lies by examining your thoughts in the light of God’s Word. Write down every negative thought and kick out all of the lies. Embrace God’s truth. Write down His truth. Receive it into your heart. Memorize His Word. Ask him to help you see as He sees and to shoot down every sinful thought immediately.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

  • Sing praises and focus on things to be thankful for to God. Think about good things.

My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Psalm 34:2

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Verses about praising God

  • Trust God to take any vengeance that is necessary. It is His place to take revenge. He will repay. 

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

  • Focus on God’s sovereignty and realize that He can and will bring something good out of even the most awful situations we experience.

That is His promise to us as His children – Romans 8:28-29. Examine the example of Joseph in the Old Testament whose brothers sold him into slavery. This was his response later when he saw them again and was in a position of great power and could have them imprisoned or put to death:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

  • Take up your cross and follow Jesus. Deny yourself. Self will, self-effort, self-exaltation, and human wisdom have no place in our lives as followers of Christ.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.…” Luke 9:23-24

  • Get rid of any addictions to anything – drugs/alcohol/gambling/porn/food/etc…

Addictions often greatly exacerbate our anger, hatred, and rage against our loved ones. We are not in control, the addiction is. Seek help from Celebrate Recovery – link at the bottom of the page – or another reputable program, preferably one that honors Christ and biblical principles. Celebrate Recovery may be able to help you find God’s victory over rage, as well.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

PRACTICAL STEPS

  • Understand what you control and what is not your responsibility.
  • Know your triggers and prayerfully ask God to help you develop a plan to handle them rightly.
  • Examine the examples you observed when you were a child and choose to reject any ungodly examples and rebuild your life on the truth of Christ and His Word alone. Allow God to completely and radically change you to make you more like Jesus. Look for godly examples to follow.
  • Don’t justify rage/violence/any sin to yourself, rationalizing how it is “right” and “understandable” in your case. God gives no one a free pass to sin against Himself or anyone else even if we are sinned against.
  • Realize that responding calmly and gently will feel “foreign” and “weird” if you are used to responding in rage or sinful anger. That is normal.
  • Picture Jesus on the cross, paying for your sins in agony and seek His help to overcome temptation.
  • Whisper or sing instead of yelling (yes, I actually do these things sometimes with our children – it seriously helps).
  • Take a deep breath and calm down when you begin to feel the adrenaline rise and the rage start to boil.
  • Listen and seek to understand others before reacting and making wrong assumptions.
  • Be willing to be wronged rather than to react in rage or with violence. It is better to suffer for doing right than to do what is wrong and suffer for it. (I Corinthians 6:7)
  • Ask for a few minutes to compose your thoughts and cool down. Go spend time journaling or praying before you attempt to address someone if you are not in control.
  • Go for a run or lift weights to burn off some of that rage as you seek to clear your thoughts and allow God to speak to your heart.
  • Seek to respond with warmth, patience, love, and kindness by God’s Spirit’s power. It will feel weird and awkward at first, that is okay! It is like learning a new language.
  • Find some examples on old TV programs of people responding to each other in conflict in respectful ways.
  • Listen to or read trustworthy, biblical sermons and articles about managing anger, rage, and violence. Share what you are learning with us so that others may learn and benefit, as well!
  • Practice in front of the mirror or on video responding calmly. Write down a few possible ways to respond calmly in the future.
  • Practice with family members – maybe even write out some sample scripts and walk through them together of godly ways to handle conflict to prepare for future conflict if you believe that may help.
  • Meet with a godly mentoring wife to help you work through this who will keep you accountable and pray with and for you.
  • Contact Celebrate Recovery for help in overcoming an addiction to rage.
  • Talk with your husband and even your children about how you want to change and perhaps even ask them to help keep you accountable with a signal or a word if you begin to lose control that means  you need to have a break to calm down.
  • Realize that hatred – once it is full grown – eventually leads to violence which can even lead to murder. We must catch our thoughts as soon as the first drop of hatred begins to seep into our minds. God views us as “murderers” when we hate other people.

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:14-15

  • Picture all of the consequences of rage and violence – the lifetime of guilt, the possible ways others might be permanently hurt or killed, the damage to your relationships, and imagine the pain you will suffer, God will suffer, and others will suffer if you go through with the sin that tempts your soul. Imagine seriously injuring or even killing someone in your rage and violence and having to face your family members and those who love this person. Imagine having to face God with the guilt of someone’s blood on your hands.
  • It may be necessary to separate for a time if you are not in control and your spouse and/or children are in danger if they are with you. It would be better to separate and seek appropriate counsel and healing alone and then get strong enough to be able to come back and begin to live in a right relationship with your family than to stay, lose control, and hurt someone.

I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for your life and your family as you trust Him and walk in the power of Christ!

SHARE:

If God has radically changed you and helped you find victory over some of these things, please share your story with us in the comments.

RESOURCES:

Kill Anger Before It Kills You or Your Marriage – John Piper

Johnathan Edwards on replacing the anger in our hearts with divine love and humility

If you want to overcome a habit of rage or violence but feel that you need help and that you are not in control, please contact a trusted pastor or Christian counselor.

Please check out Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray about how we are all to live in total surrender to Christ as Lord every moment.

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin (if you are not safe, reach out for help and do not try to do this alone)

Posts on bitterness

Posts on forgiveness

Apologizing Stories

Where Do Hatred, Rage, and Violence Fit in Our Lives As Believers in Christ?

 

Ladies,

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet (or peaceful) spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. I Peter 3:3-4

Please do keep in mind – there are times when we will feel angry. Feeling angry is not sin in and of itself and there is such a thing as righteous anger. There are times we need to confront others when they sin against us. Expressing the fear or pain behind our anger can be really important. We can even express our anger itself without sinning – the thing to watch for is when the anger slips into sinful anger or we hold on to the anger for too long and become resentful, bitter, or hateful. If we are seeking to hurt the other person, that is a sign we are involved in sinful anger. 

SOME BASICS ABOUT THE HOLY LIFE TO WHICH GOD CALLS ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST:

God desires all of us to receive Christ as Savior and LORD of our lives and to live in victory over sin. God calls “sin” anything that would hurt our relationship with Him, or that would hurt us or others.

Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Isaiah 58:4

The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Psalm 11:5

Not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. I Timothy 3:3 (qualifications for a man who is to be a leader in the church) 

  • He gives us the example and definition of love in how He loves us unconditionally. This is how we are to love others.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

  • He commands us to love each other and He measures our love for Him by the way we love other people. 

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:19-20

“The King (God) will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40

  • God commands believers not to take revenge when they have been wronged because that is His responsibility. We are to overcome evil with good.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil… If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14, 17-21

  • God commands believers not to argue, complain, quarrel, or fight. 

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil… 2 Timothy 2:23-24

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Proverbs 20:3

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matthew 5:21-22

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

  • Pride says that we are above other people or we are above or equal to God – and when we believe our pride, we can justify any other sin. When we crucify our pride with Christ, we are free to live humbly before God and we see ourselves in proper relationship to God and to other people.

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

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

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

  • God calls followers of Christ to be gentle with everyone.

To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… 1 Peter 3:15

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love… Ephesians 4:2

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5

WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE MESSED UP?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-10

Let God know you can’t do this on your own and you desperately need His power to walk in holiness and obedience to Him!

THE OLD HAS GONE AWAY, ALL THINGS ARE MADE NEW:

  • Believers in Christ are to live as though we are dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ (Romans 6:3-14).
  • We are to not allow the sinful flesh to rule in our lives anymore, but we are to be filled with God’s Spirit and live in the power of His Spirit at all times (Galatians 5:13-25).

We will be talking about living in victory over hatred, anger, rage, and violence in the next post.

YOU CAN HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST AND HE CAN RADICALLY CHANGE YOUR HEART AND LIFE!

SHARE:

If God has empowered you to overcome hatred, sinful anger, rage, or violence, please share your story with us. I may even ask you if I can share it anonymously as a post.

NOTE – This post is written to help those struggling themselves with hatred, sinful anger, rage, and/or violence.

  • If you are not safe because of your spouse’s violence or rage – please safely reach out for appropriate help if you or your children are in danger. (Some resources may be – Focus Ministries, The Salvation Army, National Hotline for Domestic Violence – please evaluate everything any person says in the light of Scripture.)
  • Also, please reach out for help if you believe that your husband and/or children are not safe with you because you struggle with rage or violence. You may need to separate from others until you know that you are able to control any rage/violence. Celebrate Recovery may be able to help you find God’s victory over rage. Or please seek a trusted godly counselor to help you one-on-one ASAP!

RESOURCES:

Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray – explains how to give up all of self so that God may fill us with His holy power and victory daily. This is a link to a free download of the book.

Righteous Anger VS Sinful Anger

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Verses on anger to study and memorize this week in your quiet time with God.

Verses about quarreling

Verses about violence

Verses about pride

Verses about humility

Verses about gentleness

Verses about fools

Verses about dying to self

How to Respond to Rebukes and Insults

Nina Roesner has an e-course for women in very difficult marriages – Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity

 

Killing Anger by John Piper

A Two Minute Survey for My Readers

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I would so appreciate as many ladies as possible answering these questions – especially those who are regular readers here. This would be such a gift to me! I would like to get a better gauge of the problems you are facing in your marriages and how many of you are dealing with issues specifically surrounding anger, rage, and violence.

Your answers are completely anonymous. Please answer as truthfully as possible – even if your husband is the one who did something first, answer yes if you have done any of the things in the questions in reaction to something your spouse did.

I will be asking questions about wives first, then will ask almost all of the same questions about husbands’ behavior. I want to try to get as accurate of a picture as I can.

There are 33 questions – if possible, please answer them all. They are very straightforward, easy to answer questions. I think it will be fastest to answer all of the questions, then I believe you will be able to see all of the results at once.

  • If you are not married, but are in a committed relationship with a man and would like to answer the questions (just mentally replace the word husband with boyfriend), you are welcome to.
  • At this time, I would like for only ladies to answer, please.

Thank you so much! I depend on feedback from y’all to have a better understanding of what God may desire us to discuss. 🙂

Thank you again for your time! 🙂

RESOURCES (please prayerfully check all counsel against Scripture):

The National Hotline for Domestic Violence – a secular resource

Focus Ministries – a possible Christian resource for those experiencing domestic violence

How to Be Happy in an Unhappy Marriage – this post is not about an abusive situation by Leslie Vernick (from Focus Ministries)

Healthy VS Abusive Relationships – What’s the Difference? (from Focus Ministries)