8 Tips to Nip Complaining in the Bud
1. Replace negative thoughts with thankful ones. Think about good things.
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. Phil. 4:8
2. Focus on praising God in your thoughts and with songs.
Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Ps. 115:1
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Ps. 100:1-2
3. Memorize and meditate on Scripture.
I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Ps. 77:12
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Ps. 119:11
I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. Ps. 119:99
4. Invite God to use the negative things in your life to help you grow in spiritual maturity, to bless others, and to bring glory to His Name.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Rom. 5:3-5
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
NOTE – If you are not safe. If you are in an abusive or dangerous situation, these verses don’t mean to just sit there and take abuse if you have the power to leave. We have a responsibility to get somewhere safe and to keep our children safe if there are actions we can take.
5. Avoid negative input from other people (when possible), from media, music, movies, books, etc… and replace the negative input with healthy, wholesome, Christ-honoring input that will feed my soul.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom. 12:2
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Col. 3:2
6. Journal about my journey or have an accountability partner.
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Eccl. 4:12
7. Make it a group project at church, in the family, at work, in the neighborhood, with friends, or wherever.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, Heb. 10:24
8. As soon as I mess up, I need to repent and get right back up and invite God to continue to make me more like Jesus.
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
Added Bonuses When I Stop My Habit of Complaining about Every Little Thing:
- There is more peace in my relationships.
- I have more peace in my own heart and mind.
- I can be closer to the Lord.
- It’s easier for my husband to lead.
- I have a much more powerful witness for Jesus.
- I am more fun to be around for everyone.
- I have more joy.
- I am more attractive to my husband.
- I don’t annoy myself as much.
What tips do you have to share to help us all avoid complaining?
What bonuses have you noticed when you cut way back on a complaining spirit?
Complaining VS Informing – We do need to be able to share important things. Thankfully, we can do that without complaining!
I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs. That’s the Godly Thing to Do. – No! Sometimes we do need to engage in conflicts and disagreements. But, thankfully, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do that without sinning.
Another Challenge – Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No – Sharing our desires vulnerably
How to Have a Saving Relationship with Jesus:
Of course the foundational thing – before I can do anything good – is I need to have Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I’d like to share the “ABC’s of Salvation.”
I need to:
1. ADMIT I am a sinner and there is nothing I can do to make myself in right relationship with the One true holy God of the universe.
- “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23
2. BELIEVE that Jesus, God in the flesh, left the glory of heaven, came to this world to live the perfect life I couldn’t live and die the death I deserved for my sin in my place. He conquered sin, death, and the grave on my behalf and was raised on the 3rd day.
- “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23
3. CONFESS that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord and give my whole life and everything in my life to Him. He is now in charge not me and I will follow Him for the rest of my life.
- “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Rom. 10:9
- And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Cor. 5:15
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 7:21
What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org
What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org
About Complaining – from www.gotquestions.org:
How Can I Tell If What I Want to Say Is Complaining or Informing?
Complaining is primarily about focusing on the negative about circumstances, people, or perceived negatives about God. It is about communicating a lack of gratitude and a lack of faith in the Lord. A complainer is not looking for solutions, but just wants to spread negativity and discontent. The information shared is not something that the hearers need – or want – to know. And, sadly, a complaining spirit is very contagious.
Informing is primarily about sharing important information that the other person needs to know. We may need to share our desires about certain things. We need to share if we are physically, emotionally, or spiritually so unwell that we need help from a specific person. And we need to share, with the right people, if someone else is not okay and he/she needs help.
From four of my wonderful readers (shared with their permission):
- I think complaining assigns blame, seeks sympathy and usually doesn’t solve anything. The hearer may not need the information at all. Informing seeks solutions and is intended to benefit the hearer by giving them needed information.
- I look at this way, “First, can it change?” If it can, “does it need to?” And then, “how can I say it in such a way that isnt received as competition?” A lot of concerns come out as “I’m better than you.” Or “At least I do the dishes” when in reality we just want to be appreciated and have our concerns heard.
- I think it’s all wrapped in the words you use. Instead of saying, “Why do “you” always leave the toilet seat up after “you” go?” The better approach would be, “Honey, guess what almost happened to me last night, I almost sat right down into the toilet “… then ask can we work together to think of a way we could possibly remember to put the seat back down? (This has actually happened to me long ago.) When I made “you” statements, it was complaining. When I made the “we” statements, it included us as a couple/team. Working together for our good. My husband didn’t want me to fall or get wet. It was just a habit he had. Talking and agreeing on a problem brings resolve. Not pent up frustration that steams and brews until it becomes a screaming match. Love isn’t like that. Moral of my story: We agreed to put both the seat and the lid down after using the toilet. Happy endings prevail where love abounds!!😍
- This scripture impacted me recently. Both complaining about OR withholding the truth of what is going on in our lives can be detrimental. If speaking the truth of our circumstances could lead others to eventually rejoice in God’s deliverance, then it is worth telling. Here, Paul is neither complaining nor withholding:
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV
I think it is helpful to look at my heart, motives, and scripture as I try to decide if what I want to share is complaining or informing.
- Am I saying negative things about God, assuming He has evil motives or speaking wrongly about His good character?
- Am I condemning other people or highlighting their sins to people who aren’t involved and who don’t need to know?
- Am I walking in a lack of gratitude?
- How often do I talk about the problem? Is it a continual habit?
- Am I gossipping? Meaning, am I sharing negative information about others in order to make others thing poorly of someone else or to try to make myself look better than someone else?
- Do I tell lots of people, even those who can’t do anything to help the situation?
- Is this simply an annoyance that I could/should overlook?
- Am I focused on my own personal preferences/comfort more than biblical principals/God’s glory?
- Am I trying to control something that is not in the realm of my responsibilities?
- Is this something I need to accept and invite God to use it to change me? What if this trial is an answer to my prayers to help me grow spiritually? Or is it something I have a responsibility to change?
- Am I encouraging others to complain, to be afraid, to not trust God, or to be upset?
- Am I attacking or criticizing others?
- Am I looking for genuine help and resolution of the problem, or do I just want attention and sympathy?
- Are my motives wrong? Do my words spring from envy, sinful jealousy, selfishness, self-righteousness, gossip, pride, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, malice, idolatry of someone/something (codependency), fault-finding, a critical spirit, perfectionism, people pleasing, playing the martyr, fear, a desire to control, assuming the worst motives of others or God, unbelief in God/lack of faith, etc…?
- What is my goal? Am I trying to resolve something that is resolvable? Or do I just want to say negative things just to say them – and I am not really looking for a solution?
- Do I simply want to make my needs known to God and – in faith – ask for His help and provision?
- Do I have a legitimate need or problem and am I looking to the person (or people) who can truly help me?
- Am I seeking only to tell people who actually need to know about the situation?
- Is my problem a significant one that I can’t handle on my own?
- Am I asking for things or sharing my perspective or the information I want to share respectfully?
- Is the problem something that can change and that is my responsibility to try to change?
- How often am I talking about the problem? Just enough to tell the person who can help me?
- Is this issue something that grieves God’s heart and something God instructs me to attempt to correct?
- Are my motives right? Do I seek to get the problem fixed in a way that honors the Lord?
- Am I acting in divine (1 Cor. 13:4-8 style) love for God and for others?
- Am I pointing others and myself to trust God, to love others, and to have greater faith?
- Will my sharing this information spur others on to greater faith in the Lord? Will it help them grow spiritually?
- Am I reverencing the Lord, respecting other people (my husband, my children, and others), and respecting myself in the situation?
Our pastor said something interesting yesterday,
“Lack of gratitude is the first step toward idolatry.”
Obviously, if we don’t trust and thank the Lord, we are going to look to other things to trust. We must guard our hearts carefully against this tendency, my precious sisters!
We need Your clear wisdom, guidance, Word, and Spirit to help us discern rightly in this – and every – area. Help us to see our motives clearly. Help us to long to honor You in our thoughts, attitudes, motives, words, and actions. Help us to receive Your Spirit’s power to walk in holiness because we can’t do this on our own. Change us, Lord! Make us more like Jesus.
I have walked beside hundreds and hundreds of women on this journey. There are several telltale signs that I have noticed that I want to share with you. When I see these indicators beginning to unfold in someone’s life, it means that God is at work, opening her eyes and preparing her heart. It also means that things are about to get beautiful!
This is often a progression that happens in steps over time.
The woman (or man):
- Stops blaming other people, making excuses for, or justifying her sin and takes full responsibility for things she has done wrong. She admits that she is a sinner. A wretched sinner. Completely unable to be “good enough” to pass God’s standard of perfect holiness on her own. She acknowledges that she deserves to be separated from God because of her sin.
- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23
- For the wages of sin is death… Rom. 6:23a
- Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Rom. 7:24
- Genuinely grieves over her sins, seeing just how great a debt she owes to Jesus and just how unimaginably holy God is and how He can’t tolerate any sin in His presence at all.
- 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 4:8-10
- Wants God’s cleansing, healing, His new life, and a close relationship with the Lord.
- On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Rom. 6:23
- Begins to grasp the overwhelming magnitude of the unconditional, divine love of Christ specifically for her and His goodness toward her, in spite of her wretched condition. Jesus left heaven and all of His glory in order to come rescue her, while she was still in rebellion against Him. He loved her with a love that is beyond human ability to fathom. She sees that there is no greater love in all the universe than the love of Jesus for His people. All other love begins to look faded and tarnished in comparison.
- But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:8
- But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Eph. 2:4-5
- That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19
- Humbles herself greatly before the Lord, realizing her total dependence on God’s provision.
- And you were dead in the trespasses and sins. Eph. 2:1
- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph. 2:8-9
- Understands that only the perfect, finished work of Jesus on the cross can make her right with God in God’s sight. She begins to see that He lived the perfect life she could never live in her place. He died the death she deserved for her sin. He conquered sin, death, and hell on her behalf. He offers her eternal life after this life is over and abundant spiritual life in this world! God allows her to make a great exchange. Her sinfulness for Jesus’ holiness and righteousness. Her utter spiritual bankruptcy for Jesus’ overflowing spiritual abundance. Jesus’ death for her life. So God counts all that Jesus did as if she did those things when she receives the gift of Christ and His salvation. When God looks at her, He sees Jesus’ perfection.
- Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Rom. 5:9-10
- Realizes that Jesus is the Greatest Treasure in the universe – and nothing else comes anywhere close to His worth. She is willing to give up everything to have Him. No sacrifice seems too great.
- “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matt. 13:44
- Desires to die to her old self – to her sinful nature, to her sinful desires, to her old human way of thinking, and to this world.
- And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.“ Luke 9:23
- We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Rom. 6:6
- Receives her new identity in Christ and God’s truth about her new status.
- We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Rom. 6:4
- There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
- But God… raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:6
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:17
- Hungers for God, His Word, and the kingdom of God. Has a healthy spiritual appetite for confession of sin, prayer, reading the Bible, praising and thanking God, and fellowship with the Body of Christ.
- O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Ps. 63:1
- “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.“ Matt. 5:6
- Becomes teachable and ready to absorb and receive God’s truth, spiritual healing, and provision.
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
- Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10
- Wants to do whatever it takes to be as close as possible to God, not to earn salvation or to get other things she wants, but just out of gratitude and love for the Lord – no matter the personal sacrifice involved. She wants to obey God – even if it means giving up previous priorities, time, money, sins, and completely changing her lifestyle to please the Lord.
- Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
- Accepts God’s Word as truth rather than her feelings, past experiences, past teaching in her life, the culture, and personal perception/wisdom.
- Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17
- All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Tim. 3:16
- Seeks the Lord wholeheartedly even if no one else does, even if it is lonely. Even if her husband, her family, her children, or her friends don’t understand and don’t want to change like she does.
- Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt. 10:37
- Desires God’s will far above her own knowing there is no other place she would rather be.
- “Not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
- Trusts God – or determines that she wants to learn to trust God – and has new-found faith that God’s way will be best. Her fears begin to melt away.
- For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7
- There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18
- Knows that God is good and understands God’s character as He reveals Himself in the Bible.
- No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18
- Is willing to give up lies about God, others, and self and rebuild her life on the Solid Rock of God’s Word alone.
- “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matt. 7:24-25
- Invites the Holy Spirit to have full control in her life. She fully yields to the Lordship of Jesus. She no longer wants her sinful nature to be in control, although she can still choose to act in the sinful nature. But now, she has the ability to choose to live in the Spirit! She begins to see the Fruit of the Spirit in her life.
- For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23
- Begins to experience the very divine love, grace, mercy of God for others in her life. She sees them with new eyes, with heavenly eyes. She can start to see their wounds and need for Jesus. And she can begin to extend the love, grace, and mercy of God that she received to others in every day life. She becomes a fruitful instrument for God’s Kingdom.
- For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal. 5:14
- I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
When I see these things happening, I know that God is transforming someone by the power of His Spirit. And I know that He is going to do something glorious that will bring much honor to Himself and much good to the person and the kingdom of Christ. It brings me such joy to watch God miraculously changing and healing people!
We can’t open anyone else’s eyes spiritually. We can’t even open our own eyes. We are totally dependent on Your Spirit to resurrect people’s souls from death to new life in Jesus. We invite You into this place and into each of our hearts. We invite You to breathe Your eternal and abundant Life into our souls. We invite Your Spirit to work in mighty ways and to bring salvation to many who didn’t know You before. And we invite You to continue Your good work, as You have promised You would, in those who know You already. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship! We long only for more and more of You – Your goodness, Your presence, Your love, Your healing, Your transformation for each of us to make us more like Jesus.
Thank You for the incredible gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Thank You for loving us so much more than we could ever comprehend! Give us eyes to see and ears to hear Your Words and Your love for us. Empower us to choose the narrow way that leads to Life.
What are some signs you have seen in your own life, or in other people’s lives, that help you know that God is very much at work?
Stages of This Journey – to Become a Peaceful Wife
I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
The more I know the Lord and the more I see of His goodness, character, and love, the more I spontaneously desire to praise and thank Him. It is a natural outpouring that results from understanding who God is and acknowledging all of the innumerable blessings He has given me. Truly, it is the only appropriate response for me as a believer in Christ to my kind, loving, generous, gracious Creator, Savior, and Lord.
Of course, some days praise and thanksgiving comes more easily than others. But whether I feel like giving praise and thanking God or not, there are many good reasons that I want to live a continual lifestyle of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Thankfully, this is a choice of the will that I can make no matter how I may feel in the moment.
11 reasons I want to enthusiastically embrace praise and thanksgiving every single day:
- God alone is worthy of all of my praise and thanksgiving.
- He is the Creator of the entire universe. (Gen. 1:1, Col. 1:16)
- He gave me life and every good thing. (Gen. 2:7, Matt. 7:11, Luke 12:24, James 1:17)
- He alone is God and there is no other god. (Isa. 44:6)
- He alone is completely good. He is love. He is light. He is truth. He is holy. He hates evil and sin. He is just. He is kind. He is generous. He is sovereign. He is omnipresent. He is omnipotent. He is perfect. (Verses about God’s character)
- God calls me, and all believers in Christ, to praise as a vocation – here on earth and in heaven.
- It is God’s will for me to live in continual thanksgiving and praise.
- An attitude like this puts God and my problems in proper perspective and grows my faith.
- God commands me, as a believer in Christ, to live in thanksgiving and praise because it greatly blesses me, it is an appropriate response to Him, and it honors Him. (Ps. 50:14, Ps. 99:5, Isa. 42:10, 1 Thess. 5:18)
- My praise for and thanksgiving to God align me with His good purposes and His will for my life and His kingdom.
- My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord help to transform wrong, sinful thinking.
- It is part of allowing God to renew my mind. (Rom. 12:2)
- When I am boasting in God, I am not boasting in myself. God opposes my human pride but gives grace to me when I am humble. (James 4:6)
- I acknowledge that He is God and He has all the rights of being Lord and I do not. I learn to lean on His wisdom rather than my own human wisdom. (Prov. 3:5-6)
- I learn to develop an eternal perspective rather than a temporal one – to see how God will use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory. (Rom. 8:28-29)
- Praise and thanksgiving are a huge part of how we take our thoughts captive for Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)
- God inhabits the praises of His people.
- My praise and gratitude to God create a spirit of faith and trust in me. (Prov. 3:5-6, Heb. 11:6)
- As I see God for who He really is and all that He has done, I realize I have no reason to fear, unbelief, doubt. My fears melt away as I grasp His greatness and as I taste His goodness. (1 John 4:18)
- When I remind myself of God’s faithfulness in the past, I see that He will also be faithful in my current and future circumstances. (Ps. 42:6)
- Thanksgiving is how God instructs us to approach Him in prayer.
- Demons feel very unwelcome when there is praise and thanksgiving to God going on.
- My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord is a spiritual weapon. As I sing praises to the Lord, evil spirits flee. (1 Sam. 16:23)
- Sometimes trials come from the enemy to test my faith – just like with Job – to prove that I will turn against the Lord and stop praising Him if I suffer temporarily in this life. (Job 1:9-12)
- May I never give the enemy of my soul any occasion to mock the Lord! But may I continue to praise God and trust Him no matter what may happen here on earth, knowing He is with me and He is for me and that no weapon formed against me shall prosper! (Isa. 54:17)
- When I stand on God’s Word and proclaim His truth and praise out loud in faith in Jesus, demonic opposition cannot stand against me. I don’t have power against demons/Satan in my own strength, but in the Name and power of Jesus, I can resist the enemy with the truth about God and the truth of God’s Word. (James 4:7)
- Praise and thanksgiving are powerful spiritual prescriptions for depression, discouragement, anxiety, and fear.
- When David wrote the Psalms, he poured out his heart, burdens, trials, and heavy emotions. Then he always reminded himself to praise God, even when he faced humanly impossible circumstances and his very life was in jeopardy. (Ps. 42:5)
- It is impossible to continue to feel depressed, defeated, lonely, or discouraged when I set my eyes firmly on the Lord in all His glory and I see His goodness, love, and provision for me! God is infinitely greater than my circumstances and other people.
- My sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord open the floodgates of heaven to countless blessings:
- God’s provision.
- Answers to prayer.
- Miracles. (Acts 16:25-34)
- God’s glory. (1 Chron. 15:16, 2 Chron. 5:13)
- Spiritual victory. (2 Chron. 20)
- People coming to Christ! (Acts 16:25-34)
- God’s kingdom coming in my life and on earth. (1 Chron. 16:7, Jer. 30:19)
- Greater joy. (Neh. 12:31-33)
- Physical health benefits to me.
NOTE – Trials are a signal to me that I need to greatly increase my praise and thanksgiving to the Lord to allow much more of His Spirit, wisdom, and power to flow into my life and circumstances. My response when under any kind of spiritual attack or warfare must include much praise and thanksgiving to the Lord!
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
How has God revealed these truths to you in your own walk with Him?
Why Is Praising God Important? by www.gotquestions.org
What Does It Mean to Praise God? by www.gotquestions.org
What Does the Bible Say about Thankfulness/Gratitude? by www.gotquestions.org
What Does the Bible Say about Ingratitude/Unthankfulness? by www.gotquestions.org
How can I find real peace in this crazy, violent, messed-up world today? Especially when the people I love most are living here in the midst of it and it is scary and dangerous?
We have spoken often about the foundation for our peace being in Jesus and in our personal relationship with Him as our Savior and Lord.
The Foundation of My Peace Is Jesus
The foundation of my peace as a woman, wife, and mom is that I know, love, and trust Jesus.
- Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is on the throne of my life without any rival affections. I have peace because He is the source of all peace. (John 14:27, John 16:33)
- I have peace as I live in total submission to His Lordship in my life. He is in charge, I am not. When I try to be in charge myself or I trust anything/anyone other than Christ, I will live in fear, anxiety, discouragement, oppression, and spiritual poverty.
- I also have peace as I abide in Christ (John 15:4-7). I live in continual total dependence on Him, His Word, His Spirit, prayer, and emotional/spiritual oneness with Him. I receive all of His truth. I allow His power to transform me daily.
- When His Spirit is reigning in my life, I experience the “fruit of His Spirit” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
God’s Word, His Spirit, and Sound Doctrine Expand His Peace in My Heart and Life
The Bible is my lifeline to God. It is His love letter to me and to all who belong to Him. It is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). I need it all!
- I need the scriptures that explain who God is and tell me of His character so I can know and trust Him and have a right view of Him.
- I need the parts about the history of God’s people to have a concept of what God has done in the past and how He works in the lives of His people and in the world.
- I need the passages about doctrine for a framework upon which to build my life.
- I need the story of Jesus’ life and what He did for all of us on the cross and to know the Gospel.
- I need to know how to have a relationship with Him that show me all that God has done to save me from hell.
- I need the parts of the Bible that tell me how to live the Christian life in practical ways.
- I also need the prophetic parts to thoroughly equip and prepare me for the present and the future.
…You have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 1 Tim. 3:15-17
All of God’s Word is infallible and true. All of it is there to bless the body of Christ as a whole and as individuals, to transform us to make us more like Jesus.
Bible prophecy is often overlooked by many believers in Christ, today. Lots of people think it isn’t relevant to our lives, that God’s prophetic words are not true, or that those scriptures can’t be rightly understood. Of course, there are those who twist God’s Word to try to use it for their own misleading purposes. They are false teachers, and they are in abundance, even among churches who claim Jesus as Lord. We must be alert and careful about what teachers we listen to. But this subject is too important to ignore or dismiss.
If I do not know Bible prophecy about “the end times,” when I look at what is going on in this world, it seems completely terrifying and I will act in fear rather than faith.
When I act in fear, I make destructive choices as a wife, mom, and in my other relationships.
It is so critical for me to understand that God is in control, even now, and that God is moving the world toward a specific plan for His glory. People have free will. He gives people the ability to choose or reject Him every moment of our lives. He is not responsible for people’s sin. He is outside of time and space. And His sovereignty encompasses our free will and works with it to create a tapestry throughout all of human history for His glory. I won’t begin to understand how that is possible until heaven. But as I receive His Life-giving Word and trust God, I can live in His peace and have hope because I know what the outcome is ultimately going to be, even when I watch the news.
This impacts all of my relationships and life-decisions greatly!
When I Properly Understand Bible Prophecy, I Am a Different Woman, Wife, and Mom
If I truly know that Jesus is coming again for His church (including me), and I believe that the Great Tribulation is just around the corner and that time to share the Gospel and to love people is precious and limited, this knowledge transforms my life:
- I think, speak, pray, and act in faith in God rather than being overcome by fear.
- I embrace God’s spiritual pruning of my life to help me grow in my faith. Even if my husband isn’t changing first.
- I don’t want to waste any time in becoming the godly woman God calls me to be. I desperately desire God’s Spirit’s power to enable me to build up and bless my family and I want to stop tearing them down and using my influence and power to destroy them and others.
- I am familiar with the enemy’s schemes to distract, discourage, and paralyze me and to seduce me away from Jesus with lies. I know that he would love to get a foothold in my life so he could use my mouth and my actions to destroy my husband and children. He will do anything he can to get me to fall away from my faith in Jesus and to rebel against the Lord and destroy my witness for Christ. So I cling to Jesus all the more.
- I want to be found faithful and obedient to my Lord Jesus when He comes “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:51) which is the rapture – or when I meet him through death – whichever may come first.
- I share hope, wisdom, and faith with my husband, children, and everyone in my circle of influence.
- I know that my devotion, worship, obedience, trust, and labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).
- I realize that time may be very short, so I want to be sure I am right with God and right with other people. I don’t have time to hold onto any sin, resentment, grudges, or unforgiveness.
- I have a lot more patience with people because I know what is truly important and I am seeing from an eternal perspective, not a temporal one.
- I want to share the gospel urgently, to be sure that everyone has a chance to choose to live for Jesus while there is still a small window of time left in this period of grace before the Great Tribulation begins when things will become much more difficult for those who decide to follow Jesus.
- My priorities shift dramatically. With this eternal perspective, I won’t care nearly as much about the small things – my husband forgot our anniversary, he left the toilet seat up again, my children didn’t appreciate me enough, we haven’t been on a date in months, etc… My eyes are set on Jesus and His kingdom’s work.
- I am not very phased by people’s pettiness or drama. Externals become less and less important. So do all of the things that seem so important to the world. I see way past those shallow things because much deeper spiritual things of God concern me.
- I am not caught up in gossip, materialism, idolatry, bitterness, pride, a critical spirit, self-righteousness, or greed.
- I don’t cling to the things of this world because they will soon disappear.
- I don’t have a spirit of offense when others are hurtful toward me, I don’t take what they do to me personally. I see they are wounded and hurting. I am able to see their spiritual condition and oppression and I pray for God to reach them, to heal them, to bless them, and to raise them to the new life (1 Cor. 4:12-13) God has given to me.
- I see God at work in the headlines. I see His prophecies unfolding before my eyes and I am assured that He has not abandoned His people, my family, or me as an individual. My faith increases as I see His Word is true and His prophecies are being fulfilled one by one.
- I am humbled before God, acknowledging that He is sovereign, not me. He is God, I am not. He has all wisdom, I do not. He holds the world and all of the nations in His hands, I don’t. He knows what He is doing. Even the Great Tribulation has a purpose – to draw Israel, finally, to her amazing Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Want Some Details?
In case this is all rather new to you, or you just need a quick summary of what has been going on, check out the following list and see how many of these points have happened or are happening now:
25 Signs We Are Near the Last Days – by Don Stewart (There are numerous sub-points, you may watch this video for a brief overview, or check out his book.) The bold words are Don Stewart’s words. The regular font words are my additional comments.
- The miracle of Israel’s survival.
- As their enemies have done to Israel, so God will do to them. He promised to weaken Egypt but to keep it around (Jer. 46) as a reminder to Israel. But He said they would never be a great power again. There are no longer any Moabites (Jer. 48), Philistines (Jer. 47), Babylonians (Jer. 50), and others today, just as God prophesied when He decreed destruction for those enemies of Israel.
- Israel will miraculously return to its ancient homeland in the last days. Israel became an official nation again, after being dissolved for almost 2000 years, on May 14, 1948. They celebrated their 70th anniversary of being a modern nation this spring.
- The nation will return in two stages. They will return to their homeland in unbelief in Jesus. They are spiritually dead (Ezekiel 37). This is what has happened, Israel has returned, but they still do not acknowledge Jesus. The second stage will occur at the end of the Great Tribulation (after Jesus defeats the Anti-Christ) when they acknowledge that Jesus is their Messiah and they repent and turn to Him in faith.
- Jerusalem will be united under Israeli rule. This happened after the 6 day war in 1967.
- Israel will be in the world’s spotlight. Just watch the news in almost any given week this year.
- There will be a continual search for peace in Israel. There are talks of an attempt to organize some kind of peace deal in Israel and the Middle East in the news this week.
- Preparations will be made to build the third temple. This has been underway for several years. Many Jews believe that Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital means that rebuilding the temple is next. The “Temple Movement” is growing and ready as soon as the opportunity presents itself for the Jews to begin construction.
- In the last days, certain specified nations will invade Israel (Ezekiel 38-39). The Bible names the countries that are modern day Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, and Ethiopia as those who will come against Israel “like a cloud” during a time of prosperity and peace in Israel. Currently, Iran, Russia, and Turkey are working together in an alliance staging some of their military operations in Syria. Iran has been very clear that they plan to wipe Israel off the map. Turkey is hostile toward Israel. Russia is occupying Syria and supporting Syria, Turkey, and Iran.
- The nations missing from the Ezekiel 38,39 invasion. Equally interesting is that Saudia Arabia and some other nations are currently a bit more friendly, or, not as hostile, toward Israel, as they used to be. These nations are not listed as attackers in Ezekiel 38,39.
- No superpower will intervene on Israel’s behalf when they are invaded: something will happen to the United States. America will either not have the power or the will to help Israel – but this is God’s plan. God, Himself, will save Israel during the Ezekiel 38 war in a miraculous way.
- There will be a ten nation confederation in western Europe (The revival of the ancient Roman Empire). Possibly the EU in some form?
- There will be a one-world political and economic system (globalism). Although we have not yet achieved a one-world political and economic system, it is obvious in the news that globalism is the primary goal of many political leaders today.
- The world will desperately look for a leader. It turns out that the dynamic, charismatic man who will seem to have all of the answers to the natural disasters, famines, plagues, economic crisis, etc… and who seduces the entire world will be the Antichrist.
- There will be an exponential increase in technology. This continues to happen at an astounding rate, never seen before in history.
- Plagues and pestilence will trouble the world. Contagious diseases and pandemics can travel more quickly around the world today than ever. Here is why the risk continues to increase from a scientific perspective and why the end times will be so ripe for the greatest plagues and death tolls (due to disease) in history. During the Great Tribulation, 1/4 of the earth’s population will be killed by sword, famine, disease, or wild animals.
- The world will be characterized by lawlessness. Watch the local, national, or world news any time to see this.
- The world will be characterized by violence. Again, we can see it every day in the news. The level of blatant hatred and violence in our culture has been rising at truly alarming rates.
- The organized church will turn away from the faith (apostasy). This Great Apostasy is very evident in America, Europe, and many Western cultures and has been progressing over the past few generations. We see churches and whole denominations dying off as people reject the truth of God’s Word and surround themselves with false teaching and lies.
- There will be a rise in false prophets, false teachers, and false Christs. This is happening more and more as people do not want to hear sound doctrine. (How to recognize false teachers.)
- There will be a rise in anti-semitism. Almost every country in the world has already turned away from Israel. Check out the UN meetings this year. The UN voted overwhelmingly that Israel had no right to defend itself against attack. The UN voted overwhelmingly against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, even though other countries are allowed to choose their own capital for their nations.
- Christians will continue to be persecuted. Christian persecution now is increasing and is worse than at any other time in history.
- Unbelievers will scoff at the idea of Christ’s return.
- The wicked will not understand the signs of the times.
- Bible-believers will understand what is taking place.
There are other things going on right now, too, that point to the fact that the season of the rapture and Great Tribulation are close at hand. Jesus said, when He was on earth, “no man knows the day or the hour” (Matt. 24:36) and that not even He knew when the rapture would happen. So we are not at liberty to try to predict specific dates. In fact, we should be very alarmed at anyone who claims to know the exact date Jesus will return. That is a big flag that person is not speaking on God’s behalf.
But we are equipped by scripture to recognize the season (Matt. 24:32-33). We are to be ready every day. As we see more and more signs and prophecies being fulfilled, we are to lift up our heads because we know that “our redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28)
- There has been an incredible uptick in earthquakes all around the world in the past week or so. Jesus describes that famines and earthquakes will happen in various places around the world, this is part of the beginning of the birth pangs. Like birth pangs, we can expect a great increase of these things the closer we get to the end. (Matt. 24:7)
- The love of many will grow cold. Matt. 24:12
- People will lose their “natural affection” for family members – as we are seeing now (2 Tim. 3:3-5). Moms are killing their own babies in abortion. Parents are killing their children (after they are born). Children are killing their parents and siblings. Abuse is rampant. Our own homes are not safe.
- The moral character of people will be in a state of rapid decline in every way (2 Tim 3:1-9).
- The gospel is being preached around the world. Matt. 24:14
This is just a little taste of some of the prophecies that will be fulfilled or have been fulfilled already as we approach the last hour. May the Lord give us eyes to see and ears to hear all that He wants to share with us in this exciting time in history. And may we yield ourselves fully to be instruments in His hands for His kingdom as we have been placed here “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
RESOURCES I TRUST
Of course, always weigh what any teacher says against scripture and test what they are saying with the Spirit!
Behold Israel – Amir Tsarfati (an Israeli believer who is part of the Israeli military and who does Christian tours of Israel who does updates on what is happening in the Middle East that relates to Bible prophecy)
Real Life with Jack Hibbs (a pastor in California who has prophecy updates relating to current events and who teaches on all kinds of biblical topics, including Bible prophecy)
JD Farag – (a pastor in Hawaii with a passion for Bible prophecy, the gospel, and seeing people come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord who also does Bible prophecy updates)
Hope for Our Times – Don Stewart and Tom Hughes address Bible prophecy and current events
Signs of the End Times – www.gotquestions.org
Articles on the End Times – by John Piper and www.desiringgod.org
Systematic Theology podcasts by Wayne Grudem about the end times on iTunes (podcasts 112-113)
I was planning to write this post a few hours before my father-in-law suddenly died August 4th. It is the sequel to my post from last week about Is Real Joy Possible for Me? I am honored to share these precious spiritual treasures with you – as it so happens – from the midst of a significant trial in my own life.
We live in a fallen world and we all face many kinds of trials in our lives. None of us are exempt. I may not have much control over what trials come my way. But I do have control over my response and attitude.
I am so excited to share some amazing truths with you – truths that will radically change your life and perspective if you are willing to embrace them.
JOY IS MY CHOICE IN TIMES OF TRIAL
I can choose to depend on God’s wisdom, His strength, His sovereignty, His power, His goodness, His love, and His vision. I can choose to trust Him and His Word. I can willingly yield to His Lordship and let Him lead me.
This takes the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes close fellowship with God. It takes practice. It is a discipline we can learn as believers with God’s help. I can begin to see hard times as spiritual tests and opportunities for growth.
When I face difficulties, the Holy Spirit empowers me (if I belong to Christ) to choose to respond in:
- I don’t know the answers, but I trust that God knows what to do and that He will lead me through this. (Isa. 30:21, Ps. 23)
- I don’t have the wisdom to solve this dilemma, but I trust that God has wisdom and power in this situation. (Isa. 40:28)
- I know God is sovereign, good, and loving even now and even over this. (Jer. 29:11-13)
- I know that God promises to use this specific trial to help me grow in my faith and in spiritual maturity, and that brings me great joy. (James 1:2-4)
- Jesus invites me to ask for things I genuinely need – according to His will – and to receive from God, that my joy might be full. (John 16:24)
- A joyful heart is good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)
- God calls me to rejoice in Him at all times. (Phil. 4:4)
- I have so many reasons for joy in Christ, even in the midst of my trials (the following is excerpted from www.gotquestions.org).
- The joy of my salvation.
- The joy of anticipating God’s deliverance.
- The joy of God’s presence.
- The joy of spiritual maturity.
- An Open Heart
- What does God want me to learn and how does He want to help me to grow in this painful trial?
- Spiritual Treasure Seeking
- It is only in the dark caves where people can find diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and gems physically, it is similar spiritually. The greatest treasures are found in the darkest times, if we are willing to look.
- I don’t want to miss any of the gifts He has for me here.
- Lord, I give this situation to You. You see all that I am going through and my suffering. I trust You are with me. I trust You are sovereign and good.
- I invite Your provision!
- How should I pray about this situation?
- Not my will but Yours be done! (Luke 22:42)
- Is there anyone I should ask to pray with me/for me about this?
- What step do you want me to take next?
- I only want to see Your greatest glory!
- I want Your perfect will.
- What miracles do You want to do here?
- Jesus invites me to come to Him when I am weary and He will give me rest for my soul. (Matt. 11:28-30)
- Focusing on Positive Things
- I can focus on the good things, the Philippians 4:8 things, because whatever I focus on tends to grow in my field of spiritual vision.
- Receptivity to His promises
- I learn about God’s promises theoretically as I read His Word. But it is during a crisis that I actually get to rest the weight of my life on God’s promises and experience them in reality.
- I want to keep all of God’s promises in my heart and stand firmly on them and His Word.
- How does God want me to shine for Christ in the midst of this yucky situation? (Phil. 2:14-16, Matt. 5:13-16)
- How might He want me to be an example, blessing, and witness to others? (1 Cor. 7:16, Acts 1:8)
- How does God desire me to overcome evil with good here? (Rom. 12:17-21)
- I can rest assured that God will use my pain – and the comfort He brings to me – to bring comfort, healing, salvation, and to strengthen the faith to others in the future when they hear about what He did for me and how I responded. (2 Cor. 1:6)
This doesn’t mean I won’t have feelings of sadness. I will! I am human, after all. I will have sadness and grief, at times. I will feel frustration and anger, at times. I will hurt. I will have emotions. It is important to feel my emotions and to identify them. But I don’t have to be a slave to my emotions. And I don’t have to be a slave to my circumstances.
Things may look hopeless from a human perspective…
Thankfully, I don’t have to see from a mere human perspective if I know Jesus!
THE BLESSINGS OF TRIALS
Scripture is full of encouragement about the spiritual benefits of our trials as followers of Christ. Here are a few of the blessings my trials can produce in my life as I trust God:
- Lamentations 1
- Suffering for sin may help me repent of sin and return to God if I have strayed.
- God disciplines those who belong to Him for our good, so that we will turn from death and embrace His Life.
- Matthew 5:10-11 and Acts 5:41
- Suffering for my faith in Christ means I have been counted worthy to suffer in Jesus’ name.
- I am blessed if I am insulted, punished, and/or persecuted for my faith in Jesus.
- Romans 5:3-5
- I can glory in my sufferings because of the good they will produce
- I can glory in my sufferings because of the good they will produce
- James 1:2-4
- As I trust God during suffering, He will use my trials to produce good things in me:
- greater faith
- greater spiritual maturity
- spiritual completeness
- I will lack nothing
- As I trust God during suffering, He will use my trials to produce good things in me:
- Hebrews 12:4-12
- I am to count hardships as discipline from God that will help me learn and grow. His discipline:
- is verification of my adoption as a child of God
- brings greater respect for God
- yields peaceful fruit
- brings about righteousness
- is guaranteed to be for my benefit
- allows me to share in God’s holiness
- I am to count hardships as discipline from God that will help me learn and grow. His discipline:
NOTE – “Counting trials as joy” does not mean that I need to try to create trials for myself, that I should be purposely combative or argumentative, or that I should try to prolong trials. It also doesn’t mean I must stay in a dangerous, abusive situation where I am being severely sinned against if I am able to get somewhere safe.
If you have experienced God’s supernatural joy and/or blessings in the midst of a difficult trial, or you have learned something helpful about how to “count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds,” we’d love to hear about it! I’m so thankful we can walk this road together and encourage one another.
Verses about trials – Open Bible
Verses about God’s wisdom – Open Bible
A list of all of God’s promises – Bible Gateway
Verses about peace – Open Bible
Verses about suffering as a believer – Open Bible
Verses about God’s Sovereignty – Open Bible
Verses about finding God’s direction – Open Bible
Verses about strength – Open Bible
“The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord” has one chapter on counting trials as joy and one chapter on having an eternal perspective. Most of the chapters in the book would be a blessing to all women, not just moms.
I am so excited to share this precious sister’s story! I cannot begin to imagine if I had a chance to start to learn these things BEFORE marriage. What a blessing!!!! I cannot wait to see all that God has in store for this young bride-to-be and for each of you, my precious sisters. 🙂
Thank you April for the opportunity to share what I am learning! Your blog has been such a blessing to me! It is honest, practical and refreshing and gave me the insight I needed to develop my spiritual self in preparation for marriage. I am grateful!
So a little about me.
I am really good at doing stuff. I am the first child. I am the child that came after miscarriages so I have also subconsciously felt the need to double my efforts. I like knowing stuff, arguing about stuff, learning new stuff. I am a lawyer. My siblings call me, “bossyboots.” I like to be in control. I have a plan for everything (which I document in Excel spreadsheets – totally over the top!). I overplan, I overpromise and I over-deliver. I am your typical Type A chick. 🙂
I met the most excellent man (hubby to be – aka HTB) and we fell in love and are planning to get married later this year. I have been consciously praying towards marriage and reading and preparing and asking married people questions. Typical Type A diligence. So I was not expecting to become undone! As we got closer to the wedding, cracks started to show. HTB started becoming angry easily. I would suggest things and he would snap. I would wear something and he would comment negatively. In turn, I became sensitive and started putting my guard up. In my hurt I said things (“fine lets break up” – yikes) and did things that I look back on with shame. In my hurt I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by fear:
- “this is not going to work”
- “this was too good to be true”
- “he doesn’t love me”
- “he is like my ex- he is panicking about marriage”
Mostly I got angry at God – I didn’t understand how this man had become “weird”. So I asked God to sort it out and change him.
I am not saying he is perfect – he is human and of course some of the miscommunication is attributable to him. That’s for him to deal with. God showed me quickly that I had to deal with me.
- I had learn what it meant to respect specific to HTB.
- I had to learn what it meant to be preparing to share my life with someone and be vulnerable to that person and to respect his vulnerability while respecting his free will and embracing who he is not who I want him to be!
- And mostly I had to learn to trust God. Like REALLY trust him.
Imagine trying to hold a prickly hedgehog that sounds like clanging symbols. Can you picture it? Yes- that’s what I sounded and looked like. HTB retreated and the more he retreated the pricklier and louder I became.
- I tried reasoning
- I tried faking it (“Okay, Darling, whatever you say.” Until he says the wrong thing, then I am back to prickly)
- I tried long legalistic arguments (he hated them)
- I tried (self-righteous) anger
- I tried tears (terrible),
- I tried Miss Independent (I don’t need you, so there!!)
- I tried ignoring him.
And finally after I exhausted me and him, I gave up and lay it all down and said “God- I give up. I need you. I love this man I want to be an amazing wife but I can’t even seem to make it as an amazing fiancé! I am hurting, I am lost, and I am confused. I need you.”
With hindsight, I wish I had started there – surrendering to God first. But we are never too late for God. He was so gracious!! As I lay there broken He started to show me things.
I read first about Hannah – and was moved by her honest cry to God. The consistency and focus of her prayer and the way God blessed her with more when she gave her all to Him. From Hannah I was led to Esther – how she replaced beautiful Queen Vashti because Queen Vashti refused to respect her husband. I looked at Esther – her patience, her use of deeds before words, the beautiful way she displayed honor and respect. And that gave me the breakthrough I needed to start hounding the bible on respect. I had read about submission and marriage but I did not truly understand respect. Then I found peacefulwife’s blog – and I started to learn, grow and change in huge leaps!
Although I love and respect HTB, I was unaware of the layers of respect I was missing. I never obviously disrespected him but I was oblivious as to how I portrayed disrespect in other ways. I would hear critic instead of his coded pleas for respect.
- When he said “I think your top is too low,” I heard “I don’t like the way you dress, I am going to control you.” What he was communicating was, “you are my pride”.
- When he said “You ask for people’s opinions before mine,” I heard “you must do what I want. Don’t talk to anyone, I must control you.” What he was communicating was, “I want us to be best friends”.
- When I tried to go around him to get something he asked me to wait for I heard, “you don’t love me. You don’t want me to have it so I will get it myself”. What he was communicating was, “trust me on this please”.
In all these ways I was undermining him and being disrespectful without being fully conscious of it! He was afraid of loving someone who could not respect him. I learnt the HARD way that respect was the gateway to love for HTB which is so different from me! Love is saying “I love you”, physical touch, quality time and all the cute things he gives/does to show me he loves me. For him, respect was love.
I loved Peacefulwife’s feature on fear – that really challenged me. I really had to come to terms with the unhealthy fear I was holding onto and with two terrible sins I was carrying – self-sufficiency and self-righteousness. It was so hard to have them revealed and yet so freeing. I am still working on them – undoing years of trying to be “in control”. I love that God is merciful and loving and kind and He reveals to redeem. I praise Him and thank Him for every small change! Some examples of my changes:
- I reviewed what I believe about God. I focused on his awesomeness especially in the book of Job. God presents Himself in all His glory!! He says at one point to Job 39:1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?” I love that line! Had I even considered the mountain goat? No! What do we really know about anything? Really? In the greater scheme of things what do we control?? I am no more significant than a pimple on an ant! I had to put me into proper perspective and worship God for who He is. The huge, magnificent, omnipotent one, the creator of the universe, the savior who died on the cross for me, the holy one, Alpha and Omega. When you consider Alpha and Omega v little pimple on ant girl, it is very clear who should be the center of my life, my praise and my worship!
- I had to make time for God. For me it meant making more effort on my quiet time which was a half-hearted attempt before. Now I do quiet time first before I speak to anyone. It’s not something I squeeze in to my day – it’s how I start the day. I also started waking up at midnight to pray – even if its 2 seconds of prayer my alarm rings and I say thank you Jesus you are awesome. I love how Peacefulwife covers her head! I think we all need a reality check on how we honor God!
- I learned to let things go!! If I get hurt HTB (or anyone else) I first picture my sins on the cross. My stinky horrible sins. And I choose to forgive and love quickly because I got the hook up from Jesus first. At the end of the day nothing anyone says can take me from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39). I have to find my security there and if He (God) is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow then that’s where I am going to investment all my hope. So in the greater scheme of things – something can hurt (i.e. HTB doesn’t call when he says he is going to) but I won’t allow it to linger. I move on – there are so many things to do for God’s glory, getting angry and planting seeds of unforgiveness is not one of them.
- I am quick to acknowledge if I have done something wrong AND not beat myself up about it. Type A chicks are their worst critics. I dropped the self-flagellation. I am not perfect but I am growing. I don’t need to be perfect. When I am weak then I am strong! The hardest part was asking for forgiveness from HTB when I saw how my disrespect had been so profound. It was humbling and he was gracious in his acceptance. And now it’s so much easier for me to say sorry and not carry the weight of guilt around with me.
- I am careful with words. I used to think and talk at the same time – half processed information pulled together into a babbling stream! What a headache! Now I follow the Esther rule: if I need a decision from HTB or have something important to say/discuss: I sleep over it for at least one night, gather my thoughts, make sure he is a good place (Esther was hardcore!! I mean two nights of fasting!) then say it honestly, succinctly and without obligation on how I want him to respond. Then pray about it and not nag. There are two core verses that I keep reminding myself of DAILY: 1) 1 Peter3:1-4 (win your husbands with your deeds not words and that your beauty should come from the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”); and 2) Job 38:2 when the Lord says to Job: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words with knowledge”. Words without knowledge. Yikes. Babbling stream!!
- I focus on respect – hearing not just absently listening to what HTB says but really opening my heart and ears to hear him when he communicates. It has been awesome. I am learning to see him not my version of him. And to tap into his heartbeat.
- I am conscious of what I wear. I love how Peacefulwife talks about her skirts and wearing things that honor God and her husband. I am so much more focused on it now – I love clothes but now question what I wear and seek to make sure my outfit is worth of being HTB’s pride.
There is so much to learn but I am so excited to see what God is doing with my surrendered heart. I am so grateful that I fell apart so that I can be put together with all my brokenness into a vessel that is filled with God’s spirit. I love that I am not changing who I am – I am still a type A – but learning to use my strengths for God’s glory and to honor HTB.
I love this conclusion from Peacefulwife:
“When my faith is totally in Christ, good things are blessings for which I can praise Him. And when my faith is totally in Christ, bad things are opportunities for God to demonstrate His sovereignty and goodness and to teach me and to use me for His glory. I always “win” in Jesus. His perfect love casts out all fear. I John 4:18.”
How amazing is that? That’s a Type A’s formula to success!!
A comment on this week’s post about the importance of patience as we learn to be content with what we have – really struck a chord with me. I used to be possibly one of the most impatient people on the planet at times. My time frame was in seconds, minutes and hours. That is when I wanted things to happen. NOW!
When I prayed for God to make Greg pray with me many years ago – I was ANGRY at God when Greg didn’t pray with me that night. And when I prayed for a job for Greg and it took 6 years for him to get an engineering job in town, that was NOT my time frame whatsoever. And when Greg and his dad were working on renovating our house and they said the whole house would be done in 6 months and I (generously) gave them a year in my mind – I was VERY upset when it took 4.5 years (and there are still 3 rooms that are not done and haven’t even been touched. Of course, now I don’ t care if they are ever renovated. I’m totally content with them being 50 years old and pretty imperfect).
I can remember times that Greg would go outside that first year of renovations and he was cutting vines off of the fence in the back yard. I would march out to demand that he stop cutting the stupid vines and go finish the house! How was the house going to be done in “6 months” if he was out here “wasting precious time” cutting vines off the fence??!?!?!
Years later, Greg shared with me, when he was frustrated, he would go cut vines. He needed time to think through things and work through problems and that was how he did it. Ugh. I feel so awful about my demands and disrespect back then. All I cared about was I wanted it all done ASAP!!!!!!!! My timing and what I wanted was all that mattered to me back then. 🙁
I believe God used those years of renovations to teach me quite a bit of patience. I had to learn to live in total chaos, mess, dust and disorder which ran completely counter to my perfectionism and my desire for our house to look “perfect” all the time. I had to learn to be patient when projects took 10 times longer than I expected them to take. I had to learn that stuff wasn’t that important and wasn’t what made a house a home – the people in the house are what make it “home.”
I read James 1 with our children this morning. I never get tired of reading Scripture – and this passage speaks to me so clearly every time I read it:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Trials, all kinds of trials ,test our faith – financial hardships, family trouble, spiritual problems, health problems, natural disasters, people’s sin against us, war, delays, accidents, conflicts, backed up plumbing, work problems, unemployment… All the problems we face are tools in the hands of God to chisel and refine us and to make us more godly and holy in His sight.
Trials reveal our sin. They bring to light our true motives. They expose our deepest priorities. They show our real character.
As we are tested and our faith and character is refined, we develop greater godly character and we develop perseverance.
PERSEVERANCE (from www.dictionary.com):
- steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
Perseverance works in us to create spiritual maturity and to equip us to be holy and complete in Christ. These goals are much more important to God than our temporary happiness. He wants us to be mature and complete, lacking nothing in Him. He wants us to be equipped and totally ready for spiritual battle. He wants us to be like Christ.
What trials are you facing today?
My prayer is that we might look at our current trials and rejoice in God about them! Let’s anticipate how God plans to use these trials to lead us to greater Christlikeness and maturity.
1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
Impatience leads me to so many sins:
- a desire to control things myself and force things to happen “my way”
- anger – which leads to my temper flaring and me losing self-control with my words, actions, motives, thoughts, tone of voice and body language
- lack of faith in God
- lack of gratitude
- pride – thinking my timing is better than God’s
When I am patient, I don’t have to vie for control or try to force things to happen sooner or try to make things turn out the way I think they should. I seek God’s will above my own and I wait on Him in total faith and trust.
Patience is an attribute of God. It is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is also something we learn as we pass through trials and as we spiritually mature. Patience is a huge key to peace. If I am impatient, and I demand what I want NOW, I cannot have the peace of God. I cannot be content with what God has provided for me. I cannot have a thankful, joyful spirit and not have patience. It’s fine for me to desire things intensely – particularly things that God desires to happen – someone’s salvation, reconciliation of a marriage, many to come to Christ, our children to be godly people, etc… But then, we can lay these desires and burdens at God’s feet and wait patiently before the Lord, trusting His sovereignty and His timing to be much more wise than our own.
When I have patience, I am able to joyfully wait on God. I am able to joyfully be content with what I have. I am able to relinquish control, trusting God’s sovereignty. I am able to respect God and my husband because I know that God is ultimately going to work out all things for my good, to make me more like Jesus, so I don’t have to freak out when things don’t seem to be going “right.” I am able to be thankful to God, have a heart full of praise for God and I don’t feel any need to grumble, argue or complain. I wait expectantly before God with great faith and anticipation of all that He is going to do in my life and through this hardship. This brings great glory to our Father in heaven and to Christ as our husbands, children, coworkers, neighbors and family members watch us respond with patience, joy, faith, thanksgiving, praise, peace and contentment in the midst of our struggles and trials – they will be confused and curious and they will want to experience the power of the God who can produce this beautiful fruit in our souls in times of great crisis.
Others will pay so much more attention to our faith and our testimony when we are speaking from the midst of a fiery trial. Our words have infinitely more weight and impact when we continue on in faith, joy, hope, peace, love, kindness, patience and gentleness during our fiercest storms.
What does God’s Word say about patience?
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. Proverbs 25:15
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:12
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5
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. I Corinthians 13:4-8a
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-13
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. II Corinthians 6
In Part 1, we talked about the beginning stages of the journey to becoming a godly wife
- The Frustrating Quiet Phase
- Seeking God First (tearing out idols and making Christ Lord)
Today, let’s continue on… But please know that these stages are not always linear. We cycle through some of them over and over again at times as we grow. Some of them happen at the same time. This is a refining process. We stumble at times. We may not always be moving forwards. That is normal. But we continue to repent, get back up, seek God first and desire to obey Him above all else. This is a LONG journey of many thousands of miles that we walk by foot. It is not an instant thing. You will not be the most godly wife in 1 day or 1 week or 1 month. This is a process of many, many months and years.
5. GIVING HIM SPACE
Giving our husbands more space is not usually a permanent phase in some ways. It is possible it could be a long term thing, but once your husband begins to approach you and close that gap – then it is time to find a new balance and level of connection.
- The permanent part is that we don’t make them idols again – as soon as we notice we are feeling disappointed in them, we check our motives to be sure we are only seeking our contentment in Christ, not in our husbands.
At first, we may give a little “too much space” – but that is ok. It is important for us to do this, in my view, as we spend more time with God and try to learn and figure out how to stop disrespect and control and how to begin to be respectful and learn to be godly followers.
Giving more space is part of tearing out the idols of “trying to control our husbands,” “wanting to feel loved” and “wanting them to meet the needs we have that only Christ can meet” as well as our idols of “romance.”
If you had been smothering your husband, constantly calling/texting/emailing, expecting him to call/text/email/pursue you… if you have been pursuing him constantly and are being rejected often – then you may need to give him space so that he can breathe and begin to hear God’s voice himself again and so that you can be sure he has the freedom to make his own decisions.
6. FEELING TOTALLY OVERWHELMED
Eventually, every wife feels overwhelmed in this process – not just once – but many times. This can happen at any point along the way.
When you feel this way. It is actually a good thing! It usually means that
- it is a flag that you are attempting to do this in your own strength
- you may be allowing perfectionism to take over (that is an idol in and of itself, too!)
- you may be trying to tackle too much at once – there is only so much you can learn and change at one time usually
- you NEED Christ to be able to do this!!!!!! Discouragement, discontentment and frustration are signals to set our eyes back on Jesus.
So, it’s time to slow down, breathe, and focus on Jesus.
- You are going to basically have to “eat an elephant” on this journey. You can’t do it all in one day or one week or one month.
- Absorb what you can.
- Allow God to change you.
- Take a nap if you are exhausted
- Take a break from studying about respect and biblical submission for a few days or a week or two as you regroup, but continue with Bible study and prayer and submitting fully to Christ.
- Focus on a few things at a time. If possible, you can ask your husband for the 3 biggest things he’d like you to stop doing and the 3 biggest things he’d like you to start doing. Don’t argue. Don’t justify yourself or explain why you were doing what you were doing before. Thank him for his wisdom and insights and then get to work focusing on those things. He may need a few days to think about those things, that is ok. If he can’t verbalize what he needs, you can look at the lists at the top of my home page about what is disrespectful and respectful and begin to tackle those. Some wives print out the lists and ask their husbands to check the things that would be the most meaningful to them.
- If you are doing this in your own strength or you find ungodly motives or idols, repent and fix your eyes back on Christ
7. LEARNING TO USE WORDS AND EMOTIONS TO BLESS – coming out of the quiet phase
As we get better at NOT saying the negative sinful things, we can also begin to learn to speak this new language of respect. We begin to learn to use words that genuinely and sincerely affirm, encourage, praise, build up and bless. We are beginning to be able to speak with wisdom and discretion and to know when it is best to be silent and how and when to use words to edify.
This is going to feel foreign and awkward. Much like learning to speak a new language. At first, you will want to go back to your “native language” of disrespect because it feels normal and natural. But, in time, as you practice this new language, eventually it will feel normal and natural and your old sinful language will feel awkward and foreign and awful!
We still may not talk as much as we used to when we were stressed, worried, afraid, trying to control everything. But we begin to find beautiful things to talk about, good things, and we begin to verbalize our positive feelings:
- I’m so glad you are here
- I love being your wife
- I feel so full of joy today
- I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am
- I feel like the happiest woman on the planet!
- I love spending time with you
- Thanks for listening to me
- Thanks for eating supper with the kids and me
- I appreciate how hard you work and how well you provide for us.
- I love your strong work ethic
- Thank you for your godly influence on our children
- Thank you for being such an involved, loving father
- I appreciate your wisdom and your willingness to share your ideas with me
- Thank you for your leadership
By the way – I began to thank Greg for his leadership long before he began to lead. I stepped down first. I began to thank him for carrying the weight of responsibility, accountability before God and leadership before God in our marriage. I thanked him for carrying that weight that was too heavy for me. I told him I trusted him to lead us. I told God I trusted Him to lead me through Greg and if God wanted me to do something, He would figure out how to lay it on Greg’s heart. I told God I would not run ahead or take control anymore but just wait on God and Greg to lead me. I told God I would be content to wait right there until I was 80 years old if I had to, but I was going to follow Greg, not lead anymore.
This involves A LOT of waiting. I was pretty awful at waiting and possibly one of the most impatient people on the planet before. But, thankfully, there is much to learn in the waiting and, eventually, waiting becomes sweet.
8. FINDING CONTENTMENT IN CHRIST ALONE
We begin to recognize disappointment, discontent and negative feelings as flags to help us evaluate our motives and set our eyes back on Christ to find our joy.
We lay down our desires, our dreams, our plans, our goals, everything we have, everything we are, our wisdom, our lives – at Jesus’ feet. We nail our old sinful nature to the cross to die with Christ and to be buried with Him. We give Him all that we are. We are “living sacrifices” for Him every day. We learn to say in sincerity in every area of our lives, “Not my will but Yours be done.”
We put on our new self in Christ. Then, we pick up Jesus’ desires, His dreams, His plans, His goals, His priorities, His wisdom, His identity, His heavenly riches and we seek His greatest glory. This becomes the focus of our lives.
Now, our lives are all about Jesus, not about us.
- We do lose our old sinful selves. We die to that old self. (Eph 4:20-24, Romans 6:6, Galatians 5:24)
- But we gain our new selves in Christ. We put on “the new man” in Christ.
10. DEVELOPING A GRATEFUL HEART
We focus on Philippians 4:8 and on being thankful in everything.
- 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.
We focus on obeying God’s command in Philippians 2:14-16 to do all things without complaining or arguing. Complaining comes from an ungrateful spirit. That does not ever honor God. Arguing comes from pride – thinking I am always right. We focus now on humility and thankfulness as we learn to praise God in every situation and trust His sovereignty and His wisdom not our own.
- Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Phil.2:14-16
We learn to look for the good and focus on the good in our husbands and in life in general.
We begin to speak up about the things we are thankful for, the things that are good, the things we admire, the things we see that are beautiful and praiseworthy in our husbands, in our children, in those around us, in our day, in life – and we begin to become genuinely thankful women.
The sinful thoughts happen less and less frequently and when they do pop up, we recognize them more quickly and know how to shoot them down and not dwell on them when we have God’s Spirit empowering us.
The only way to truly become a godly wife is to allow God to change your mind, heart and soul completely. A big part of this is learning to capture each thought and evaluate it against the truth of God’s Word and reject sinful thoughts, only holding on to the godly, biblical thoughts.
This means you will have to recognize your thoughts. For me, I had to write down the “tapes” that would play over and over in my head. Then I had to compare what I was saying to myself with God’s Word. I had to replace the lies and sin with the truth of God’s Word.
Eventually, the sinful “tapes” stop playing in our minds all the time. The worry, resentment, fear, bitterness, etc… go away as we kick them out and as we replace those thoughts with meditating on God’s Word, memorizing scripture, meditating on worship songs that exalt Christ…
One day, you realize that there is no constant chatter going on in your head and that you are not worrying anymore – and there is this amazing calm in your soul – God’s peace!
God is REALLY addictive! In the BEST way! You will want to do anything to keep God’s peace flowing in your heart. We can do this by staying in God’s Word, seeking Him first, repenting of every sin as soon as we are aware of it, and focusing on learning more about God’s sovereignty and being thankful.
12. FEELING DISCOURAGED BECAUSE YOUR HUSBAND “ISN’T CHANGING”
When our husbands don’t change right away, we can easily think, “Respect doesn’t work on my husband.” But this long time of focusing on becoming a godly wife while not seeing changes in our husbands is often good for us. God refines our motives during this time.
As soon as you think, “Why should I do all this work and he doesn’t have to do anything?!?!” or “Why should I have to change first?” Let that be your flag to remember why you are doing this.
- You are doing this to please and honor and obey Christ. You are doing this to bless your husband.
If these are not our only motives, there is work to do in prayer. It is a good thing to desire a healthy marriage and close intimacy with our husbands. But our ultimate goal must be Christ!
God and your husband will handle your husband. Husbands will not instantaneously change in most cases. That’s ok. We can decide to accept, love, respect and honor our husbands as they are right now – even if they never change. That is the kind of love God desires us to have toward everyone. We learn to love unconditionally and respect unconditionally just because God asks us to, not because we think the other person “deserves it” or because we will get something in return.
This is a fantastic opportunity to commit yourself to obeying God’s commands for you as a wife no matter what your husband does or does not do. And it is a great chance to learn to love with the unconditional agape love of God. It is also quite a peek into God’s heart to see how He loves us even when we don’t love Him in return.
This is also a good chance to look to see if there are still ways you may be unintentionally disrespecting your husband (tone of voice, pressuring him to do things, body language, scowling, sighing, rolling your eyes, etc…)
STAGES OF THIS JOURNEY
Nina Roesner’s description of stages of this journey to become a godly wife