One Wife Reports in 30 Days into Her Journey

This wife is SO VERY PRECIOUS to me!  We have spent a lot of time hashing through questions, issues, confusion and troubling emotions the past few weeks together.  And I can see God at work so powerfully in her.  I appreciate her willingness to share her story.  I think her perspective might be extremely helpful to other wives who are just beginning their journey towards committing to obey God to respect and submit to their husbands.  This is a LONG journey – a lifetime commitment to do things God’s way regardless of our feelings and regardless of our husbands’ response.  First – God changes us.  First, we have to be convicted of our own sin and then VERY BROKEN and humble.  And this is HARD.  It feels like contortion and goes against our own wisdom and the world’s wisdom diametrically.  But thankfully, God often gives us little victories along the way.  That is VERY helpful to keep up the motivation!  Enjoy her story!
FROM A WIFE
I have finished Feminine Appeal.  It was a good book.  (From Peacefulwife – I LOVE that book!)  I think the point that stuck out to me (thinking back on the argument my husband and I had a month ago over working/chores/housework that sent me searching the internet for help) was that God called WOMEN to be keepers of the home  (Titus 2:5)… and to manage the home (1 Timothy 5:4).  Not once did he command men to take care of a home.  I had never thought about that before…. and he commanded men to work, not women  (Genesis 3:17 and 1 Timothy 5:8).  Now, I still believe it is wonderful for my husband to help me when I need help and he wants to but I also see that it is MY responsibility to care for our home.  I am still working and plan to continue- but I work from home and can put in 1 hour or 100 so it is very flexible for me to work around my family and be available for them.   I just had never really thought about what the bible said on that subject until it was brought to my attention through reading this book.
And I have done some clothes shopping in the last few weeks with modesty in mind (she had asked her husband about her wardrobe, and he asked her to dress more modestly recently)  which meant I have been careful to choose tops that have higher necklines and skirts that have a longer hemline.  I admit that it was a bit hard to bypass the sexy little tops but I keep remembering when my husband told me, “When you dress like that then you are advertising,” and I am not advertising!  I am taken!  By shopping for more modest clothing, it has gave me more of a sense of belonging to my husband, and made me feel closer to him.  That may not make sense… I am not quite sure how to say what I mean… but I think you will get the point.  It is a lovely feeling to know that he doesn’t want anyone else to see what belongs to him.
I am having good days and bad in my quest to follow God’s instructions for wives.
Once in the last week, my husband said something that hurt my feelings and I told him in very simple words. “You hurt my feelings when you said ______” and he immediately apologized.  I was nervous that I would have to leave the room if he didn’t and then we might be not speaking for hours but thankfully he responded sweetly and I was happy that handling a minor conflict went easily and was over in the space of two sentances.  (That will probably be most wives’ experience, that the more they practice respect and submission, the fewer and fewer conflicts there are, and they are much more easily resolved when they do happen!)
Also, although alot of this is NOT natural yet – it is getting to be very natural to say “Whatever you think”, “Whatever you think is best, sweetheart” and “I trust your decision” which is wonderful!  I am thankful one part of this is becoming a part of me instead of such a stretch!  Hopefully in time all of it will become more natural.
And though my husband has always been loving and used endearments when he speaks with me,  he has started using terms of endearment I had not heard in a very long time. Pet names he had only been using extremely rarely are now almost daily occurances. 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This is a process.  It is a lifetime commitment to obey God and seek Him first and do things His way.  Our motives are because we long to please God – NOT because we want our husbands to love us more.  It is REALLY important to have the right motives here or you will be stuck and very frustrated.

It takes time for God to change our hearts.  This is not an instant thing.  His power works in us – but we also must do a lot of hard work ourselves.  You are welcome to share your story about learning to respect and submit to God and your husband!  I’d love to share your story, too.  

Let me know if you have questions  – I will do my best to point you to Christ and His Word!

 

Waiting on the Lord

Today’s guest post is by Lindsey Watson at Runningincircles.   Thank you for sharing!  Praying for a healthy delivery and healthy mama and baby!

There are tons of verses in the Bible about waiting on the Lord.  I know, because I found them and “claimed” them all when I was single and worrying about my biological clock ticking away while God dilly-dallied around with bringing me Mr. Right, or even Mr. Remotely Interested.

I suspect I’m not the only one who’s ever felt this way, because there’s lots of art for sale at LifeWay that illustrates these “waiting” verses, and “waiting” has been the subject of many popular Christian songs that have played on the radio over the past ten years.

We sang one of the many “waiting” songs at church on Sunday, and it got me thinking about this topic again.  I’m in those tedious, anxious final weeks of pregnancy, so it’s timely for me to take a closer look at what is true (and what isn’t) about what it means to wait on God and his timing.

1.  He’s not a fickle companion.

My least favorite of Christian Waiting Songs begins, “I will run to the cleft of the mountain and wait for You/Will You come meet with me?”  It is completely opposite of everything that is true of God and of us to suggest that we show up and then invite him to join us.  It’s absurd to imagine that we’re ever the first to arrive at the restaurant, and that we’re sometimes left at the table wondering if God is going to stand us up like an inconsiderate blind date or that scatterbrained friend who forgot she said she’d meet you for lunch.

God is always, always the initiator and the faithful party in his relationship with us.  Moses didn’t “run” to the cleft of the mountain, God put him there.  The story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal reminds us that our God does not need to be summoned with shouting or holy displays, that he never turns off his phone to sleep or go to the bathroom.  He’s the constant, and we’re the ones who fail to draw near.

2.  Waiting is not wasting time.

Nothing is more frustrating than what feels like pointless waiting.  The other day I went to the wrong department of the hospital and sat for an hour before realizing that the tech I needed to see was down the hallway, wondering where I was.  Sometimes traffic crawls due to lane closures for “construction” even when there are no bulldozers or workers present.  I have to bite my tongue when someone gets to the front of the line at Starbucks without any idea what she wants to drink, and we all stand there while she sorts through her various options with the barista.

But God, being omnipresent, omniscient, and outside the confines of time, is an accomplished multitasker.  We’re never sidelined in a plastic chair while he attends to something more pressing.  If he has not given us something we’re “waiting for,” it’s because it’s not the right time for it yet.  From my perspective, these last six weeks of waiting for Baby feel pointless.  (Weren’t we “viable” two months ago? Six more weeks of fattening for both of us just seems indulgent.)  But I got to peek into the workshop again last week, to see all the little parts that God is knitting together, and I was reminded of how many little details are still coming together.  His little diaphragm is still learning how to breathe in and out.  His little bones are still hardening so he’ll be strong enough to push out of my body and then not get squished under his sister’s loving affections.  His organs are getting close to ready, but aren’t quite mature enough for independent functioning.

It’s easy to track this in hindsight, too.  I know now why God didn’t bring me “Mr. Right” when I was twenty and impatient.  Like the baby inside me, I still had some growing to do.  (And so did Mr. Right, for that matter.)   Why hasn’t God given a baby to our friends who struggle with infertility?  Why doesn’t he send rain to Africa?  Why hasn’t Jesus just come back already to set it all right?

The Bible reminds us that when we perceive that God is being slow to fulfill his promises, the truth is that he is simply working in ways that we do not yet see or understand.  What looks to us like carelessness or tarrying is actually his patience, his wisdom, the fact that circumstances are more complicated than we realize.  We have not been been forgotten or set on the back burner: we…and others…and even creation are being prepared for what lies before us when the time is exactly right.

3.  Waiting is not Idleness.

As I wait for this baby to arrive, I’m passing the time with some serious nesting.  I’m stocking away meals in the freezer.  I’m cleaning out closets, vacuuming behind the AC vents, taking unused clutter to Goodwill, organizing our digital photos and movies.  I’m also trying to take every opportunity to listen to Abby’s stories, linger over Play-Doh, snuggle in the big chair as we watch Dora.  In other words, there’s plenty to do in this season of “waiting” that I won’t be able to do when the time is up.

When I was in high school, I frequently heard the song “Closing Time” on the radio that reminded me that “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”  And while it’s a deep thought for a song about having to leave a bar at the end of the night, it’s true none the less.  So however exciting the beginning is that we anticipate, it also means the loss of certain opportunities.  So whether I’m waiting for the doctor to arrive at my exam room, for the onset of labor pains, for Jesus to appear in the clouds, my challenge is to wait purposefully, thoughtfully, productively, expectantly.

Because at some point, the waiting will be over, and when it is, I want to be ready.

A Wife Answers My Question

Here is a really fascinating email I received last week from a wife.  I know you are going to love hearing her story.  Be prayerful and alert for anything God may want to speak to YOUR heart as you read her message.

I want to start with a huge thank you for your ministry.  I stumbled onto
your blog about six weeks ago and it truly has changed my/our marriage.  I saw your Facebook request for comments from a wife who has learned to respect a husband that has more defined standards and desires control of home decisions.  I have to smile because my husband and I were just discussing this last night…I think I just might qualify:)

A LITTLE HISTORY

I have been on this journey now for almost two years…my journey to being a peaceful wife began a little differently than yours.  My husband and I went through a very difficult time about four years ago.  He is a small business owner and the recession hit us very hard.  We were newly married (three years in ) and had just had our second child.  It was rough…our marriage remained intact but I think, or I should say now I know we both retreated to our own corners instead of growing closer together.

I adore my husband, he is an incredible man – but when it came to family issues I really did think I was more qualified than he to direct.  So at this time not only was my husbands professional life spinning out of control but so was his personal life due to my sudden pressure to take control of our household and new family.  I am a cradle Catholic that had very little understanding of my faith and even littler understanding of the Bible.  We stopped going to church and forged forward.  I convinced my husband to have a vasectomy in the Fall of 2009, I remember telling him and others that there was no way I could ever handle another baby, I basically had three already, having to take care of him also.  It makes me physically ill to even think of saying this of him now.

MY FAITH JOURNEY

Ok so to make a long story short, two years ago I found my way back to the Catholic church and have embraced my faith like never before.  I am in awe of the churches teaching on sexuality, marriage and families.  However with this new found understanding has come pain and suffering. Yes I know I am forgiven, I went to confession and confessed our
decision of the vasectomy but is this what it is really all about.  My own forgiveness.  What about the grace our love making  will never again experience?  What about the loss of the souls that we might have conceived?  What about the potential of our family and love that
will never be achieved?

A STICKING POINT

So this is where I was six weeks ago before finding your blog….our marriage was back on track to a point.  However what I did not realize is that the devil was still lurking in the shadows.  I had taken on a new role….to convince/pressure my husband with all my being to have his vasectomy reversed.  I want to fix the evil we committed and since I had God on my side I have been badgering him like no other.  God had tried in the past 18 months to show me how wrong I was…our priest told me, “(Your husband) will not tolerate your nagging, it will just push him further away.”  My husband had actually said to me, “The more you push me the more I close my heart to all of it.”  (all of it being not just the vasectomy reversal but his own faith journey.)  Oh, but I had God on my side so watch out there was no stopping me….

And then I found your blog…it was like a cold slap in the face.  The way you have presented the  husband’s role as the role of Christ and the (wife’s role as the role of the) Church is almost blinding.  I get it!!

I was a road block for my husband for the past 18 months instead of his helpmate.  I now understand why when he considers possibly having another baby with me it makes him shudder…why would he want that (old me) back?   My husband is very aware of his shortcomings, he knows that things were rough four years ago but until recently he truly put most of the blame on himself.  I was the strong one that kept everything together, the perfect mom and wife supposedly helping his sorry self stumble along.  I have apologized to him multiple times in the past six weeks for the role that I played in his despair four years ago.    We are still new at this though.  My husband is a believer but an independent one of sorts.  I so want him to prayer with me daily but am scared to even ask….I just do not know if he is ready yet.

He takes he role as a father, husband and provider of our family very seriously and always has.  He is a man’s man.  We have both often questioned in the past few years where have all the men gone in this fallen world or ours.  I fills my heart with great hope and joy to think of what God may have planned for my husband…I just pray that I am able to be his helpmate on he faith journey and not a road block.

SUBMITTING TO AND RESPECTING A MAN WITH EXACTING STANDARDS

Ok so now to actually comment on your Facebook post….for an overachiever like myself meeting my husband’s standards with an open heart has actually been self motivating in sort….prior to understanding my role, my husband’s standards seemed unfair and overbearing.  We have been together for 14 years –  it seriously has taken my husband 13.5 years to trust me to do his laundry because he likes his shirts/pants folded just a certain way.  I have, in the past, just thrown my hands up and said he was being irrational….now I listen to what he is asking and I have come to realize it really is not that much  more than I am already doing it is just a little different.  My husband is a fanatic about having the kitchen clean….at all times…even in the middle of meal preparation:)  I on the other hand am kind of a messy cook…I clean in the end and that is good enough.  This was a very sour point in my husband’s day because he would come home from a long day at work and typically find me in the midst of a kitchen full of boiling water, empty cans, and half cut up vegetables. (I also like to consider myself a multitasker so I may be in the middle of three different recipes, have over the entire neighborhood for a play date and be just finishing up cleaning out the pantry!!)  In the past I have often just left it with a deal with it…I am getting things done. 

A HUGE CHANGE

In the past six weeks, I have taken a different approach.  I have moved up my dinner prep time and will typically have the kids fed prior to my husband coming home.  The kids are of course thrilled to see Daddy and now will greet him for a few minutes but know that it is Daddy’s quiet time.  They have learned to play in their rooms, I have relaxed on the screen time restrictions (actually I have adjusted the screen time allowance…meaning I limit their time during the day more, so in the evening my husband does get a little more quiet time to unwind without the kids jumping all over him)  I have candles lit, music on, the fireplace going and the kitchen clean.  I am ready to give him my full attention as he discusses his day and will typically sit and massage his feet while he unwinds.  (I am a physical therapist by education so I have in the past provided massage to my patients but never even considered it for my husband)

Ok I know some may say…really does he deserve all that prep…he does.  He works so hard and we appreciate all he does, it has only been recently that I have come to understand how to show him.

MY HUSBAND’S RESPONSE

He has thanked me repetitively and has said, “You really do not need to do this. I know you have other things to get done.”  He has stated numerous times how he feels like pinching himself he can’t believe how happy he is coming home.  Now don’t get me wrong this is not a man that dreaded coming home before but now it is just different.  He no longer has to worry about what multitasking explosion he may walk into, how long he will have to sit next to our three year old and beg her to eat her dinner as she is trying to dance around the dining room (seriously it can take her 45 minutes to eat dinner at times).  I think at this point he is still not sure if this will last.

If you would ask any of our friends/neighbors they would probably
tell you that my husband’s position of the head of our family has never been doubted…which is true to some point.  However before I think he felt somewhat guilty about taking this role and still is not sure of my respect/appreciation.  I have in the past given it but much more begrudgingly.

MY MESSAGE

I guess this is my recommendation for every wife out there embrace your role has your husband’s helpmate.  Take pride in the managing of your home.  If you strive to meet the expectations of the workforce/your boss to move up the corporate ladder previously treat your home in the same manner…strive to meet the expectation of your husband.  I am humbled and honored to have been blessed with the opportunity to serve my husband and children on this Earth.  God knew what he was doing when he led me to this man. But what I have come to realize is it was not as I had previously thought….I am not leading my husband down the right path.  He is leading me.

God knew that it would take one strong man to stand up to my self righteousness.  If it was anyone but this man- I would have walked all over them without even realizing it.  I have never meant to be so controlling.  I did not realize I had such a problem with
respecting authority until recently.  I was the authority.

Where do I go from here? ….pray pray pray…..this past year has been the first time I can honestly say I have been open to the Holy Spirit working in my life and actually giving the credit due where it is owed.  It is hard at times for me to be patient to see the path.  I have always run through life at full speed…set a goal and strive for that goal to set another…now to sit back and be led is very difficult.  I want to make the plans and set out to complete them…but instead I am  praying for my husband and following his lead.  My husband is one of the good guys.  He is a natural leader and full of charisma that can light up a room if allowed.  I want more than anything to be his helpmate and encourage him to reach his
fullest potential…to reach our family’s fullest potential.  I pray that I am no longer standing in his way of following our Savior home.

Thank you again for your ministry.  I hope that the above helps.  Keep us in your prayers.

God is Changing this Husband through His Wife's Submission to Christ!

This is an email from a dear wife who needs to have surgery for a potentially life-threatening condition.  But her husband was hesitating about paying for the surgery.  I LOVE seeing what God does when we leave room for Him to speak to our husbands!  This is so much better than anything this wife could have forced her man to do!

You would not believe what happened last night, when my husband got home from working late.

He came in with what looked like tears in his eyes, and very quietly asked if I could come sit with him for a moment. I followed him to the couch where he took my hand, and he prayed. He thanked God for me as his wife, and asked God to show us what He has in store for us, trusting in God’s provision, and he asked forgiveness for “coming across unloving” to his wife. Then when he was done he asked for my forgiveness.

At this point I was already bawling, lol.

He said “I don’t know what the future holds for us, I don’t know how we are going to get from point A to point B and point C. But I know that I want you on my team, I want us to be a team and work together, and I think God is going to do something amazing.

He said that he had a rotten day at work because all he could think about was that his girl thought he wanted a vehicle more than he wanted her. He said that no car is as important to him, and that he wants us to work on coming up with a plan together, that he is willing to look at financing the car, and paying for surgery outright. He said he wants to talk with my PCP with me again, and asked me to make an appointment, so I am going to do that today.

Well, what can a girl possibly say to that? Other than to fall in his arms? The day started pretty rough, and it was rough in the middle, but it ended really, really well!

I asked him what happened at work today, because he was a different person coming home than when he left.  He said it just weighed on his mind all day, the conversation we had had. I know that must have been God, able to get through to him when I wasn’t all up in his grill like I used to be, because a year ago it would have been a very different conversation, on both sides!

By the end of the night as we cuddled, he laughed and said “Boy I am sure glad we have learned how to fight fair!”, meaning, how to stop the crazy cycle.

I don’t know how it will all work out, but I can easily and cheerfully submit to such a wonderful husband. I know God calls me to submit to even a difficult, mean husband, but thankfully that is not at all what I have.

Thank you for your prayers! My prayers generally don’t work that fast, lol. I hear you loud and clear that he needs respect, especially in the area’s of being the provider/money manager. I am going to be thinking about how to better express that to him, in ways that he needs to hear it. I have a lot more respect and admiration for someone who makes less money, but is investing his time into his family, his children, his church, his friends, and his community. I need to make sure he hears that early and often.

What Does God Say about Me?

Let’s just look at Romans through chapter 8.  There are obviously thousands of other promises and things that God says about us in the Bible.  But here are some of the most basic and foundational tenets of Scripture upon which we may build our lives, hope and faith with confidence.  It is time to tear out all that is ungodly in our thinking and build on the foundation of Christ and His Word alone.  HERE is my hope!  THIS is my identity!  THIS is my strength!  HERE is my power and purpose in life!

  • I am a sinner in desperate need of the gift of Christ.  I cannot earn favor with God.  I can’t be good enough.  My efforts at being good are THOUSANDS OF MILES off target.  There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.  Romans 3:11-12  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:23
  • God is interested in my FAITH in what Jesus did for me.  His work on the cross for me and His resurrection (and my receiving His gift) is the only thing that makes me right with Him.  When a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.  However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.  Romans 4:4-5
  • Jesus paid my sin debt in full.  I owed Him infinitely more than I could never pay.  The words, “it was credited to him (Abraham)” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.  He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.  Romans 4:23-25
  • I have peace with God!  I have access to grace!  ME!?!?!?!?!  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  Romans 5:1-2
  • When I hated God, Jesus died for me.  How much more will He do for me now that I love and serve Him as Lord!?!?   For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life?  Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have received reconciliation (with God).  Romans 5:10-11
  • Jesus alone has the power to make me right with God.  I can trust Him.  He is God, He is not a man that He should lie.  When God is satisfied with what Jesus did on my behalf, who on earth am I to question if Jesus’ blood was adequate to cover my sin?  Am I above God?  For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Jesus) the many will  be made righteous.  Romans 5:19
  • I am dead to sin when I am living for Christ and trusting Him for my salvation.  We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Romans 6:2-3  Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Romans 6:11
  • I am not a slave to sin anymore.  I am a slave to righteousness!  I am FREE from the power of sin and death!  He is my Master.   Our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.  Romans 6:6-7   Sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.  Romans 6:14   You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.  Romans 6:18
  • God desires me to live for Him and bear fruit for Him, fruit that will last.  God has beautiful purposes for me – to bring Him great glory and praise!  So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
  • I am not condemned by God!  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law (salvation by my own efforts) was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so He condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.  Romans 8:1-4
  • I can have supernatural life and peace!  Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.  You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.  Romans 8:5-9
  • I am a daughter of the King of kings and Lord of lords!  I have no reason to fear! I am a co-heir with Christ!  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by Him we cry, “Abba, (Daddy).” … Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.  Romans 8:15-17
  • There are great rewards coming in heaven for me that will make the suffering of this life look like nothing!  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  Romans 8:18
  • I am not in this alone, I have a strong Helper.    The Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express…. the Spirit intercedes for the saints (those who love Christ) in accordance with God’s will.  Romans 8:26-27
  • I cannot lose!  I will be victorious regardless of past, current or future circumstances or suffering!  God purposes to make me be more and more like Christ.  God knew me from the beginning of time.  He called me by name.  He made me right with Himself through Jesus.  He will glorify me one day in heaven.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.  For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son… and those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.  What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He Who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:28-32
  • I am accepted.  I will never be abandoned.  I am safe and secure in my Lord’s love!  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35,37-39

The Snare of People-Pleasing

We are continuing our series about ways that controlling people try to control others.  You can check out the posts about control and boundaries, the trying to manipulate others with guilt, and playing the martyr from earlier in the week.  Today’s topic is how we sometimes try to manipulate others and maintain control by being  people-pleasers.

Is “peace” at any cost a good thing?  Is it really peace?

PEOPLE PLEASING

Being a “People-Pleaser” SOUNDS like a virtue, right?    I mean, isn’t it great to try to make everyone be happy with you and not have people angry at you?  The Bible says we are supposed to live in peace as far as it depends on us, after all.  It is easy for people-pleasers to take certain scriptures and believe that what we are doing is godly. But often, we have a very warped definition of love and we trust self more than God and feel we have to be “in charge,” not understanding God’s sovereignty and not submitting fully to Christ as Master.

Here is a list (from Vickie Champion – a psychologist/life coach) of attributes of people pleasers. I have not researched her methods and approach.  So I am not endorsing her counseling techniques, but this list may be helpful.

Here are 52 Ways to Recognize the Chronic, Ingrained People Pleaser…

The perpetual people pleaser…

1   Always avoid conflicts or even disagreements.

2   Makes it a habit to say yes when he or she wants to say no.

3   Constantly worries about hurting others’ feelings.

4   Has no idea what their dreams or goals are.

5   Feels they are never “good” enough.

6   Would rather be nice and perfect than happy.

7   Functions totally from “shoulds.”

8   Assures they always do more than their share.

9   Rarely makes decisions, putting it off on anyone else to do it.

10  Is baffled by the concept, take it easy and relax.

11  Confuses being “needed” with being “loved.”

12  Has a never-ending time management problem.

13  Avoids giving themselves credit for anything.

14  Makes it a practice to please strangers and neglect loved ones.

15  Easily attracts people who need to be rescued and consoled.

16  Strongly believes they need to “do” something to be “loved” or even “accepted.”

17  Is very insecure about their abilities, knowledge or just about anything they do.

18  Routinely operates on auto pilot.

19  Jumps to volunteer, especially for jobs that no one else will do.

20  Feels exhausted from always trying to be “perfect.”

21  Has a huge fear of letting their friends, family and even strangers down.

22  Almost always feel undeserving.

23  Thinks nothing of telling lies to not rock the boat.

24  Overpromises.

25  Constantly seeks approval from others, but could care less about their own opinions.

26  Overapologizes.

27  Wastes time with people who really don’t care or consider their needs.

28  Think they are solely responsible for others’ happiness.

29  Are scared to death of being called selfish, even for an instant.

30  Rarely, if ever, asks for help or accepts help.

31  Constantly suppresses anger, fearing rejection.

32  Would much rather be nice than be real.

33  Has no desire to listen and follow their intuition.

34  Continuously holds back from saying what they really think and feel.

35  Often feels trapped.

36  Are scared to death of being wrong or taking any kind of risk.

37  Reduces their own anxiety by focusing on others’ needs.

38  Comes unglued easily when under pressure.

39  Has plenty of regrets.

40  Tries to provide and control everything in the relationship without considering their own feelings and needs.

41 Are willing to bend over backwards to make unhappy, self-centered, controlling people feel better about themselves.

42  Becomes paralyzed with little nightmares we make up about “if we said and did this, they will say and do that.”

43  Is extremely critical of themselves.

44  Has a really hard time accepting kindness from others.

45  Has poor problem-solving skills.

46  Is unable to direct or supervise others.

47  Feels guilty about not accomplishing enough or not being able to make everyone happy.

48  Runs on the praise and appreciation of other people.

49  Seldom, if ever, expresses an opinion of their own.

50  Is secretly terrified of being “found out” that they are not as good as they appear to others.

51  Displays a bland personality. They don’t want to appear interesting, unique, or challenging. Nope, too risky.

52  Wonders why everyone seems to take advantage of them and why they get little respect?

WAS I EVER A PEOPLE-PLEASER?

YEP!!!!!!!!!!  I sure was.  This mindset was another core part of my sinful heart and a big part of why I was controlling and disrespectful.  That probably seems contradictory that a people-pleaser would be a controlling and disrespectful wife.  But I was more concerned about pleasing strangers and people outside of my family than my husband.  I didn’t want my husband to be mad at me – EVER.  But I also didn’t realize that he actually was upset with me a lot because he didn’t say how he felt – he was so distant.

I was ALWAYS worried about what other people thought and would play conflicts over and over every waking moment for weeks and months trying to decide what I could have/should have said.

I thought if I was NICE enough and kind enough that I could keep people from being mad at me.  (Have you ever worked in a retail pharmacy?  Yeah.  This strategy got me some customer service awards, but it doesn’t work on everyone!  Some people are going to be angry at me.  It won’t matter what I do.  Well, if I gave them drugs illegally, they might be happy with me, but then I will have other problems!)

I was terrified of conflict. Lots, but not all, of the things on this list applied to me.

PEOPLE-PLEASING = IDOLATRY!!!!!

People pleasing is an insidious form of idolatry, unfortunately – and it brings a whole host of other sins along with it – as idolatry always does!  I white wash it and try to believe that my motives are pure – and that it is good not to ever have someone be upset with me.  But my true motives are not pure at all.  What I am really doing is:

  • putting the approval of others above the approval of God (and often above the approval of my husband).  This is idolatry!
  • fearing men (people) rather than fearing God in a proper, respectful, healthy way. I am allowing others to control me instead of making Christ truly Lord and Master.
  • attempting to have peace on a false premise (doing anything to prevent others from being upset) instead of on the truth of God’s Word (love God, love others).
  • I fear the anger of other people and base my behavior on avoiding the possibility of some person’s anger instead of living to honor God.
  • BEING DISHONEST.  I am not saying how I feel.  I am not saying what I want. I   am not saying what I don’t want and then I am resentful of other people for “making” me do what I don’t want to do.  Then I can’t forgive them for my feeling obligated to do things for them and am tied up with the sin of unforgiveness, too!  WHEW!
  • Unforgiveness may seem small – but it is a huge sin!  The Bible teaches that even allowing anger/resentment to continue over one night gives the enemy a foothold.  Imagine what happens when unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment take deep root and grow unchecked for YEARS!
  • avoiding saying “no” because I am not strong enough to say no to things I don’t want to do.  I am allowing others to be responsible for me instead of being responsible for myself before God.  That is poor stewardship and it won’t wash before our holy God!  He will hold me accountable for my own behavior, sins and actions.  He will hold others accountable for theirs.
  • instead of being arrogantly prideful – I am prideful in a false-humility kind of way.  I put myself down and feel unworthy and speak terrible things about myself in my mind and to others.  I do not believe God’s Word about who I am in Christ.  I do not acknowledge  that I am made in the image of God and am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I do not acknowledge that my purpose in life is to glorify God.  I do not allow God’s power to flood my soul and fill me to empower me to be the godly woman God has designed me to be.  I stay in a prison of my own making, feeling sorry for myself, wallowing in my unworthiness, wasting my true potential, burying my talents in the dirt.  I don’t really believe I am a daughter of the King,  and I go voluntarily sit in the dungeon instead of at the King’s table.
  •  I have not fully yielded my heart to Christ as LORD.
  • REFUSING TO HAVE FAITH IN GOD.
  • giving up my influence authority in my marriage by refusing to speak up about my desires, my needs, my wants and my perspective.  My marriage and family suffer when I don’t know my mind, don’t know my feelings, don’t know my desires and don’t share my important perspective.  How can my husband lead properly if I am not fulfilling my responsibilities and providing important information for him to make the best decisions?
  • refusing to have any dreams.   I do need to die to myself and live for Christ.  But when I am living for Christ, He will give me dreams, desires, goals and His will.  I will be full of life, zeal, purpose, joy, peace, love and all the fruit of the Spirit.
  • setting a very negative emotional/spiritual temperature for the family.  Everyone is affected by my depressed mood, my negativity, my hopelessness, my anxiety, my fear, my worry and my lack of God’s presence.
  • setting an ungodly example of femininity and marriage for my children.
  • idolizing “being nice” instead of loving God and loving people.
  • my motives are fear based, not love based.
  • avoiding obeying God’s Word about how to handle conflict  when I am sinned against. Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:16-18. I am to go to the person who sinned against me (NOT to other people in gossip!) and tell them their sin (gently, humbly, respectfully, lovingly and only after I have repented of any sin in my life).  If they do not listen, I am to take another believer with me as a witness and confront them gently, respectfully and lovingly – and if they will not listen to two people, the Bible says they are to go before the church and if they will not repent, they are to be shunned.  I don’t know many churches that actually practice church discipline anymore.  But, we can do the first few steps.  Unfortunately, most believers today think it isn’t “nice” or isn’t “Christlike” to confront people about sin.  NOT SO!  Love DOES confront sin.  Love does not allow sin to go on and on wounding everyone.  Yes, it is hard!  Yes, it is uncomfortable.  But it is our responsibility to confront sin AFTER we have confronted and repented of ALL sin in our own life first!

WASN’T JESUS “NICE”?

We tend to think that Jesus was a “nice” pushover and a wimp.  We do that because He allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified for us – which actually was an act of great strength, sacrifice and submission to God and not at all the act of a coward, pushover or wimp.  But look at the way He handled Himself with those who opposed God.  He was not “nice.”  He was to the point.  He was strong.  He was love.  He had endless courage.  He stood up for holiness.  He threw tables over in the temple to defend His Father’s house as a house of prayer.  He rebuked people when they were sinning and arrogant about it.  He rebuked self-righteousness and hypocrisy.  He was not “nice” and trying to make everyone like Him at all costs.  He didn’t shrink back from speaking the truth.  He wasn’t afraid to say what He believed and He didn’t say “yes” when he wanted to say “no.”  He never sinned in His anger.  But He did have anger.  He did confront when necessary.  He did not cower from standing for the truth and what was right.

And look at how He will come in the clouds when He returns as the triumphant King of kings and Lord of lords.  He will be on a white horse with a sword coming from His mouth and He will kill all of His enemies with one Word from His mouth.

He is a holy God.  He is just.  He is righteous.  He is ALL-POWERFUL.  He is sovereign.  He does not tolerate sin.  And at the same time, He is love.  He is mercy and grace.  What an incredible combination of strength, power and love.

Being “nice” is really not part of being Christlike.  It is culturally acceptable.  But you can be “nice” to someone as you seethe with resentment.  You can be “nice” as you stew about how much you hate them or hate what you are doing for them.  Being nice does not = being godly.  And I don’t believe that being “nice” has anything to do with what Christ has commanded us to do. The two greatest commandments are to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and we are to love others with God’s love. I John 4 says we cannot hate people and love God. And Jesus says in John 14:22-24 that anyone who loves Him will obey Him – in everything.

HOW TO SAY “NO.”

If someone is using guilt on you, THE WORST thing you can do is give the REASONS WHY you can’t do something.  They will almost always shoot down any reason and explain why that is not valid.  If you truly don’t want to do something, simply say, “I’m so sorry, I can’t.” And when they ask why, you just continue to say, “I can’t.”  Eventually, they will relent!

But it is also ok to just say

  • No, thanks!
  • I am not going to be able to do that.
  • Let me check with my husband first (if it is someone else asking for your time, money or efforts).

Remember – don’t get into a long drawn out debate or discussion with a controlling, emotional manipulator!  A brief answer of “no” that is pleasant and polite will suffice.  Then the other person is responsible for his/her reaction and emotions.

You cannot MAKE them be angry.  They choose to be angry or to hang on to anger.  That is their choice.  You do what is right in God’s eyes, and let other people handle their emotions.  Apologize if/when you sin against others, and try to live in peace.  But you are not responsible to make other people not angry or make them happy.  That is their own responsibility!

FREEDOM FROM PEOPLE-PLEASING

To be free from this idol.  I have to rip the idol out by the roots and be sure I am building only on the foundation of Christ and His Word.  I must build my life on His truth alone.  I completely repent of every sin.  I must face every fear and combat it with God’s truth, discarding all the lies.  I have to study God’s BIGNESS and sovereignty.  I must study how small I truly am.  I must see His power and my weakness.  He must become MORE and I must become less.  I totally yield my heart to His.  I give up my will for His.  I die to myself.  I live for Him as a living sacrifice every day.  I decide to fear God much, much more than I fear any person.  I decide to desire God’s approval WAY above any human’s approval.  And I decide to obey God’s Word and to abide in Him daily and feast on His Word and ask Him to fill me with His power to be the woman, wife and mother He desires me to be.

 

There is so much reason for HOPE!  Jesus is able to deliver us from the prison of being a people pleaser, or from being a martyr, or from being filled with worldly sorrow and guilt – from any sin.  And He is able to give us a life of joy, love, peace, patience and all the abundant spiritual riches of heaven!