Say “Thank You!”

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ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:

I have a busy week this week with our children home from school on a winter break and some extra work. I will get to emails and comments as I am able to.  I apologize in advance that I may not be able to be as prompt as I would like to be.  Thanks for your understanding and patience!  You are more than welcome to comment here.  I know many of you will encourage each other.  I love what an amazing group we have and how you support, respect, love and build up each other.  THANK YOU for that!  I am so grateful for each of you!!!!!!

THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE

I have another little challenge for you, ladies!  Last week was the SMILE challenge.  I’d love to hear some reports about how that has gone. 🙂

If your husband does something that blesses you, something that you benefit from in any way – THANK him.

Smile, have a friendly voice, thank him and maybe even give him a real hug, too!

I know, it’s crazy, right!?!?!!? 🙂

In a man’s world, spoken or visible appreciation is HUGE!  For your husband,  hearing “thank you” or “Great job, Honey!” may actually mean more to him than a long love letter from you or even the words, “I love  you.”

If you haven’t been thanking him – it may feel a bit awkward at first to thank your husband.  That’s ok!  You can do this!  Don’t expect anything back from him.  Just thank him because God commands us to “give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I Thessalonians 5:18

When should we thank our husbands?  Here are some of my suggestions for your consideration.  Don’t do all of these at once!  Spread them out.  Maybe do one every day or so, or thank him as he does some of these things.  Make it a new habit.  Be sincere.):

  • Thank him for working to provide for the family sometimes, even if you work too, even if you make more money than he does.  Most men view providing financially as the primary way they show love to their families. (From Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only”)
  • When he has had a particularly difficult day – THANK HIM for working so hard to take care of his family.
  • When he helps with the children.  Yes, they are his children, too, but it is a great thing to thank him for taking some of the burden off of you.  He is blessing you.  He could be at a bar or sitting in front of the TV ignoring the kids.  Even if he is doing something we think he “should” do, we can thank him and appreciate him. This encourages him to be more involved as a father.  Men respond to appreciation, admiration and genuine praise. It motivates them to do even better.  Aren’t we all like that, really?  Don’t we all want to do even more when someone shows real appreciation?
  • Thank him for complimenting you when he does and ACCEPT his compliments graciously.
  • ANYTIME he does any kind of chores around the house (thank him, don’t criticize him!  Especially if you would like him to continue to help  you!)
  • Thank him for his leadership, for carrying that weight in the family, even if he hasn’t started leading yet.  You can step down and allow him space and time to start leading, and you can thank him for his leadership.  There may even be ways he does try to lead that you could appreciate that you hadn’t noticed before.
  • Thank him when he gets something for you at the store.
  • Thank him any time he buys you something.  Thank him for his thoughtfulness and generosity!
  • Thank him for taking care of the yard or the cars or for fixing things around the house.  SMILE and thank him and tell him when he does a good job.  Avoid criticizing how he does things as much as possible.  Let him experience having a fully happy wife, a content wife.  That is every husband’s greatest dream!!!  To do something for his wife and for her to be completely satisfied with his efforts.
  • Thank him for taking you and your children to church if he does, or thank him for allowing you to go if he does not go with you.
  • Thank him for disciplining the children, stand behind his decisions as a father.
  • Thank him for being a great dad.
  • Thank him for being a wonderful husband.
  • Thank him for his strengths – his strong work ethic, his patience, his forgiving spirit, his eye for detail, his careful decision making, his responsible driving, his character, his integrity, his faith in Christ, his carefulness with money, etc…
  • Thank him for being faithful to his wedding vows to you if he has been.  “Honey, I just want to tell you that it means the WORLD to me that you have been faithful to me in our marriage.  Thank you for being a man of your word and for being a man of integrity.”
  • Thank him for being here with you and for the honor of being his wife.
  • Thank him for bringing fun into your life and family.
  • Appreciate his sense of humor.
  • Thank/appreciate him in front of your children often and in front of other people – this makes most husbands feel like they are on top of the world!
  • Thank him for the difference he makes in the world by doing a good job at his profession.
  • Thank him if he sends you a sweet text/email.
  • Thank him for coming home and being with you and the family.
  • Thank him for eating supper with you.
  • Thank him/appreciate him for having sex with you or cuddling with you.

HUSBANDS:

What would it mean to you for you to hear your wife say, “Thank you” for the things you do for her and your family?  How much does it mean to see her smile a real smile and to tell you how much she appreciates your efforts?  I would love to hear from you!

LADIES:

Let me know how things go!

A Wife’s Path to Peace

Couple in convertible

A wife’s response to  “But I’m right!  I’m the better leader.  I should be in charge.”

A SISTER IN THE LORD:

Wow.

I saw myself (thankfully how I used to be) in your post. I, too, saw myself as always right and the better person in my marriage. The fact that my husband and I have just celebrated our 30th anniversary is, first, because of God’s love and mercy, and second, because my husband is such a good, gracious man. For the last few years I have been learning more and more about how to be the woman God wants me to be. Your blog has so much God inspired wisdom. I truly thank you for sharing!

It feels so wonderful and, yes, PEACEFUL to release my death grip of control and relax in God’s and my husband’s care. I am truly feeling “the peace that passes all understanding.” My husband is smiling now and being sweeter to me more and more every day.

PEACEFULWIFE

Congratulations on celebrating your 30th anniversary! What a blessing! :)

I am so excited about what God is teaching you and all that He is doing in your heart.

Tell me something, please, many women in the early stages of this journey are terrified to give up control – looking back now – do you feel like you had to sacrifice anything that was actually valuable to do this God’s way? It sounds to me like it has been more than worth it to you. :)

I love that you are living in God’s supernatural peace and resting in His love and your husband’s love. I know I NEVER want to go back to my old ways of doing things! You could not PAY me to do that stuff anymore!

A SISTER IN THE LORD
The changes in me did not happen overnight. You speak of a journey. That is exactly what it is and the destination is personal joy and peace.

As far back as I can remember, being in control of my own life was prominent in my attitudes and actions. My father left my mother for another woman when I was five. I was home and witnessed the horrible verbal and physical fight that culminated in his squealing car tires as he left. I saw my Mom weeping and begging him not to leave. I guess this was my first lesson in self-reliance.

I’d never put myself in a position with anyone where I would need them so much I’d fall apart if or really WHEN they left.

I truly thought that self-reliance was evidence of personal strength and was a laudable trait. Asking for help was a sign of weakness. Being too attached to someone was just asking for trouble. I was saved by Christ and believed the Bible but I had no understanding of my own sin: arrogance, pride, and distrust of everyone INCLUDING God. I was blind to my own sin and was convinced I was better than most people.

This spilled over into my marriage in a poisonous tide. I “grabbed onto the steering wheel from the passenger seat” all the while thinking I knew better. And the most incredulous thing? I thought my husband would be pleased that I wasn’t a needy woman, that he would be happy that he didn’t have to see after me! Boy, oh, boy.

So, have I given up anything of value?

No, I think I have FOUND that treasure in a field that Jesus spoke of. I have traded my ashes for beauty. I have a growing relationship with Jesus that is real. I trust God to take care of me. My realization that I am as you said a “wretched sinner” was the best thing that ever happened to me! Because of this, the poisonous tide in my marriage has changed to the sweetest water. I am not perfect in this journey but I want my life to be a testimony to what following God’s plan can do in a marriage. My husband responded positively almost immediately to the changes in me. Where before he never mentioned God, now he occasionally reaches out to take my hand to pray over our meal. Where before he was sullen and absent, now he plans things for us to do TOGETHER.

But the greatest change has been in me.

I am calmer and more joyful. I have discovered that from the passenger seat one can truly enjoy the scenery! I can rest when I get tired or dance in my seat if I want to! :) I look forward to the rest of my journey.

I am thankful for your blog. It is such a blessing to have this helpful resource readily available. You and your husband are on my list of people I thank God for in prayer.

PEACEFULWIFE

Wow! Your experience with your parents BREAKS MY HEART!!!!!!!

You learned to expect men to leave and to expect to have to take care of yourself. That dramatically impacted your understanding of God, men, marriage, masculinity and femininity… I can’t begin to imagine how big the scars would be from that devastating experience.  Thank God He is working in your life!

I LOVE your story! Gives me chills!

I am so excited about what God is doing in your life and marriage!!!!! WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!

Yes – this is the treasure Jesus was talking about- it is worth giving up everything else in the world to have it.

That part about you describing enjoying the scenery, resting if you want to or dancing in your seat – makes me smile.  What a beautiful picture!

Much love to you my precious sister! Thank you for shining for Him and allowing Him to work in you!

 

How a Wife’s Obedience to God Impacts Her Husband’s Soul (From the Archives)

This is a message I received from a reader.  She repented of her years of disrespect and trying to control her husband about 5 years ago.  She had learned some of these principles years  before, but a major tragedy in the family sent her reeling and now she is relearning and taking baby steps again.  What I really want wives to notice is not the time frame since her repentance to God – it is the changes that are happening in both the wife and the husband as she seeks to obey God.  So many wives think that if they obey God, they LOSE power and won’t get the love they want.  That is so far from the truth!  We GAIN the power of God working in our hearts and marriages.  And the riches of heaven.  It is all joy!

A MESSAGE FROM A WIFE WHO REPENTED OF HER DISRESPECT AND CONTROL ABOUT 5 WEEKS AGO AND HAS HAD GOD’S SPIRIT WORKING MIGHTILY IN HER!

It’s so funny… we have had such a good weekend, and off and on all weekend he will just give me these little commands. They are random, and not rude or anything… just small things like for example, we were at a birthday party and he said, “why don’t you go over and visit for about 5 more minutes and I’ll come over and we’ll say good-bye and head home.” I just cheerfully say, “okay” and do it.

Or, (I’ve been counseling a very disturbed wife and have really sewn into her life and yet, she still shows no changes and really kind of tends to use me), and he said, “I’ve been thinking and I really don’t want you to have anything to do with that wife anymore. I know you want to help her but she doesn’t want help, that’s obvious. So, I really just want you to stop counseling her and just pray for her if you need to.” I just said, “Okay, if that is what you think is best, I trust you. I will put up those boundaries.”

No other words, just cheerful obedience.

There are other random examples that I have picked up on all weekend, but these give you an idea of the nature of them. Each time I respond the same. No questions, no different opinion offered, I just gladly do whatever he has asked.

I find it funny because it tickles me.

My husband is not usually one to take such a strong lead. I must admit that it feels kind of good actually.

Then tonight when we were out again (it’s been a strange weekend of kidlessness)… my husband acted like he was fixing to say something, then he paused and said, “nah, nevermind.”

I said jokingly, “What? you have to say  it now!” because he had this little grin on his face about what he was going to say.

So he said, “Well, what I was going to say is that I love this place you are in your life right now. (he got tears in his eyes and said) This is really all I need, Honey. I can’t even tell you how much I love this. We have been through hell, and I mean real hell… like fighting to breathe on so many days hell, and yet, here we are… like this. I don’t know how much I can tell you so you’ll believe it, but this really is all I need. When you are like this, it just motivates me to want to be the best I can be.”

Who is this man? I am just floored that he is saying these kind of things to me! smile My God is working a MIRACLE in our marriage!! I am blown away!

I found myself tearing up too. All I could say was that I love this new place I am too, and that with God’s help, I plan to stay right here.”

That was the end of it, just that sweet, tender moment. Then we just went back to enjoying each other like we have been all weekend.

I know that what he is picking up on is exactly as you say… a peaceful spirit that does not give way to fear. I think it is ministering to him in such a way that he is experiencing a deep peace and confidence as well.

Like I said, simply mind-blowing! Only GOD!! I just keep saying that but it is oh so true!

The Respect Dare, Day 18 – A Guest Post from Nina Roesner!!!!!!!

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Pic from www.ninaroesner.wordpress.com

Ladies,

I am so excited about today’s post!  Nina Roesner, the author of The Respect Dare, has very graciously written this one just for each of you.  I am thrilled to be able to share her words that – to me – are such a powerful expression of the main themes of my life and of my blog.  These are the treasures God has given to us as wives – the path to real peace, joy and godly power, the most amazing way to bless our husbands and families and the message that He longs for us to teach to the women coming behind us.

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The story in Dare 18 really happened.

Well, actually they all did. It’s just that some of them happened to me. This is one of them.

In reading back over it last week, I wondered what I could add that would be of benefit. I had no idea. Given I’ve spent the last two days in the hospital with my 15 year old son’s surgery, I really didn’t have an ounce of brain power to come up with anything good on my own. So I felt bad about that for about 38 seconds, then did what He knew I would do…and I finally asked Him what He wanted me to say today.

First, I want to thank Peaceful Wife for baring her heart and soul to help you. Like me, she takes some heat for living her life imperfectly before others. The most immature of her readers (immature in terms of where they are in the journey of faith – how well they know Him) attack her, having little compassion for a perspective other than their own.  We are all struggling with doing that to others in various parts of our lives. Often this lack of love shows up in our marriages or our relationship with ourselves.

And that’s what I want to talk about today.  Dare 18 provides a brief glimpse into a moment where I wish I lived 100% of the time.

And I want to reveal something that most people miss when they read the book – they miss a moment with an imperfect but strong woman who knows who she is in Christ, a woman who is no one’s doormat.

(okay, I’ll be 100% honest – there are still two people in this world with whom I do not have this figured out yet – but no, I’m not married to them)

But in that moment where I did get it right, pay attention to what I did.  And what I didn’t do.

There are several “extremes” within the women that we minister to.  First, there’s the domineering, controlling type.  The ones afraid of having a man exert any power over them. This might not be the norm in your world, but in mine, this seems to be a good sized percentage of women. And you should know I used to be one of them – corporate career girl, confident, had it pretty together (or so I liked to think), and a bit bossy at times. Unfortunately, I lacked wisdom. If I had an opinion, I shared it – because to not speak up (about everything) would be acting like a doormat…or so I believed.

So yes, I was lacking in wisdom. And I’m still growing.

When I first learned about respect and Ephesians 5:33, it made me angry.

I didn’t understand.

I fought God.

And then I did research.

And like a pendulum, swung all the way over to the doormat extreme.  You know her, the woman that is a shadow of a person. Invisible. I actually read teaching from others who said that my life should revolve around my husband and his dreams and aspirations. That God created me to help him achieve his dreams – and I wasn’t to have any of my own. I was to equip my children as well – even if it all meant losing my identity as the woman God had made me to be in the first place. I wasn’t a willing servant, even though I actually spent a good deal of time eagerly serving my family. I still do, actually, but all the talk about being my husband’s crown by being his 1950’s house wife (all while working part-time and home schooling, mind you) eventually brought me to a place of depletion.

I had been taught that “submission” means he bosses me around while I am “never disagreeing.” The experience left my husband confused because I went from being a competent woman to a person who couldn’t make a decision. It left me feeling like I had no voice. I allowed others to take advantage of me in my home in the name of “service,” and “being a good submissive wife.”

Not surprisingly, my children started behaving as though they had a sense of entitlement and I was their maid. Nasty little side effect.

What’s missing from the majority of teaching currently available is the balance that comes from what lies in the middle of the two extremes above. And how the bible doesn’t really contradict itself, but rather is useful for Him to provide specific direction in the everyday moments.

And that’s what I did in Dare 18.

  • I told the truth about how I didn’t feel loved.
  • But I didn’t do it in a disrespectful (to myself or my husband) way.

And it was a moment born out of God’s leadership and wisdom’s teaching from the Holy Spirit.

There are times when “love covers a multitude of sins” in marriage. Like knowing when to tell the kids, “Dad’s having a rough week at work, cut him some slack.”

There are also times when “iron sharpens iron” in marriage. Like knowing when to say, “The kids need to respect me more, and I’d like your help with that. I don’t know if you are even aware of this, and I’m sure you don’t mean to do it, but when you cut me off and disagree before you even hear what I’m saying, it gives our kids the impression you might not be a respectful person and that you might not respect me. Can you please listen and ask questions first instead?”

There are a few lies out there – that “submission” means not voicing a contrary opinion, not confronting your husband’s sin against you, or having a good marriage means the wife never states a different viewpoint from her husband.  That’s utter hogwash.

Another lie is that “submission” is a part of the bible that doesn’t apply to women now.  You can read gobs about why it matters here, but understand that lie is also complete hogwash.  We are to have a voice – but don’t subscribe to those who think you need to shove your opinion down other’s throats to be heard. And know this doesn’t just apply to marriage, but literally every other relationship, work environment, family, or otherwise. Being heard has a lot to do with treating yourself with respect so you teach others how to treat you. The fear of other’s opinions, having made them our God, will cause us to sin and not tell the truth or not be gently, compassionately bold. And be open to continuing to grow in this area your whole life.  There is no arrival.

Understand as well that there are several examples in the bible where people questioned authority, and even so, 1 Peter is still all about how we are to submit to authority.

Consider…

  • Sarah telling Abraham to get rid of Hagar – and God tells him to listen to her.
  • Abigail and David – she totally went behind her husband’s back to save her people and find favor with David. Smart girl.
  • Nathan and David – Nathan gave David (who was King) a serious chastisement for the killing of Uriah.
  • Esther and Xerxes – she breaks the law to get his attention, risking her life – and wins.
  • Jesus asks God to “take this cup” from Him.

The bottom line is simply this:  We are here to learn to love God and others as we love ourselves. Only the Father can teach us how to do these three well. If we will stay plugged into Him by daily reading, listening, obeying, and praying, we will know what to do in the minutia of the moments of our day.

Know too, that there are other examples of strength and dignity in The Respect Dare.

Don’t miss them.

Don’t buy the lie that The Respect Dare makes you a doormat.

Wise women of strength and dignity are not threatened by authority.

Dare you to continue growing and figuring out that sweet spot in the middle of His will.

And know we are so glad you are on the journey! Your sons and daughters will thank you.

Love to you,

~Nina

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To Buy a Copy of Nina’s Book, click here.

A Wife Battles Pride

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Here is an email from a wife that I think many other wives will relate to!  Thank you to this wife for sharing your heart!  This is part of how this journey looks as God shows us our sin and we hash through these issues, seeking to learn all we can and to humble ourselves and allow God to change us.  She read some of my posts about how I used to act towards my husband:
One  (post I read) was your incident with the A/C guy and “cleaning the garage”. WOW, did THAT speak to my heart. I praise God for putting you in my life. It’s like we speak the same language (pride). If God changed you I BELIEVE He can change me. You give me hope and encouragement.

I got mad at my hubby AGAIN today. Yes, the root was pride. It took a while for God to expose it, I just kept hanging on TO WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE. I kept hearing, “Do you want to be right or be happy?”. “I want to be right!” was my response.

You see, that’s one of my big problems. I think I’m right all the time. Being like that makes it IMPOSSIBLE to have peace with others.  (From Peacefulwife – that was me, too!) You’re in a dark room BUT insist that you see clearly and everyone else is unable to see. Now that God is showing me how deceived I’ve been (in my own pride and need to be right), I realize the battle is within.  It’s like I’ve been conning myself all these years, the flesh, you know?

You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. The truth about me is a very freeing thing, but sometimes this flesh doesn’t want me to see or know the truth. It convinces me I am the victim and I DESERVE better. Or, it makes me think that “if only he saw it my way” everything would be good. He’s wrong, and when I show him how wrong he is then we can be okay again.

I get hung up on his role…..this is a very bad habit of mine. Thinking how he ought to be as a husband.

I kinda know I’m being disrespectful, but I’m so blinded by my own desires I can’t see straight.

It took the Holy Spirit about 20 min or more to finally convict me of why I was so upset.  It’s weird because I see God CHANGING ME FOR GOOD, but He just keeps digging deeper, showing MORE AND MORE sin.  God will not settle for second best. He wants the very best for me and He will keep chipping away….burning off that dross so I will reflect Jesus.

Why do we have SO MANY LAYERS OF PRIDE????

I talked it out with my husband (sadly we were both yelling at FIRST). Then I apologized and admitted my struggle. I shared where it was coming from, but I also confessed that I have a problem wanting HIM TO MEET MY NEED. I want him to value me (like Christ tells us a husband to). I just let it all hang out 🙁   My hubby was so sweet and kind, just listening.  I gave him a big hug and told him I knew we both loved God and that we are going through a LOT, the house being under construction, my mother in-law moving into our home and his work being unsteady. There are so many uncertainties in our life right now. God/Jesus really is our Rock and we have been standing on Him and it IS NOT HOPELESS. We might fail, but God is there lifting us up and changing us.

April, I used to get so DISCOURAGED and believe it was hopeless. I just wanted to throw in the towel. We are in 8 and 6’s on the drama scale. God keeps them to a 2, but every once in a while the heat turns up and it feels like a 10. I find myself falling on my face, needing His grace….

I also read your blog about not complaining…OKAY that is a HUGE problem for me. It kinda comes and goes?

I will try for 2 weeks to not complain, even to God. With the Chronic Fatigue and stuff, I will need to use discretion on when to say something? Because even there, not everyone wants to hear I’m tired or hurting. So, God can help me with that too.

Is Respect Optional for a Godly Woman?

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Many women, even in the church, think that the concept of “respect for husbands” is archaic, old fashioned and backwards and that their husbands “don’t deserve respect.”   We are not about to show any respect for our men until we believe our men “deserve” it – by our own definition.  That is, after all, what our culture teaches – “Respect must be earned.”  I actually believe that is true, to a point – in the secular work place.  But does it apply in marriage?  Does it apply to believers in Christ?  Is it appropriate for disciples of Christ to treat people without respect in any setting?
If someone (anyone) sins against me or is living in unrepentant sin – does that give me a free pass as a Christian to treat him/her with disdain, disgust, self-righteousness, rudeness, unkindness, hatred, angry words, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, gossip and a judgmental spirit?
(Galatians 5:22-23, I Corinthians 13:4-8 and Romans 12 do a very good job of explaining how Jesus commands us to treat others with love – respect is part of that!.)

In our culture today, we often treat our husbands (as I did for many years) with disrespect, contempt, resentment and condemnation.   Sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing this.  Sometimes we are just reacting to feeling very unloved ourselves and unintentionally disrespect our men – not realizing how very deeply we are wounding them.  And then we don’t realize that when our husbands feel very disrespected, they react to their pain by responding in ways that feel unloving to us (Dr. Emerson Eggerichs – Love and Respect).  When husbands feel disrespected – they feel unloved.  I know that is not how we want our men to feel!

But whether we are intentionally disrespectful or it is entirely unintentional, our disrespect wounds our men.  They NEED our respect and our Lord commands that we respect our husbands.  They may not “deserve” respect in our minds.  But the same God who commands us to respect our husbands and honor their leadership also commands husbands to love their wives.  I know I personally don’t want to EVER get rid of the “love your wife as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her” command for our husbands!  God definitely knew what he was talking about there!  I have learned that He knows exactly what He is talking about when it comes to what husbands and marriages need, too.
We need our husbands’ love even when we REALLY don’t deserve it – exactly the same way that our husbands need our respect even when they REALLY don’t deserve it.  (God does not command us to respect sin or ignore sin – just like He does not command our husbands to love our sin either – but we are to respect our men because they are our husbands, just like our husbands are to love us because we are their wives.)
My respect for my husband is not optional.  Not if I am a disciple of Christ.   It is a command of God:
  • “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  Ephesians 5:33
  •  Jesus says “Anyone who loves Me will obey My commands…. Anyone who does not obey My commands does not love Me.” (John 14:23))
Many women also believe that biblical submission is oppressive and that it is equal to slavery.  That is NOT at all God’s design, either. (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:2-5)  Real biblical submission is a blessing from God to wives, husbands, children and everyone who knows that family.  It can only be accomplished when we are completely submitted to Christ and filled with His Spirit, seeking His glory alone.
Here is the world’s way – this is what I did for almost 15 years in our marriage.
I tried to carry all the weight and responsibility for the marriage and family and was stressed, worried, afraid and upset most of the time.  I felt like the only adult in the family.  I thought I had to do everything while my husband avoided responsibility and became increasingly emotionally distant. I worked full time until we had children, then worked 20 hours/week and also did almost all of the housework, all of the finances, all of the discipline for the children and all of the child care every moment that I was home while my husband sat in front of the tv, the computer or worked on renovations.  I was overloaded, overworked, stressed out and seething with resentment.
This, my friends, is a recipe for disaster in marriage.  As Bob Grant says, “There is no relationship resentment can’t kill.”
Husbands primarily need respect.
Wives primarily need love. (Dr. Emerson Eggerichs Love and Respect and Ephesians 5:22-33)
When both spouses get their needs met, marriage can be GLORIOUS and God-honoring.
Men and women are not the same.  Men do not need love the exact same way that we do.  The sooner we understand this and how different they are from us, the sooner we can learn what their needs truly are and how to meet them.  We often try to give more and more love – but it doesn’t work and we don’t understand why.  We must understand what our husbands need and give them what they need, not what we need.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE WORLD’S WAYS:
  • The truth is that trying to carry a burden you were not designed by God to carry is oppressive.
  • The truth is that being consumed by worry and anxiety and fear every waking moment is oppressive.
  • The truth is that living by the power of the sinful nature instead of by the power of the Spirit of God is being a slave to sin instead of being a slave to Christ.  That is true slavery!!!  I will be a slave to one or the other – sin, or Christ.  For a little check of what it is like to have your sinful nature in control, please read Galatians 5:19-21.  When God’s Spirit controls me, I have all of the fruit of the Spirit in increasing measure every day: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.  That is FREEDOM!  That is blessing!  That is POWER!  (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • The truth is that putting anything before Christ in my heart is a certain path to discontentment, disillusionment, loneliness, disappointment, fear, worry and distress.  God will not allow me to find contentment and His peace in idols.  The ONLY place where contentment can be found is in Christ!
  • The truth is that living in obedience to God brings great freedom and joy that rises far above any circumstances.
Learning respect and biblical submission is a process and a journey.  It is a LONG, cross-country journey.  Not a sprint.  This is the process of “sanctification” – God uses this process to make me more holy and to make me more and more like Jesus.  It takes TIME.  He will use it to make me holy and mature, ready for His purposes.
(If you have SERIOUS problems in your marriage – drug/alcohol addiction, mental health disorders, infidelity, major sin, physical abuse – please talk to a godly, trusted pastor or Christian counselor ASAP!)
RELATED POSTS:
Don’t compare your story to mine or to anyone else’s!  God is writing your own story.  He will decide the timing and the outcomes.  Your job is to love and trust Him and to yield yourself totally to Him every moment of every day.  I can’t wait to see what He wants to do for His glory in your life!

The Key to Peace

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Having a solid understanding of where my responsibilities end and where God’s sovereignty begins is a HUGE key to peace that I was missing for many years.

THE WAY I USED TO LIVE

I ultimately trusted myself, not God.

I said I trusted Christ.

I thought that I was living by faith – but in reality, I lived as if God was far away, or not involved, or as if He was a wimp.  I had a HUGE picture of all of my responsibilities in my life and a very tiny picture of God and His responsibilities in my life – a warped understanding of my own identity and of God’s identity – that I can trace to my childhood.

As a child, I thought I learned that I was completely responsible for everything in my life and for other people.  It seemed to me that my parents “needed” my help.  It seemed to me that my actions and words greatly impacted other people’s lives in potentially catastrophic ways.  I thought I learned that I was very powerful and in charge.

If I believe that I am in control and all the circumstances in my life are completely dependent upon me – my decisions, my actions, my making things work out “right” – then I live as if I am sovereign in my life and I have the responsibility and duty to try to force things to go the way I believe they should. (None of this was conscious in my mind – but it is how I lived)

This is my core belief about who I am and who God is.  This is the crux of why I believe so many women are anxious, fearful and stressed out.  We don’t have a proper understanding that God is God, and we are not.

If I am worshipping and trusting myself instead of God – I will also expect others to submit to me, obey me and see that MY way is the only “right” way.  That is what I did.  That is why I could justify my controlling behavior in my marriage and in other relationships.  Because I believed in the core of my being that I was the only one who knew God’s will and who could see clearly and that I was the only one who could cause circumstances to work out right.  So it was my duty to try to make other people do what I knew was best.  I was protecting them from themselves, after all!  If only they would do what I said, everything would be fine.  I was “helping” them.  Funny – they didn’t seem to appreciate my help!  How could they be so ungrateful, after all I was doing for them?

My confusion about me not being God, me not being the Holy Spirit – led me to think that it was perfectly acceptable and necessary for me to take the lead in my marriage and tell my husband what to do and expect him to do whatever I said.  I was right!  He wasn’t.  I could clearly see that.  It was my job to try to make him do the “right” thing.  How else would he possibly do God’s will if I didn’t try to force him into it?  At the core of my belief about God, God was not very powerful.  I didn’t believe that God would change my husband.  I believed it was MY job to change people.

Trying to be in charge of things and control things that I actually don’t have any business controlling is extremely stressful!  And I was very worried all the time.   No wonder!  It all depended on me in my mind.  That was a LOT of pressure!  I was motivated by fear.  I couldn’t “let” the wrong things happen.  And it was entirely on my shoulders to be the “savior” in my life and the lives of those I loved.  Again, this was not conscious – but it is how I actually believed in the depths of my soul – and that motivated my behavior and thoughts.

REBUILDING ON THE FOUNDATION OF CHRIST ALONE

I thank and praise God that He opened my eyes to see that I am NOT God.  Not only am I NOT God – but I am a wretched sinner.   That was a huge shock to me!  I truly did not appreciate that until 4.5 years ago when God suddenly opened my eyes to my personal mountain of sin.

He showed me:

– PRIDE PRIDE PRIDE – I had set myself up, unconsciously, in my own life as equal to or above God.  I thought I knew better than EVERYONE – certainly better than my husband – about practically everything.  I really believed I knew better than God, too – since I was able to decide that certain scriptural commands didn’t apply to me.

– Idolatry – I put myself, being in control and my husband loving me the way I wanted him to up as idols – these things were more important to me than Christ.  I would never have said that to myself or out loud.  But when God showed me the way I was living – I knew that He was right.  I had been committing idolatry every waking moment for decades – and didn’t even know it.   I held on to anger and bitterness.  I cherished that more than intimacy with Christ.

– Unforgiveness – Jesus said after the Lord’s prayer that “if you don’t forgive men when they sin against you, God will not forgive you your sin.”  This is HUGE sin!

– Rebellion against His Word – I had unknowingly been disrespecting my husband and trying to lead in our marriage.  That was in total defiance of Ephesians 5:22-33.  I had been blind to my disobedience.

THE KEY TO PEACE

When I make Christ LORD, and humble myself GREATLY… when I understand God’s sovereignty and my weakness and smallness – then I begin to have a foundation for real faith in Christ.  Then I learn where my responsibilities end and His begin.  Then I do what I can to obey Him and to seek Him with all my heart – to love Him with all that I am and to love others – and I rest in His sovereignty and perfect love – trusting that He is working out the details of my life for my ultimate good and His glory because I love Him. (Romans 8:28).

His Spirit fills me and produces in me things that I cannot produce on my own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I can’t lose!  If things go the way I want them to, awesome.  God is in it.  I want to exalt His Name.

When things do NOT go the way I want them to – no big deal.  Because I am daily dying to self – dying to my sinful nature, dying to my will, my wants, my desires, my wisdom, my plans, my purposes, myself.  And I am seeking God’s will, his plans, His purposes, His wisdom, His goals and His glory.

He gives me a new heart so that I desire the things of God and want what He wants.    It is no longer about my will.  It is no longer all about ME.

Now I see that God is wise, I am not.  So I trust that He knows how to make things work out for His will to happen and for His greatest glory.

Then I can know that trials and suffering have passed through the filter of His loving, sovereign hands.  He will use it to make me more like Christ and for His glory.  That is my greatest desire now that He is LORD of my life.

So I can’t lose!  I have to win when Christ is Lord.  He is in charge.  He is working things out for His purposes to be accomplished.  I may not understand at the time – but I have faith, knowing that He knows best and He is taking me to the place He desires me to go.

That is how I can rest in His love and sovereignty and live with His supernatural peace that passes all understanding.

I don’t have peace because of my circumstances.

I have peace because I trust my mighty, powerful, awesome, holy, omniscient, eternal, faithful, loving, sovereign Lord – Jesus Christ.  I look to Him, not my circumstances.

IN MARRIAGE

I can have peace when I am not the leader.  I trust that my Lord is “sovereign enough” to lead me through my sinful husband.  If my husband is not asking me to sin – I know that it is God’s will for me to cooperate with and honor my husband’s leadership.  I tell him my feelings, my desires, my perspective – then I trust God to lead me through my husband, knowing this will bring great honor to Christ.  THAT is my goal!  That Christ be greatly exalted in my life and marriage!

RELATED POSTS:

What is Biblical Submission?

A Real Life Example of Biblical Submission and Respect

How God Used a Wife’s Great Faith and an Old Truck

Joyful Submission and a Boat

Love, Honor, Respect and Submission are Gifts

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

A Great Place to Start to Learn to Be a Godly Wife

Contentment Comes from Having Christ as LORD

Joyful Submission and a Boat

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This is an email from a wife I first “met” online last July.  God has been doing a HUGE work in her heart!  I know you will be richly blessed by reading her story.
I haven’t shared something yet that has been stirring in our house…..its been another example of me laying down my “rights” or “my will” and joyfully submitting to my husband.
So here it is….
My husband has been talking about buying a boat for as long as I can remember…but more intensely in the last year.
I usually just listen… but occasionaly in the past six months I have said,

“I’m not sure this is the best time for our family, but I trust you to make the best decision.”  I’ve then let it go and prayed about it!

My husband is probably one of the hardest workers I know. When he is not photographing, or editing images, or taking care of our girls or doing other “business” work, he is working on house projects, working in the yard. He rarely ever just rests, unless its 9:00 at night and he’s winding down. He gets a lot of joy from accomplishing things and making our home beautiful! I love that about him. He is very self motiviated and driven!
So naturally, if the guy wants a boat..then yes go buy a boat! You deserve it!
But…there’s the spiritual side of me..the one that thinks..“Shouldn’t we be spending our money on eternal things?”  We have friends adopting children right now in third world countries…suffering daily for this…and here we are buying a boat.  I struggle with that.  My husband knows my heart though and God knows my heart.
So here is what I have learned and I feel God is teaching me.
My husband didn’t have much growing up.  His parents couldn’t afford to send him on ski trips with his other friends, his parents couldn’t afford snowmobiles like all the other families near by. Growing up in Canada near a lake, those things were things most families had and enjoyed together.  He doesn’t want his children to not have things because he couldn’t offer those opportunities. My husband also enjoys making memories with his family..another wonderful thing I love about him.  He wants a boat…not so he can escape and go fishing… but so we can enjoy quality time together.
So he told me about a month ago that he put a down payment on a boat. Inside I felt nervous, but I smiled and said,  “That is so great!”  He couldn’t wait to tell me all about it.  I prayed again knowing if this was not God’s will, God would change his heart or it would not work out.  (From Peacefulwife – LOVE THAT BEATUIFUL FAITH IN GOD!!!!) Last week, my husband called me while I was driving home from work  (he never calls me by the way…usually just waits until I get home from work to tell me things).  He said, “We officially have a boat and can pick it up during your next school break.”
It’s very hard for me to just jump up and down when a big part of me is not so sure this was the best financial decision for us.  BUT I did…I said, “Honey that is wonderful. I am so excited. That is great!  Please know that I really do think this is great and fun and our family will have a lot of fun boating together.”  Usually, I hold back those feelings and express the negative emotions first.
When I got home that day, he continued to talk about how excited he was and all the fun we would have together on the boat. I agreed and added that the girls would have a great time and mentioned several things we could get for them like tubes and life jackets.  This was also very hard for me because I usually just smile and nod (when he’s sharing something exciting and Im apprehensive about). I didn’t let my emotions take over though and I shared in his excitement by adding to it.  It felt really good to do that eventhough it was very unnaturual for me.  
 
I kissed him goodbye and he left for a photo shoot.  I proceeded to take care of the girls and quietly thanked God that HE enabled me to handle that well.

I praised God for my hardworking husband and how God was sovereign over my life! And how God would always take care of me and my family! 

My husband  got home shortly after the girls were all tucked in bed.  I was in the kitchen making his dinner.  He greeted me in the kitchen with a kiss and said, “Honey, I just want to thank you for not jumping on me about getting a boat and letting me get one.”  I smiled and said, “Honey, lots of men have hobbies, like hunting and fishing and playing sports, etc. I am just so thankful your hobby or your interest includes spending time with your family.”  He smiled and said, “of course it does.” 
 
I quietly in my heart thanked God for helping me in all of this!! A year ago, I would have NEVER handled things this way. I would have robbed him of this joy. I would have sucked the life out of him.  He would have probably demanded he get the boat and I would have missed out on all the intimate moments leading up to it.  
I also thank God for teaching me this:
We may never adopt children from Uganda.
We may never go on a missions trip as a family.
But God is allowing me to partake in an amazing adventure with my husband. I know men most want and need their wife to partake in an adventure together.  I am learning to be his helpmate. I am learning to trust God like never before!  And in all of this, I hope that God will allow our marriage and our family to bring Him Glory! 
And yet, perhaps this is just the beginning for our family! The beginning of us serving Him him and honoring him in untold ways.  I know that I believe in an amazing God who has this adventure planned for us. I pray deep in my heart that He would allow us to bring Him great glory.  I also know my role as a wife and as a mom and as a child of the King.  I pray that God would continue to empower me through His abounding grace to be a wife:
  • that has loved one of his sons well
  • that has been generous and kind
  • that forgives him when he sins
  • lifts him up when he’s discouraged
  • comforts him when he’s sad
  • shares in his glory when he succeeds
  • that encourages him to become all God intends for him to be. (Sacred Influence, Gary Thomas)
It was yesterday that we drove three hours – giddy and excited – to pick up our new boat.  My husband was delighted. That morning he said I have been excited for this day since I was a child. I said, I’m so thankful to get to be a part of it with you. And then as we drove home with the boat towing behind, he took my hand and said five sweet words I’ll never forget,

“Thank you for trusting me.”

 

I DO trust him, but even more so, I trust a faithful God!!  I have abounding peace and joy today!!
Thank you for letting me share this story with you because you are a huge part of this change in me!!!
FROM PEACEFULWIFE
I love how this wife shared her opinion and feelings in a respectful way.  I love how she prayed and trusted God’s sovereignty to lead her through her husband.  And I love how she trusted his leadership and got to experience such emotional intimacy.  It will be interesting to see how God uses this in their lives for His glory!
Do you have a story about how respect or biblical submission blessed your marriage? I’d love to hear it! (Husbands, if you want to send me a story about how much it means to you when your wife trusts your leadership and cooperates with you and respects you – I would love to hear that, too!)  

Another Husband Answers My Questions about Emotions

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This is a continuation of a series about How Husbands Process Emotions.   Thank you to this husband for sharing!  I am extremely grateful for the men who have been willing to sacrifice their time and put forth a lot of effort to answer these questions.  I pray God might help us all as wives to better understand our own men.  As we make comments, it is my desire for us to be sure to honor the men who shared and to honor our husbands.  It is a great privilege to me that these men are opening their hearts and sharing this kind of information with us.

  1. How affected are you by your wife’s emotions (good and bad)?

a)      Her emotions are just that …Her emotions… I try never to let my emotions get the better of me simply because I know that people who think with their emotions tend to be overdramatic and go a bit over board with things and usually let any given situation get the better of them other than the other way around…  meaning them taking control over the situation…

b)      When her emotions are good then obviously I am glad for that, when they are bad, they’re usually really bad and it then becomes a whole new dynamic. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding her bad emotions… things can usually be worked out.

 

  1. If your wife has been disrespectful for a long time, how does her disrespect alter how much her emotions affect you?

a)      Regardless of whether or not she disrespects me, which I have to say, she is mostly very respectful towards me, but on the odd occasion that she might disrespect me , her emotional state during a conflict would actually not sway me either way… I understand she is an emotional person and that’s just how she deals with things. I simply let her go on about whatever it is she feels the need to go on about then when she’s done I’ll say something.

 

  1. How important is your wife’s happiness is to you when you feel respected vs. disrespected?

a)      My wife’s happiness will always be important to me regardless of whether or not she respects me, or not.

 

4.  If you have a serious disagreement and your wife verbally attacks you and accuses you of things like being unloving, hating her, being a horrible husband, never listening, etc… what do you have to do in your mind to process that kind of negative emotion?

a)  Without fail, I always seem to find myself asking …”Why can’t she see that all I have done since we’ve been together has been for her and our family” … The I realize she is a person who needs things like, someone to listen and talk with, validation, and to feel needed. I, on the other hand, do not and I have to tell myself that from time to time and then act accordingly.

5. Do you think with words when you are working through how you feel or what your emotions are about a conflict with your wife?

a) Well I can say that I have in the past asked (out loud) “Lord what am I supposed to learn from this?” when I am dealing with something she may have said to me but for the most part I just think internally about it until I can come to some resemblance of certainty as to what she was talking about or what she was really trying to get across to me.

6. How difficult is it to put your emotions in words?  Do you need time to be able to do this, or can you talk about emotions immediately during the conflict?

As I just mentioned in the last question… I tend to need the time to go over it then I can say what I am feeling about it. However, there has been times when I just come right out and say what exactly is on my mind, usually ending up in a less than desirable outcome…

7. How safe is it for you to be genuinely honest with your wife about your emotions?  What makes you feel emotionally safe or unsafe with her?

Extremely Safe – Honestly …my wife is the only one whom I trust with any of my emotions. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can trust her explicitly when it comes to that.

8. How would it affect your communication with your wife if you knew that your wife would be on your team and support you even if you were honest about your negative emotions and feelings?

a) Pretty much the same as it does now… I already know that if there is anyone in this weird messed up world, who is on my “team” as you say …it is her, even with me being honest about my negative emotions and feelings.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

THIS is how I want our husbands to feel!  Most men don’t share their emotions with anyone but their wives.  If they can’t share safely with us – they have NO ONE in their corner usually.   I want us to be this haven and sanctuary of peace, acceptance, empathy, comfort and understanding for our men.

I want them to know they are safe with us and that we will do them good and not evil all the days of our lives.  I want them to know they can trust us.  This means – that we must be trustworthy!  I want them to know that we are on their side and that we have faith in them and that we support them no matter what happens.  This is the kind of marriage I pray for Christians to experience.  It is a win/win for both the wife and the husband.

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 a people-pleaser.

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.

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 is AWESOME!)

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.

Well – really, almost all the 52 things on the 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.
  • 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 overnight 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 become 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 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 influential 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.
  • avoiding obeying God’s Word about how to handle conflict  when I am sinned against.  I am to go to the person who sinned against me (NOT to other people in gossip!) and tell them their sin (gently, respectfully, lovingly).  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 and sacrifice 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 un-confrontational.  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 seeth 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.

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!