Tag Archives: lies

Lonely.

6 Apr

I think there may be no greater danger in life than the place of loneliness.

Whenever Satan can convince us that we’re alone, unseen, unloved, undesired, unknown, unwanted, unproductive – it’s there, in the middle of the loneliness, that his lies sound like truth.

When we’re surrounded by strong Christians, good friends who are holding us accountable and REALLY know us, and a marriage that is flourishing, we’re less likely to fall apart.

That doesn’t mean temptations don’t come, or that we can never stumble.  Of course we can, but we are much less likely to feel defeated when we feel loved.

I believe this is the very reason for the promise “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Jesus’ constant reminder that WE ARE NOT ALONE, even if we are tempted to feel like we are, is meant to be security against Satan’s attacks. He knew that promise mattered.  Which is why He promised it.  Because if we feel alone, we feel defeated… and defeat doesn’t press on toward the prize.  Defeat paralyzes.  It lies to us and cripples us from using God’s power in us to face whatever is coming at us.

This is important, please don’t miss this….EVEN IF there is nothing “significantly pressing” going on like illness or persecution…. loneliness is a threat we cannot take lightly.

I’ve seen people who seemingly had EVERYTHING.  They weren’t facing any major catastrophes in their life at all… and yet, because they were lonely, they completely fell apart.

My friend often says this saying “Once we’re aware of something, we no longer have any excuses against it.”  What she means is, if you “know” you have an addiction to sweets, it’s no longer something you can spend hours justifying or crying over if you’re not going to address it.

I’m very aware of loneliness.

I spent a good three straight years incredibly lonely.  Yes, I had “friends” during that time.  But I was “unknown” at the same time.  My Christian friends didn’t know everything that was going on… like the problems in my marriage.  And my non-Christian friends never filled that void in me for deep fellowship because sin was always so present in their advice and invitations.

Once I realized the loneliness problem – I decided I would never allow myself to be “lonely” again.

I’m aware of the danger.  I’m aware that Jesus makes it very obvious that fellowship is essential to our faith.  It’s why belonging to a local Church is vital, for the body to come together.  It’s why the disciples never ministered alone,  they always had someone with them (unless they were in prison.) And again, it’s why Jesus promised us He’d always be with us.

It’s been a hard year… one I’m willing reluctantly admitting has been constantly tempting to feel lonely.

Understand, loneliness isn’t a temptation because you’re locked in a cellar with no one in sight.

Loneliness is a temptation when something feels like it’s missing.

This year has been A LOT of changes for us.

Since leaving our church home of ten years, two years ago… it’s been incredibly lonely.  Once you’ve had a very active church family, it’s so hard to walk into a building and not know anyone’s name nor does anyone know who you are either.

I miss being known.  I miss being accountable to my church family.  I miss knowing what is going on with the body of believers I worship with – knowing what to pray for them and ask them about the following week.  I miss sharing prayer requests with someone I know is really going to pray, and ask me how my week was when I see them on Sunday.

Today, I looked around me during service and felt so out of place.  It doesn’t feel like home at all.  It feels lonely.

Yes, I know Jesus is all I need.

Yes, my marriage is strong.

Yes, I have friends I can call on.

Yes,  the temptation for loneliness is still heavy and pushing at me to entertain the defeat.

When something feels out of whack, it tests us in every area. Even areas we know we’re strong.

Questions like “Are my friends really my true friends?  Is my husband really able to be my “best friend” when we’re so different? Does my blog ministry even matter, is it effective or reaching anyone? What’s the point of church if we don’t know anyone anyway? What are those people saying about us when we leave?”

I know all the answers to those questions… and there’s nothing really to be tempted over.

Practical Application:

Call out the loneliness.

Once we’re aware what is going on, we can recognize the lies and tempting thoughts so much easier, instead of believing them or wrestling with them for so long.

Write the truth down. Say the truth out loud.  Meditate on the truth. Purposely talk about the truth.

Don’t settle for defeat.

Only heinous people tell lies.

3 Apr

 

For the longest time, I thought I was the worst person in the whole world because I struggled with lying.

Only really terrible people do something so heinous as to make up a lie. It’s unacceptable, inexcusable, and unforgivable.
“What is WRONG with you that you wouldn’t be honest and you’d hide behind made up stories to fit in, or have something to talk about that anyone would want to listen to. You’re a fake and a total disgust of a human” are just a few of the thoughts that paralyzed me for a long time.

My husband has reassured me over and over again that EVERYONE lies. Yes, some people struggle in a more in-depth way than others if it happens to be an addictive behavior that Satan wraps them up in, but that doesn’t mean others have the authority to put themselves in a position of superiority like they are above such ugliness.

The problem is often that they classify “lying” as a definition that only includes what they “don’t do” and then conveniently exclude the ways that they lie.

There are a number of ways that we are tempted to, and even give into lying, that we rarely talk about in-depth. I’m not going to cover them all. I’m going to tackle three and hopefully I’ll start the ball rolling for you to make your own list.

1.) Lying by omission.

This is simply “not” saying all the details. I’m not describing keeping someone’s secrets, secret. It’s ok not to share everything we know about everyone with everyone. That is being a trusted friend.

Lying by omission is when we’re leaving out information, details, words, ANYTHING about ourselves that is giving someone an impression or story that isn’t entirely accurate. We might feel like we didn’t “say” anything that was a lie or that we can’t be responsible for what other people assume, however, if we are willingly painting a picture by NOT painting it, we’re lying.

Telling our spouse that we went to lunch today with a co-worker, while leaving out that it was a male co-worker, is lying by omission.

2.) Lying by repeating something with a different tone, inflection or attitude.

This happens in marriage A LOT! But that statistic in marriage might be beat out by how often this happens between women who have problems with each other.

The story changes, and the likelihood for hurt feelings and offenses greatly increases when tone of voice is misrepresented.
Picture this:
In a soft, calm voice with a smile Gina says to Penny, “Sally looked so pretty today. I bet she spent a lot of money on that dress. It was really worth it. It worked well for her.”

Penny doesn’t like Gina and always reads offenses into everything she says, so….
With a harsh, sarcastic tone she says to Sally, “Penny said you looked SSSOOO pretty today. I BET she spent A LOT of money on that dress. It was REEEAAAALLY worth it. It worked well for HER.” Flips her hair as if Gina was rudely gossiping about Sally and says “you should have seen her face.”

Sally leaves hurt and confused and now has an offense against Gina.

It’s not uncommon for spouses to say the phrase to each other “I didn’t say it like that.  I didn’t use that tone.  You’re making me sound like such a jerk!”

What if a husband says, “I’d rather you not tell me how to handle this situation. I’m struggling with the best decision and your emotions are so high right now that you’re speaking from a place of hurt.”

And the wife repeats it like this, “I’d rather YOU not tell ME how to handle this situation. (Pounds on chest) I’m struggling with the best decision and YOUR emotions are SO HIGH right now that YOU’RE speaking from a place of hurt.” (As if I’m the problem here and am messing up your life.)

In both of those situations, the words were repeated correctly…. but the heart was misrepresented and that constitutes as lying.

3.) We lie through our actions.

As a believer in Christ, this one really stings because if we have Christ, and we walk in sin…. we’re lying with our bodies.

Am I saying we can’t make mistakes?  Of course not.  We all sin.  And will all sin until we die!

But committing a sin and repenting is not the same as walking in sin continually and habitually.

We can’t claim to have Christ and yet walk a constant contradiction without lying with our bodies.

This happens often with couples who have sex before marriage.  They are telling a lie with their bodies that they are indeed one flesh when they have not truly become one flesh through permanent commitment and marriage.

This also happens when we have a habitual gossip, anger, addiction, porn, lust, pride, selfish, idolatry, money, love, forgiveness, bitterness, mercy problem(s).   We’re claiming to be a child of the living God, but constantly maligning His testimony through us.

We praise our Father, but then curse with our bodies by allowing them to follow the ways of Satan.

 

Sometimes we get so judgmental of other who struggle in ways WE never would, all the while, missing how we maybe aren’t that far from them.

That’s why Jesus likens hate to murder and lust to adultery. We may not be letting others see it on the outside, but in our hearts, we’ve already sinned.

 

Practical Application:

Are you trapped right now by Satan because of something you struggle with that you are believing no one else struggles with or is as horrible as you?

(Comment below or shoot me an email… I’ll help you uncover why that’s a lie too!!!)

Are you judging someone else for being so much worse than you are because you’d never do what they do?

Have you ever told a lie in any of these ways? Does this change how you feel?

 

We bring the Kingdom come.

11 Dec

I think I’ve told you here before that a few years ago I was taught through scripture what spiritual gifts are and when they are given – and it changed everything about my walk with the Lord.  The moment you are saved and the Holy Spirit explodes inside of you specific gifts given with the intent for you to complete the body of Christ on Earth, and you discover what those gifts are, your entire life mission changes.

In the same way that Paul was a Christian killer and then suddenly was an apostle who started the early church.

And how Barnabas was the encourager who refuted arguments among believers and strengthened their confidence in their ministries.

And how Peter had discernment that could ONLY be given by God in that he knew that Ananias and Sapphira were lying about the amount of money they brought forward and they fell dead instantly.

The majority of Christians live their entire lives not knowing what their spiritual gifts are and never strengthen or use them.

Gifts are just like a muscle.  If you want it to grow, you exercise it and practice using it in the correct ways.  If you were given the gift of incredibly strong legs, but you choose to never walk – your legs would be weak and unproductive to the body.  If you were given the gift of strong sight, but kept your eyes closed, your eyes would be useless to the body.

The same if true of our spiritual gifts and our effectiveness to the body of Christ.

If you are given the gift of teaching, but you never teach anyone – you are wasting your gift to make the body of Christ productive and functionally fully.  If you are given the gift of hospitality but refuse to be hospitable to those you’d rather not be, your gift only gets exercised with light weights and it’ll never grow becoming all it was meant to be.

My gifts are Mercy and Teaching.

When I first discovered this, I flounder in learning to use them both.  Teaching was a piece of cake for me.  But mercy, well, I only wanted to be merciful to those I wanted to be merciful to by my own choosing.

My gift was weak and unexercised. I started to challenge myself to ask God to grow this gift, and to help me die to myself in the process.

This incredible thing happened — the people I felt the least merciful toward in my life kept coming to mind and kept crossing my path.

It reminds me of something I heard on the radio this past week (not an exact quote because I can’t remember it perfectly, but you’ll get the idea.)

– I asked God for courage, so He led me into a dangerous situation.

– I asked God for contentment, so He allowed for a season where I was unemployed.

– I asked God for patience, so He provided a season of waiting.

– I asked God for forgiveness, so He brought to mind someone I hadn’t forgiven.

That’s powerful right?! We don’t miraculously obtain everything we ask God for — we grow our faith in Him by practicing and exercising that faith in the world we live.

I started to really develop the gift of mercy when I came face to face with my past a couple of years ago.  I have a rap sheet that’s pretty horrible.  I ran away from it the best I could…. but it always followed me somehow.  And it usually came in the form of someone not letting me forget by their actions that I was “known for who I really was, hated, mocked and not worthy of love.”

It’s very hard to let go of your past, when others won’t.

But, I had to start coaching my mind with the truths from scripture.  God truly had forgiven me as far as the east is from the west.  He created in  me a clean heart and renewed a right spirit within me.  He had called me from the mire and put my feet on Holy ground. He made me a co-heir in the kingdom of Heaven and gave me spiritual gifts to bring that kingdom to Earth.

I had been shown great mercy.  And so, I longed through  my gift to show great mercy.

Maybe your rap sheet isn’t as bad as mine, so your feeling like you haven’t had to be forgiven for much, leaves you with a lack compassion – mercy – and forgiveness for others because they are way worse than you, and you’d never do what they have done.

But maybe just maybe, you’re like me — and you know exactly what you’ve done in this life that Jesus had to die on that cross for, and you’re ready to find out what your spiritual gifts are, and get busy bringing the kingdom come.

The words of this song just pierced my heart this morning — so I’ll share them here.

Sitting at the stoplight
He can’t be bothered by the heart cry
Written on the cardboard in her hands
Oh, but when she looks him in the eye
His heart is broken, open wide
And he feels the hand of God reach out through him
As heaven touches earth

Oh, we bring the kingdom come
Oh, with every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the kingdom come

There’s silence at the table
He wants to talk but he’s not able
For all the shame that’s locked him deep inside
Oh, but her words are the medicine
When she says they can begin again
And forgiveness will set him free tonight
As heaven touches earth

Oh, we bring the kingdom come
Oh, with every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the kingdom come

God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you
I said, God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you

Oh, we bring the kingdom come
Oh, with every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the kingdom

Click here to listen to it now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4bB7BUxBbY

Practical Application –

Whatever God speaks to you… go with that.

You’re not the mistakes you’ve made.

27 Sep

I saw this pin on Pinterest yesterday and immediately spent some time worshipping and thanking God that I own this truth in my life.

Mistakes

For YEARS — I couldn’t accept this.  Well, let me rephrase that… *I* knew this and believed it…. but I couldn’t get past that others didn’t believe this about me.

Run, run, run as far and as fast as you can, there will always be people who know about, remember and never let you forget your past mistakes.  And because of that, I clung to a people-pleasing mentality that buried me in shallow, unaccountable, and fake relationships.

I will never forget the day (it was just over a year ago) when I went to bed one night, weeping deeply over sins I’d already asked God for forgiveness for, asked others forgiveness for and repented (a total 180 degree, walk away in the opposite direction completely) from but felt like I’d never ever be free from as long as others viewed me through my failures–when everything changed.

I was laying in my husbands arms sobbing uncontrollably in such deep remorse when he said to me, “Kayla, you may have done these things back then, but this is not who you are now.”

Do you know what it feels like to have someone know very intimate and humiliating secrets, sins and failures and to hear them say – “I don’t see you like that.  You’re beautiful.  I love you.”

I do.

And I just needed my husband to say it to emphasize the Savior living in Him.  On his own, he couldn’t love or forgive like that — but with the power of the Holy Spirit (having been forgiven with the same mercy himself) He has the power to forgive completely, without punishment or  payment, and see me as a totally brand new creation.

Maybe there is someone today that you’re struggling to forgive or accept.

I love the story of the woman at the well with Jesus (John 4:4-26)

In a nutshell, Jesus is thirsty and asks the Samaritan woman for a drink from the well.  She says “I’m a Samaritan and you are a Jew, why are you asking me?”  To which He says “You’re searching for living water — if you just drink this water from the well, you’ll be thirsty again.  Go get your husband”  And she says, “I have no husband.”  He says “you’re right… you have 5.”  She says, “clearly you’re a prophet. I know a Messiah is coming.”  And Jesus says, “I am He.”

How is this story relevant to this post?

Because Jesus looked past who she “appeared to be” and saw HER STORY and the mercy poured out of Him.  She appeared to be a Samaritan Whore.  He had no reason to talk to her.  Not only was she unclean in their culture, she was in clear sin against His Father.

And yet, He looks right at her heart for the story.  You’re thirsty.  You’re chasing something to quench this ache inside of you to be loved.  You’ve married 5 men desperately hoping to fill this void in you for acceptance, need, love, desire and purpose.  I don’t hold these actions against you – this isn’t you and it’s not how I see you.  These things you’ve done, they’re mistakes you’ve made, but I SEE YOU.  I know you’re thirsty and you’re searching.  I forgive you.  I want you.  I love you.  I accept you.

Who is that person in your life today who appears to be a Samaritan whore?  The things they’ve done and said that are cruel and malicious.  The decisions they’ve made that are stupid and heartless.  The actions they’ve committed that there is no justification for whatsoever.  The selfish lifestyle that carelessly neglects their responsibilities.  The lies they’ve told.  The things they’ve stolen physically and emotionally.  The irrational choices that seemingly cannot be explained.

Look deeper.  They have a story.

Maybe they’re searching for acceptance, love or intimacy.  Maybe they’re running from something.  Maybe they’re fighting a childhood scar impressed on them by their parents.  Maybe there is an in grain habitual sin that they want freedom from but can’t escape.  Maybe they’re so insecure from never being affirmed that their attempts to gain security are wildly outlandish from desperation.

Looking for someone’s story does not justify mistakes or sins.  It doesn’t.

Jesus didn’t look at the woman at the well and say “You’ve done the right thing marrying all those men.  Good job.”

Not at all.

When he saw her story He said “You’re NOT the mistakes you’ve made.”

Mistakes are actions — Who we are is defined by who GOD says we are.  And He says, “We’re a Child of the Promise.  A Saint. His beloved Bride.”

Whether you’re trying to forgive someone who is saved or unsaved — God loves them.  He sees their story.  And He wants you to see their story too.

You’ve been forgiven much by a God who saw your many sins and mercifully washed you clean as snow. (And if you haven’t, you can be!)

And if the Holy Spirit lives in you — you have that same power to see someone for who they are — and not the mistakes they’ve made or make.

Even repeat offenders are still making choices — and God is still yearning to draw them to Himself for rest for their weary souls.

Practical Application:

Sit down today and look for the story in the person who seems unforgivable.

Pray for God to allow you to see them the way He sees them.

Let it go.  Mercy says “You don’t owe me anything.”  Stop holding others in prison demanding a payment they can never fully give and isn’t yours to collect.  If Jesus isn’t holding you due for your bail, don’t take it on yourself to demand it from others.

The most freeing day of my life was when I realized I have the power to see someone’s story and embrace that failures do not define anyone.  I stopped being the victim in my own mind and started being the prayer warrior on their behalf.  They don’t have to see me differently.  They don’t have to like me.  I don’t have to like their mistakes or cruel intentions.  But I know exactly how great my sins and the mercy lavished on me for them.  And I would be nowhere without mercy.  And neither will they. I can show them mercy.

Guilty of Gossip

28 May

So & so did such & such & I felt/think _____ about it.

I think there is a very good chance that everyone is guilty of gossip at some point in their life. Male, female, young, old, every race and culture are all familiar with this deadly little sin that is so horrific & sneaky that most people don’t even realize they are gossiping or being gossiped to when it happens.

There are two times in my life when I’m most tempted to gossip.

1.) When I’m hurt by someone.

It is really hard to resist the urge to share in grave detail the situation when I feel hurt, disappointed, wrongly judged or mistreated. Something happens in me that demands for my side to be heard. I desire some justification to the situation. I want someone to agree with me that how I feel is validated and only natural. I want someone to tell me “I have rights” and I don’t have to put up with it. Or at the very least, feel sorry for me for how bad I have it or the sad situation I have to put up with.  I just want to say everything I think and feel to someone who will understand and not try to tell me that I *can’t* feel that way.

2.) When I know that myself and someone else have a mutual dislike or opinion about someone else.

When I experience or hear something about someone I don’t really care for, have a bad relationship with, has hurt someone else I care about, I think makes bad choices and I know someone else agrees with me – it’s so easy to share.  It rolls easily off the tongue and sadly, often leaves me feeling pleasure of some sort. (That feeling never lasts – like all sins of the flesh, it’s only good for a short time and then you’re left in a worse state than before.)

For those of us not living consciously about gossip, we may not even mean to “gossip” when we do. But that doesn’t make it any less wrong.

When we are gossiping, we tell intimate details about others.

Think about this. When your spouse wrongs you and you share it with a friend, do you leave out even a single detail? Usually not. That friend probably knows every single sentence that was spoken and all of your emotions and feelings of being completely devastated by the situation.

When reconciliation happens with your spouse. How often do you share every single detail? What usually happens is we say “Oh, he said this and I said this and we worked it all out. We’re good.”

Now let’s think about what happened for the friend who heard the gossip.

1.) They rarely hear all the incredible details of every day life, but they have now heard intimate and private mistakes and failures about someone and how intensely it hurt someone else that they care about.

2.) They get a quick spun version of the reconciliation, which was probably full of some admission of fault on your part and how much you might have hurt your spouse too (because fighting is NEVER one-sided) and the situation can appear to be that you just “gave in and put up with that jerk.”

3.) Their perception of your spouse is based mostly on failures.

This happens as much as, if not MORE often with friendships. When we talk about people we don’t like to other people, we rarely give a glimpse of any good qualities they may possess. We make them look despicable, evil, malicious, violent, untrustworthy, dishonest, unfaithful, and cruel.

We are allowing our feelings about their mistakes to define them. God help us all if anyone only has a vision of who we are based solely on how someone else feels about our mistakes.

It doesn’t matter what they’ve done or how they’ve hurt me, how I feel about their sin IS NOT a true picture of them, nor is it how God defines them.

Ponder this for a minute. Think about two people who don’t get along with each other.  Now imagine how each of them might make the other sound to you.

It leads me to ask, which one is painting a true picture of the other?

The person you hear from first? The person you are friends with? (Because you know your friend, there is NO WAY they could possibly be leading you on by their raw emotions, all they speak is facts in the midst of their hurt and they never ever hurt other people.) The person who sounds most convincing?

There is no way any person is truly describing the situation in the most honest form when they are:

1.) Placing all the blame on someone else.

2.) Trying to negatively alter your perception of someone.

3.) Exposing someones mistakes as the definition of who they *are* as a human, not just something they have done.

4.) Seem to be gaining satisfaction in getting dirt off their chest or fuel to empower themselves.

5.) Sharing rumors or facts about someone other than themselves that are not edifying to the person they are talking about.

I would love to say that this only happens among unbelievers. But that would be a bold face LIE! Believers can be trapped in this battle as quickly as if not more quickly than unbelievers. Somehow, Satan has convinced us to be crafty in naming it something else. And we have bought into the notion that as long as we do that, it is no longer gossip or sin.

We’ve disguised gossip as:

~ A prayer request.

~ Venting.

~ Seeking advice from a friend.

~ Just giving someone a heads up of the situation.

I do believe seeking advice or counsel from someone when you just feel overwhelmed or defeated by a certain person or situation is definitely a wise thing to do.

But this takes a lot of prayer and discretion. Some things to keep in mind.

1.) One person is enough. (Unless they tell you they feel like they cannot help you in this situation and would like to bring in someone who has more expertise {like dealing with an abusive spouse or something like that}) If you need to tell more than one person, you need to check to make sure your motives REALLY ARE to seek help and counsel, or something from the earlier mentioned list.

2.) Choose someone who DOES NOT KNOW the person you are having an issue with. (You don’t want to alter someone elses perception of someone or give them a reason to find fault or offense.) Don’t go to someone in your church about someone else in your church. Don’t go to a family member about another family member. This is especially true of your spouse. If you share your deepest hurts with your mom, chances are she is going to have a harder time not judging and also forgiving even long after you’re over the problem.

3.) Choose someone who will help you see YOUR sin in the situation. Many fights between spouses escalate or in some way involve the husband feeling disrespected or the wife feeling unloved. When telling the story, you want someone who will not be bias, and will help you see where you can correct your behavior as well as help you let go of your own hurt and show grace. All too often we want to choose someone who will throw their hands in the air and say “You shouldn’t put up with that. I can’t believe he/she treated you that way. You deserve better. I can’t believe what a jerk they are.” This is NOT Godly council.

Practical Application:

~ Confess any instances where I have been or currently am caught up in gossip.

~ Pray over and make a list of anyone I may have wrongly judged based solely on the testimony of someone who didn’t like them or was hurt by them.

~ When tempted to talk about someone, take time to make sure I have the right reasons in mind and I really consider who would be a wise choice for the situation at hand.

~ When listening to my friends, be aware of the “why” behind what they are sharing, and stop the conversation if it is not to seek true Godly help, including seeing their own mistakes and sins.

~ Be the kind of friend who GIVES Godly council instead of fuels the hurt fire.

Hold it together

24 May

Sometimes I really like being an emotional person. I love having emotions! I think it’s incredible that God gifted us with the ability to feel such wonderful feelings in such a deep and powerful way. I know most men don’t understand this – but it’s actually incredibly spiritual to be moved to tears over compassion or joy for ourselves or others!

It’s a beautiful thing to feel mercy (now that God is teaching it to me) compassion, joy, excitement, anticipation, happiness, love, adrenaline and more.

On the flip of that, we also feel negative emotions and feelings. Disappointment, frustration, sadness, embarrassment, jealousy, anger, and bitterness.
Not every negative emotions is sinful. We see from scripture that God is a jealous God who grows sad and angry in numerous different passages of scripture.

But it’s more common for us to struggle with sin when we’re feeling negative emotions.

And here comes my BIG CONFESSION for the day –

I’m HORRIBLE – ABSOLUTELY WRETCHED – at controlling my behavior once I let my emotions take control.

My best friend said it so well yesterday when we were discussing this – she says “what, like when the window breaks so you start slamming cupboard doors?”

Yes. Exactly.

Praise God I have made progress in this area because I at least recognize this behavior and feel immense shame over poor actions and reactions compared to years ago when I felt like my reactions were entitled and deserved.

But, I can’t make any claims to being free from this sin. I still struggle. Right now, because of some circumstances, daily.

It seems like Satan relishes the second we waver over a negative emotion. If he can further feed it, he will. And when negative emotions grow bigger or are combined with other negative emotions, women especially can hit overload quickly.

In the last two weeks, I’ve had three pretty intense meltdowns. (That doesn’t count all the minor ones.) At one point, I even cussed at my kids. And that really made me mad at myself. And the more mad I got at myself for not acting with control the more I cried and wallowed in the negative emotions.

I’m still learning how to hold it together when things seem like they’re falling apart.

-When the kids won’t listen.
-When I don’t feel love.
-When I feel like my needs aren’t being met.
-When I feel like I have more responsibility than I can keep up with.
-When I’ve cleaned up the same mess 2,568 days in a row.
-When I’m hormonal and tired.
-When I’m hurt.
-When I’m being sinned against.
-When someone is talking about me or attacking me.
-When unexpected expenses come up and the finances aren’t there to take care of it.
-When nothing seems to be going right and I can’t fix it.

What I do know is this – Practical Application is possible, though not easy.

1.) Recognize what is happening. The negative momentum loses steam quickly when you are aware of what is happening instead of being controlled subconsciously by it.

2.) Call out the lies. For example – if someone is talking about you, silence it with truth. Who does God say you are? What is true of you? What is true of them if they are behaving that way?
Or, you feel hurt by your husbands actions – Stop the voice in your head that attacks him. Shut it down with truth. Meditate on all the ways he does make you feel loved, all the things you respect about him, and all the wonderful things he does for you and the kids.

3.) Stop and pray for help. This is usually where I fail. I attempt to fight with my own strength and I’m often defeated. We need to act in the spirit to fight the habits of the flesh. Immediately confess your temptation, and ask for God for help in the moment.

4.) Maintain perspective. When something goes wrong, it’s easy to start seeing a multitude of things going wrong. When we see negative, we keep seeing negative. Get your composure and view the situation on a larger scale, maybe even an eternal one.

5.) Wait to talk until you’re calmed down. When you’re feelings some intense negative emotions, it’s best to get composure before trying to talk about it so you don’t react to what you’re feeling and hurt yourself or someone else unintentionally (or even intentionally.)

This practical application is not easy. It’s not one we can do once and be good for life. For me, this is a daily process. Hopefully one I’ll grow better at and stumble less often as I put good habits in place.

And thankfully, my husband is REALLY good at this, and gives me an incredible example to follow. I’ll have to ask him for some of his own tips and maybe come back and share them too!

A mindset adjustment.

15 May

For the first nine or so years of my marriage, I spent a lot of time on wasted arguments.

The discussion (because it never started as an argument) would start by my expressing an opinion of how I felt about something. Sometimes my opinions were based on experience, sometimes perception, sometimes convictions, sometimes struggles, and sometimes enjoyment.

The thing about an opinion is that they are formed out of what we believe is true, or should be true.
No one ever forms an opinion on the grounds that, I don’t really believe this or this is obviously wrong, but I’m going to make up this opinion anyway.

What did this mean for our discussions?

Simply put, if my husband was of the same opinion, it meant intimacy. And if he was of a different opinion, it meant an escalated discussion into an argument.

Many years went by before I realized that the reason the discussion escalated so drastically and intensely was because I instantly didn’t care *what* we were discussing anymore, and actually was now upset because I couldn’t change his opinion and I felt it was wrong. Or that he wasn’t as spiritual as I was. Or that he didn’t care about my feelings as much as I thought he should. Or that he didn’t have the priorities he should.

I’ll give you a real life scenario.

For years, my husband and I would argue about the television. The minute he hit the door, it was turned on. And it wasn’t turned off until the sleep timer turned it off after he had fallen asleep.

I hate television. I think it steals family time. I think it brings temptation into the home. I think it desensitizes us to sin. I think it makes what is very wrong with the world, seem funny and humorous. I think it allows men to lust even with their wives sitting beside them. And it causes women to struggle with body image. I think it often portrays men as stupid and weak. And women as superior and worthy of leaving their husbands. I feel lit brings in foul language and rude talk.

I don’t find it entertaining and I struggle deeply with some of those above things I mentioned.

I don’t love the TV being on, but the bigger problem was that I felt like my husband should feel/say/do/think/act a certain way, and he wasn’t, and I became very judgmental and prideful.

This same scenario played out in a number of ways in my marriage, not just with television.

It took me a long time to realize the fighting would stop when I looked at my own sin, and when I accepted a mindset adjustment.

Just because my husband doesn’t have my same opinions DOES NOT mean he’s WRONG, LESS SPIRITUAL, UNLOVING, SELFISH, or PROUD.

What if he was of the mindset that I had to agree to all his opinions?

And if I am right and he needs convicted of something, I am not going to be successful at that. I can’t play the Holy Spirit. In fact, my “help” is almost always going to slow the process down and interfere with what the Holy Spirit is trying to do.

I know it’s really hard to accept differences. And sometimes it really hurts. I want my husband to hate things that are a temptation or struggle for me. I want him to have the same priorities I do so my feelings don’t get hurt. And I want to feel like we agree on everything because that gives me a boost of intimacy in the relationship.
But when he has a different opinion, that does not mean he’s sinning against me.

However, what I do with my disappointment or hurt, can cause me to sin against him.

I am not perfect, and I still struggle in this area. It’s a daily dying to self (especially for women) to keep this part of our life pure and holy.

But thankfully now, most of the time, I am able to hold my tongue and redirect my thoughts more easily since I’ve seen my sin and want to live a more righteous life before my husband and before God. And I catch myself more quickly when I do stumble.

Practical Application:

Evaluate your disagreements. Are they opinion or factual based arguments? Are you upset with the problem or the fact that he doesn’t agree with you? Is your husband sinning, or just disagreeing with your standards/priorities? (That’s a tough question and often hurts our feelings when we really face it.)

Adjust your mindset. Allow for different opinions. Choose your words more wisely. Avoid discussions that turn the topic in a negative light. Focus on what you do agree on and both enjoy. Remember that pride, judgment, disrespect, and hurtful words ARE sins against your husband so in your anger or disappointment, do not sin.

Pray. If you really feel like something needs changed – ask God to convict your husband or change his opinion. The Holy Spirit can do a work you can NEVER do on your own. Trust God to work if the work needs done.