Has This Journey Gotten Easier for Me?

Posted on March 10, 2014 by


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This is my perspective on my journey in response to Kayla’s post yesterday “An Update to My Demon”

The first two years of my journey felt like complete emotional and spiritual contortion every single day. It was VERY difficult, awkward and totally foreign. After about 2.5 years, I began to not have to struggle as much to know what was respectful vs. disrespectful and I began to be able to do/say the respectful thing a lot more naturally without having to go through a big battle most of the time.  BUT – I spent those 2.5 years studying, reading,  praying, begging God to teach me for multiple hours every single day and I read over 30 books on godly marriage during that time and biblical femininity. I felt like I was getting a college degree in this stuff!

In the past two years, I have probably spent way over 4000 hours (I would guess a minimum of 30-40, but sometimes 50 hours per week) writing about the subjects of respect, biblical submission, godly femininity and godly marriage.  So – that has probably helped to keep me extremely focused on this topic, I would daresay.

Every woman’s story is different. Every woman’s timetable is different. I have seen some women for whom all of this seemed to “click” within WEEKS. But I have seen some women for whom it has taken 10 years or longer for things to really settle in their minds about becoming a godly wife and woman. There are MANY factors involved!  Please check out this post to see how the stages often go (by Nina Roesner, author of The Respect Dare).  Even after we lay our idols down, we may struggle with the temptation to pick them back up, sometimes for months or years or longer. But sometimes struggling can come from sin we are still cherishing in our hearts. Other times, it is just plain spiritual warfare. Or, it may just be that it takes time for us to learn and process and absorb all that God has for us to learn. It is not usually an instantaneous thing, but a process of growth and maturation.

  • Is respecting my husband and biblically submitting to him now easier than it was those first 2-2.5 years?  

YES!!!!!  For me, YES!  Definitely.  When I say “easier” what I mean is, I understand very clearly now, usually, what is respectful and what is disrespectful. I don’t have to agonize for days over if something is disrespectful or not like I used to. It doesn’t feel like complete contortion anymore. I feel much more fluent in understanding men, Greg, respect, biblical submission and godly femininity. Doing the respectful thing comes pretty naturally now. But I do need the power of God to do this. I cannot do it on my own!

  • Do I spend so much time listening to my sinful nature/demon now?  

No. Of course, that answer could change if I don’t resist his voice in God’s power or if I don’t abide in Christ! I am completely capable of falling in any way if I don’t have my Power Source – God’s Spirit. If I am far enough away from God, I am totally able to crash and burn.

That voice is still there. Yes. But usually, I immediately recognize the source and resist him and submit to Christ as soon as possible. I may have to take a break and stop what I am doing and go pray. That is ok! I seek to take each thought captive immediately and not allow those evil thoughts to marinate in my mind for hours or days or weeks or months like I did before. Only through the power of God’s Spirit working in me, I can see the lies for what they are and see the attacks and realize that if I cave in to those temptations, I will grieve my Lord’s heart so greatly and I will destroy my husband, whom I dearly love. I so do not want to do that! It is not worth it!

Now, I am able to see the price tag on my disrespect, and it is usually just not much of a temptation to disrespect Greg or try to control Greg when I have God’s power in my heart. I don’t feel tempted to belittle Greg, criticize him, yell at him, demand my way, try to control him, lecture him, try to be His Holy Spirit, demean him, berate him, scold him, etc…  I know now that if I were to give in to those things, I would cost myself SERIOUS intimacy with Christ and with Greg and I cannot afford to do that. I would set us back months, maybe years if I allowed myself to luxuriate in accusations against Greg like I used to or if I went off on him like I used to.

  • Is God’s Voice a Lot Stronger Now?

God’s voice is MUCH stronger now for me – but that doesn’t mean His voice is loud. I hear it more clearly now. I am LISTENING much more now. His voice is not loud at all. The voice of sinful temptation is LOUD, obnoxious, urgent, incessant, unrelenting and pressing. It feels SO IMPORTANT to act on that voice ASAP! The sinful voice tells me to do things that I would really LIKE to do – to “vent” or to “give someone a piece of my mind” or to “make things happen my way.”

I can only hear God’s voice when I am very still – soaking in His presence, walking in the power of His Spirit, living in obedience, seeking Him with all my heart. Many times, what He asks me to do is stuff that I don’t want to do at first. Sometimes I don’t hear Him about certain things – like right now, I have not heard Him about exactly how to publish the book I wrote. So I am waiting until I have clear direction. I don’t want to run ahead of Him like I used to do all the time!  God tends to say things softly like:

  • “Go repent to Greg/his parents/your parents/your family/your children for your disrespect/pride/control.”  I REALLY didn’t want to do any of that, but I knew God was asking me to, so I did!
  • “Trust Me on this.” Sometimes if Greg made a decision I didn’t agree with, I would hear God tell me that He has it, and then I could just rest in His sovereignty and love, trusting the outcome with Him.
  • “Stop reading your Bible and being mad that Greg isn’t doing a devotional with the family right now and go cuddle with Greg and the kids and enjoy them.” (That was SO OBVIOUSLY God speaking to me that night about 2 years ago. I didn’t want to stop reading my Bible. I hated watching TV. I wanted to make the whole family read the Bible and pray with me. But, I went and cuddled with my family and enjoyed them, reluctantly. How sad is that!?)
  • “Write about this topic on the blog.”  Sometimes, in the spring of 2012, I would say, “God, are You sure? I mean, if I write about THAT, no one will ever want to read my blog again? But this is Your ministry and Your blog and these are Your sheep. I trust You to bring whomever You wish to the blog and trust You to give me the messages You want me to share from Your heart. I won’t look at numbers to measure my success, but only my obedience to You.” I would expect the numbers to drop the next day as everyone decided not to read my blog anymore, but every single time that I believed God specifically wanted me to write about something very difficult and “controversial,” the numbers would surge later. I didn’t understand it. But I learned to trust God and to be willing to write about whatever He impressed on my heart to write.
  • “Relax and be still. Stop being so busy. Just be still and know that I am God.”
  • “You are spending way too much time in ministry, and not enough time with Me.”
  • Many times, God speaks to me through His Word, or through a Christian song, or through Greg, or through other believers.

Do I have struggles?

YEP!

The struggles have changed somewhat as I have continued on this journey. My primary temptations now would probably be:

  • BALANCING my time wisely between God, my family, my job, my home and ministry. I am pretty awful at balance and moderation. This has been one of my greatest struggles.
  • Being still before God. I have to force myself and quiet myself and make myself turn off any distractions (have to mute the computer so I don’t hear emails come in) and just be in complete silence with just me, God’s Word, a pen, my notebook and maybe some coffee and oatmeal or french toast. 🙂
  • Being patient when we are running late as a family.
  • Resting and relaxing – I am HORRIBLE at this!
  • Responding firmly but still gently when my children are not obeying – if I am going to lose my temper, it will be about this!
  • Remembering that I cannot open anyone’s eyes. Sometimes I get frustrated when someone’s eyes are not opening and not opening and not opening. Last January, Greg asked me to stop emailing with one particular wife. I kept emailing multiple times a day for 6 months, and she never did understand and never did wake up. I kept thinking, “She’s going to understand today! She’s almost there!” I tend to not want to “give up” on them and keep trying to explain and explain and explain. I don’t want to shake the dust off of my feet and leave someone in pain, sin and misery. I want to help them see that God has opened the prison door and they can run out of that dark, horrible cell into God’s incredible freedom, joy, peace, light and abundant life! But – I am not the Holy Spirit. I have to remind myself of that OFTEN!
  • I am looking at a much more global scale than just my marriage now. I am also always mindful that everything I think, say and do is an example to thousands of other women. I try to share when I mess up with Greg or when I have struggles so that y’all can see I am human, not some perfect woman who is “better than” anyone. I am definitely not better than anyone!!!! I am but dust. And I am the chief of sinners. Any good in me is totally a God thing.
  • I ALWAYS have to check for pride or self-righteousness and shoot that horrible sinful mess down as soon as I see it rear its head and turn immediately to Jesus.
  • If I allow myself to get way out of balance and try to give too much of myself without being filled with God – I will find myself beginning to feel resentful towards those I want to help. I CANNOT DO THIS ON MY OWN! I HAVE HAVE HAVE to be filled up with God!
  • Handling people who are very hateful can be a challenge sometimes. My husband asks me to “not waste your time” on people that are extremely verbally abusive and spend time on the people who want to learn. I tend to want to try to reach out to them and share the love of Christ and hope with them. I want so much to bless them (and every single person on the planet) with the power of God. So, I do struggle with how exactly to respond at times when people attack me and vehemently oppose me – particularly when they completely misunderstand me and misrepresent me and my husband and our marriage and make all kinds of false accusations and wrong assumptions. That hurts. One lady’s words did make me cry last year. She was so vicious! I pray for each of them, that God might bring them to Himself. I thank God for the persecution. I try to move on and grow and learn from the experience.
  • PMS is so much better now than it used to be for me. Sometimes, I will have a day or two where I am quite emotional and I have to be sure not to give weight to my feelings those days. I do have to be careful not to let evil thoughts get a foot in the door, especially on those hormonal days. I haven’t hit peri-menopause yet. That will probably be an extra special long term challenge!
  • If there is constructive criticism, I am open to learning and being sharpened and thankful for it. But it definitely takes the power of God to respond in a godly way even to constructive criticism.
  • I tend to veer towards being overly responsible for women. That is not a gift to them! I want so much to help and bless women – but it HAS to be God’s way, not my way. I want to see them out of pain and misery and experiencing God’s peace, joy and abundant life – and I want that ASAP for everyone. I have to be very careful that I am not making them depend on me, but that I am pointing them only to Jesus, not my wisdom or my advice or my thoughts.
  • I also have to be careful not to try to rush people but allow them to take this journey at the pace they need to take it.
  • I have to be super careful with men to keep them at arms’ length. It breaks my heart to see men feeling disrespected by their wives, knowing how they could blossom and grow so much stronger if they had their wives’ respect. I know basically what they need. But I cannot be the one to give them this feminine respect. That would be incredibly dangerous! I have to very diligently guard my heart and seek to honor Greg, God, our marriage, other people’s marriages. It could be easy to give a man a little respect to try to boost him up a bit. I can give a very small amount of respect. But I have to keep the “respect volume knob” WAY DOWN LOW and greatly minimize my contact with them. I do always copy Greg on any emails with men. But I don’t email men much at all – it is just better that way generally.
  • I don’t watch romantic movies or read romantic books. It is too easy for me to feel jealous or to want that fictional romantic connection. I just don’t go there.
  • I cannot read about what husbands should do. That is just a disaster waiting to happen. I can’t read about a husband praying with his wife or leading his family in specific ways – it knocks me off balance if I do that. I have to keep my mind on Philippians 4:8 things and being thankful for what I have, trusting God to work in my husband’s heart for His will and His glory in His way and His timing.

I know that I am a target and I have an enemy. I am so thankful that my Lord is much stronger than my enemy. I pray that He might direct my steps. I trust Him. If I have Him, His Spirit, His power, His Word and am in His will –  I know I will be where I want to be. God is able to give me victory over potential struggles/temptations and He is able to keep me in perfect peace as I trust Him with these things!

DO I STILL HAVE STUFF TO LEARN?

Absolutely!!!!!!  I have thousands of miles to go on this journey. I am not an expert or perfect in any way. But God is able to give me victory! I can’t wait to see all that God has for me to learn. I want to know Him more and more.

THE PAYOFF

Jesus is the GREATEST TREASURE of my life. In Him I have all the joy, peace, power, strength, love, acceptance, purpose, fulfillment and spiritual gifts of heaven. I NEVER EVER want to go back to my old ways. I love living in His joy and peace daily. I am completely addicted to Him. It is my prayer that each of you might experience the abundant life Christ has for you.

Much love, my precious sisters!

RELATED:
Stages of This Journey

 

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