Sunday, March 13, 2011

Submission and Complaining (otherwise known as "venting")

I'm not quite sure how to write this post.  And I know it isn't going to come out perfect.  And I know that I will have lots of people all offended at it... But it's heavy on my heart and it's important to me to share it.

I will start by saying that this post is directed to my sisters in Christ.  Those that have not placed their lives at the feet of God, professed to live for Him and die to self- you are not who this post is directed toward.  You may grow from the things I am going to share as well, but it is directed toward those who have placed their faith in the One who paid for their imperfection.

My husband was recently on a men's retreat with the men of our church.  During the time he was gone, I spent time in prayer for the men who lead us, and the women they serve.  I prayed for our men, but I also prayed for their wives.  I asked the Lord what things were out of balance, what things I, as a wife, could do to help my husband.  I have heard plenty of concern from wives about their husbands not being strong leaders in the home, especially by way of spiritual leadership.  I believe that if we go about this in a mature direction, in hopes of actually solving the problem, we must seek the Lord about what our part in this is.  What have I done that has helped this problem exist?  And what can I do to help change it?

Well, the Lord gave me some answers to this question for me.  While they may be directed toward me, I believe that they carry over for many women, thus the reason for this post.

First, He showed me that my perspective was, backwards in fact.  I've been living with my own set of dreams for our family, seeking our path from the Lord, seeking where He wants to take us as a family.   Does this sound a little backward to anyone?  For some, it may seem about right...but well, that's not exactly my job.  I am to pray for our family and seek the Lord on what I should be doing, but that should fit within the bounds of my husband's dreams and goals.  You see, woman was created for man.  I was created to be his helper, not the other way around.  But my culture has caused me to believe that is settling and living under a man's oppression, when in fact, it is not.  I wasn't leaving my husband out of those dreams and goals, I wasn't directing him...but I have had vision of where we would go as a family.  And I feel like this part is coming out wrong, but I don't know how else to say it.

I was created to help my husband in his dreams.  I was made for him.  For him.  To help him.  Does that mean I am not my own person?  Not at all.  I don't have to ask his permission for every little thing.  But my main focus should be seeking the ways that I can help further my husband's calling.  That IS my calling.  Can I have other calls on top of that?  Of course.  But they cannot scratch out the first one.  I am wife.  I am mother.

There are situations where a man is not living within the dreams and goals of the Lord.  That is why it is so important for a young lady to choose a man who is living the direction she wants to be going.  But God is not outside of redeeming those who have made an unwise choice.  There is just much more work and discomfort in the process.  But that is not my point for this post.  If a husband is not dreaming with Godly perspective, then we reach point number two. 

The second thing I was convicted in is complaining.  This is often referred to as venting, though there are other things we call complaining as well.  All of which are talking about the one we should respect in a negative way without the intention of resolution.  That means resolution through that conversation.  There are times when I think it is important to discuss issues with our mentor or a counselor, but to vent to friends is normally not done in a way that is directed at solving the problem.  It is not done to self examine, nor to ask for Godly advice.  "Venting", as I am talking about it, is for the purpose of "getting it off my chest".

God spoke to me clearly regarding this.  He said, "Don't complain.  Contend."

Those words have been through my brain time and time again since I heard them.  Don't complain.  Contend.  I am still amazed at every prayer the Lord answers for me, even though He answers my every prayer.  I don't understand that, but that doesn't change the fact that I was brought to tears today by a prayer so specifically answered.  Tears and a desire to jump up and down and hug Jesus.  Literally.  I wished I could.  So, to contend on my knees will get me much farther than I will go if I complain.  And I want change!  I don't want people to feel sorry for me  (though sometimes I must admit, in the moment I do), I want actual change.

The Bible talks many times about our words and taming the tongue, refraining from speaking.  Check out Proverbs and you will get plenty right there, though that's not your only proof.  So, I need to take care in the things that I say about my husband, and really anyone.  I feel that this carries over to other relationships as well.  Don't complain, contend!

Every time I am frustrated, every time I want to complain, or just "vent" about my husband, my prayer is that I would stop and contend for him on the level of prayer.  To complain is a disservice to my husband and to God, but to contend is a great blessing.  To have a spouse that battles in prayer for me when he sees something that I am falling short in would be the greatest gift I could ever receive (notice I didn't say he points it out every time).  For I believe in the power of prayer.  I believe that whatever I ask in my savior's name, he will give me. 

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24 (and read the story before about the fig tree starting at verse 12...when I read that I was thinking- what the heck?  Why did Jesus curse the tree?  It wasn't fig season, the tree was doing what it was supposed to.  It seems silly...what is your opinion of why?  (I'd just like to know on that one...) 

If you say, "Yes, but I have many things I have asked for and not received..." then check those prayers against James 4:2,3 "...You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

My sisters in the Lord, I ask that you look at these things I have been convicted of and see if they match up with any sin in your own lives as well.  I believe that we would grow much in the body if our men would rise up and we, as women, would step aside and allow them to do it.

O Lord, soften our hearts and transform the way we interact with our husbands.  Bring change to our lives that we may better reflect You and bring You glory.