Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My secret weapon!

When we got married I thought that (of course!) life would be easy.  I was marrying my best friend.  Not only were we madly in love with each other, but we had a pretty good understanding of what real love was about.  We knew everything about each other (sarcasm added!).  And I was excited to submit.  It was going to be great!

Fast forward three weeks and a new unwelcome feeling entered our home.  I was hurt.  Often.  Mostly I felt unimportant to my husband.  Every time he chose to go hang out with the guys, work late, or just wanted us to do something other than just stay home, I felt hurt.  Unloved.  Like I wasn't interesting enough for him.  At that point I was perfectly happy to spend all of my days curled up in his arms (okay, so maybe I still am!) and the thought that sometimes that was "boring" for him hurt me.

I still wanted to be the best wife ever.  After all, I had been ingrained with the philosophy of "You don't have to act the way you feel".  A very sound and important way of thinking!  However, there seems to be only so long you can go on acting one way when you feel very differently.  Shallow?  Yes. True?  I found it to be.  When your heart feels like crying, there is only so long you can go on smiling.  And the ugliness began to pour out.  There were all the classics.  The deep sigh.  The pursed lips.  The sullen face.  While my lips might have said, "Sure Babe, go ahead.  Have fun."  my whole body was shouting "Go if you dare!". 

"I can't change the way I feel." was my mantra.  He hurt me.  I felt hurt.  I did my "best" not to act hurt, but there's only so much a body can do.  These were not fun days.  The poor husband was trying his best to balance loving his wife (who at times was and is a little difficult to understand) and living a life that is responsible.  The wife in the meantime was taking every questionable action and turning it into "He doesn't care about me. I'm hurt.".

Then one day I heard a thought that literally transformed our relationship!  Many of you will laugh at the simplicity of this, but to this day it is the greatest tool that the Lord uses to shape my attitude as a wife.  You CAN change the way you feel!

What?!?  I don't believe it!  Hadn't I spent countless hours willing myself to feel differently?  It doesn't work! When I was sad it didn't matter how much I said "Be happy.  Be happy.  Be happy." I still was sad.  But here was the secret;  While it may be impossible  very difficult to change the way you feel, our thoughts determine the way we feel.  Don't believe it?  I didn't either.  So I had to test it out.

The Lord graciously provided the perfect opportunity that very night!  David called that afternoon telling me what time he would be home for dinner, 6:00, adding that first he was going to stop by a friend's house to install his new truck radio.  I was determined to think correctly. "I have a wonderful husband. He works so hard for me every day. He actually called to tell me when he would be home! Wow do I love him!". I set about preparing a wonderful dinner to welcome him home with, feeling quite great.

Time passed.  6:00.  Dinner was hot.  Table was set.  I was ready!  No husband.  6:30.  The thoughts started bickering.  "He's late. He doesn't care enough to pay attention to the time. Something must have come up that was outside of his control."

7:30.  Dinner was cold.  The thoughts were arguing by this time.  "Why would he even bother to say he's coming home at a certain time if he's just going to ruin my plans?  I'm sure that he is as upset as I am that he's not home.  He could change his circumstances if he really wanted to, he is a grown man after all.  I'm so thankful to have a man who is faithful and reliable in all that he does, not only to me but to others."

8:30.  Dinner was in the refrigerator.  The thoughts were in an all out brawl! "This is just like him!  This is why I always feel like this.  He really doesn't care!  Everything else is more important than I am!  He probably hasn't even considered how I feel.  I don't mean anything to him!  My husband is a good man.  My husband shows me that he loves me in many different ways.  My husband cares for me diligently.  I would rather be married to my husband than anyone else in the world."

9:00.  He calls.  "Hi Babe. I'm so sorry that I'm not home. I can't believe this radio installation is taking so long.  I really miss you and can't wait to get home.  I love you so much!".  By the grace of God I was able to say with my whole heart, "That's okay!  I'll heat dinner up whenever you get back.  I hope that the radio works out for you and I can't wait to see you!". 

I knew this was the moment for me to decide.  What am I going to choose to think?  I decided to plunge in with both feet.  Circumstances aside, I decided to go for the truth. "I am married to an amazing man of God.  It is such a privilege to be his wife.  I am so blessed to make his dinner, clean his home, give him a kiss and a smile.  This is exactly where I've always wanted to be.  I know that he loves me.  Even if me doesn't completely understand me, he tries his best to honor me at all times.  He is the hardest working man I know.  I respect him more than any man I know.  He is the most handsome man alive!"

These were the thoughts that kept me company that night, and as 11:00 rolled around and my husband finally pulled in the driveway, I was ecstatic to see him, kiss him and serve him his reheated dinner.  We had a fabulous time together.  My heart was filled with love for this man who was five hours late.  Believe me, it felt so much better than the hurt, loneliness and self-pity that I usually felt.  Circumstances hadn't changed at all.  But everything was different!

2 Corinthians 10:5 ~  "We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

The Bible tells us that this is one of out greatest weapons with which we can demolish strongholds!  Taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ. 

I'm telling you now, this really and truly is the key that frees my heart from being consumed with my rights, my feelings and my disappointments.  And let me stress, this is only by the grace of God.  Why am I writing about this now?  Because I could use the reminder!  I can use this reminder every day.  And this applies to so many areas of life for me.  Whenever I feel unappreciated, annoyed, or hurt, I can almost always trace it back to my thought life and what I choose to dwell on.  I fail.  Embarrassingly often!  But when I fail, I know what to do!

Remember to seek the truth my sisters!  Remember to be thankful in all circumstances! And please remember to remind me as often as you can!


Johanna said...

GREAT reminder! Thanks for this post. I should keep a link to it and read it again every so often! So easy to forget!

Karen said...

Thank you Grace! This is an important thing for all of us to remember, no matter who are where we are!

Charlene said...

Thank you for this great reminder!

Aly sun said...

So true I'm crying here Grace. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. Just what I needed to be reminded of today. I wasted so many years feeling anger toward my husband about this very thing... I'm getting better. It's still hard though because no matter how hard I kick my selfish self to the door, she lingers outside looking for a weak moment. And I have them often (especially in the summer months).

Amanda said...

Well said Grace! I had such similiar struggles my first year (or two) of marriage as well. I am so thankful that my husband was so patient with me through my selfishness and even more thankful that God showed me just how ugly my attitude was!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful reminder, Grace. You are so real! Thanks for sharing -- you are such an inspiring role model to me. I love you! ~Jessica

Theresa said...

Grace ~ I think I've concluded out of the 10+ blogs I read often, you are my favorite.

Keep being REAL and thank you for this post. I'm printing this off and slipping it into my journal because I need this reminder daily. I CAN (through Jesus!) CHANGE MY ATTITUDE...not just TRY or PRETEND to have a good one. So true.

BTW - I just read the descriptions of your first 2 daughters...and they match EXACTLY to my oldest two! So fun!

Angie said...

What an excellent post Grace! I could have written this during my first few years of marriage.:) I definitely still need the reminder now! Thank you for the excellent read!

Staci said...

Thank you Grace! this is such a battle for me, I even found myself arguing with your blog! LOL, I really need to take back control over my thoughts and stop letting them have control over me. How sad that we can sometimes let our thoughts ruin our happy times. (LOL, and experience would have taught us to take advantage of those free hours with our projects!)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Grace for your willingness to be open and vulnerable and to share what God has done in your heart. It encourages the rest of us to take a second look at our own lives and attitudes and to continue to submit them to the Lord's will and put God and our husbands first. I have always enjoyed our long talks and the lessons I've learned from you over the years. I am SO blessed to have a friend like you! Love you! ~Theresa

Aly sun said...

This is going on "drops" tomorrow! Thanks for sharing. It applies to all of us!


Sarah, aka Beyond All Measure said...

Grace, what a wonderfully moving post. I have learned this concept in my own life and it has help tremendously. Your post was so well written... it moved me to tears! I heard it said one "What flies around in your head settles in your heart" meaning what we allow ourselves to think will determine how we ultimately feel. I so needed to be reminded of this today. I have linked to this post from my blog @

http://thepursuitofgodlywomanhood.blogspot.com/2011/05/graces-secret-weapon.html (I wasn't sure how to do a trackback).

Blessing on you and yours my dear sweet friend!