In a recent prayer time, God gently confronted me. He asked me this simple question. Are you going to be a slave to your to-do-list today, or are you going to focus on bringing me glory? Here is another way of posing the question for both you and me: Are you working tirelessly to bring yourself glory as the “perfect wife’, “perfect mother”, perfect Christian, etc, or are you releasing your day to God and asking him to show you what to do and what NOT to do in order to bring HIM glory?
Oh man! Busted. To be honest, I tend to drive myself to always do more and do it better, because I want to look good in other people’s eyes. I become exhausted and stressed in the process. The good news is that God didn’t design us to be people-pleasers. Yes, we are to love people, but our focus shouldn’t be on doing whatever they want. Our focus also shouldn’t be trying to look good in people’s eyes. The Bible reminds us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?”
I am confident that if you and I were both to release our days to God and ask Him to guide us, we would find much more peace! We would be free of performance-exhaustion. We would find freedom from approval exhaustion. Instead, we would be free to follow God’s promptings, which will lead to greater joy and peace than we’ve ever known. In fact, if you listen for God’s voice, he might even tell you to take a nap or relax while listening to praise music! God’s Word promises that those who seek to follow Him (instead of following their own agenda) will enter peace! (Isaiah 57:2 says, “For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace.” And Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
I’m going to propose a radical shift in perspective. Some of you might not be ready, but I’m hoping you are. Here it is. Instead of praying for God to change your husband so that you’re happier, pray that God’s will be done in your marriage and in your husband. In other words, pray that God accomplishes what HE wants to do in your husband’s life. Catch the vision of partnering with God in prayer for the things HE wants to do in your man!
Where did I get this shift in perspective? Right smack in the middle of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-10 “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
What does this mean in your marriage? It means that you stop focusing on getting God to change your husband so that he does things your way and makes you happy. Instead, you ask God what HIS will is for your husband, and you start praying fervently for God to mold and shape and transform your husband into the mighty man of God that the Lord wants him to be! God doesn’t intend for your husband to be an unbeliever who is stuck in sinful patterns with no joy or peace!
Here are 3 things we know to be God’s will for your husband, so start praying these 3 things in addition to whatever else God reveals to you:
That he would be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4 God desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth)
That he would turn from sinful patterns and surrender to God’s leadership. (2 Peter 3:9 He does not want any to perish, but that all should reach repentance)
That he would find joy, peace and hope in his relationship with Christ. (Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.)
An awesome benefit of praying this way is that God will slowly transform your husband in just the right ways that will be a blessing to you and the whole family!
Selfishness. It’s such an unattractive character quality, right?! I’ve always thought most men are pretty selfish, and perhaps many are. However, God’s been convicting me of my own selfishness! Ugh. It can be a very subtle thing for women. In fact, selfishness is often found in a woman’s thought-life. She may think things like this: My husband should be more romantic toward me. How can I convince my husband that my way is right? My husband isn’t really making me happy anymore. I married him because he’s supposed to make me happy! And the thoughts go on and on.
I’m becoming convicted neither wives nor husbands will find much joy in marriage when we only look out for what we want and what we think will make us “happy”. Actually, true joy comes from serving others and thinking of how we can bless them. It is so counter-intuitive! However, it is also so Biblical. Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” Maybe you should try to look at life from your husband’s perspective this week and really try to understand his point of view during disagreements. Maybe you could intentionally build him up each day and voice your appreciation for big and small things he does. How could you bless him this week?
P.S. I know some of you are thinking, “Why should I be the only one doing this? What about my husband?” Well, how about if you clean up your side of the street first? I have a strong hunch that your entire marriage will improve and your husband’s heart will be drawn to you. Are you willing to give it a try?
My husband led a large men’s ministry called Band of Brothers For Christ for many years, and as a result, he got to talk to hundreds of husbands about their marriages. One day, I asked my husband what 2 things he believes most husbands wish their wives understood about men. Here’s what he said:
1) That he needs to be valued by you. In other words, he wants to hear you appreciate the things he does for you and the family. He needs to be needed.
2) That you would appreciate his efforts….efforts to grow spiritually and in character, and that you would be patient and encouraging during that process. My husband said it takes time for a man to break free from all the temptations of the world and the lusts of his flesh, and that it’s super helpful if his wife acknowledges any forward progress he’s making, no matter how small.
After my husband explained this to me, it occurred to me that wives will automatically start filling these needs in our men when WE seek to follow God’s instructions on “how to love” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
We are all so prone to dwell on what we don’t have. For instance, you might spend lots of mental time and energy longing for a more romantic husband. Or maybe you rehearse over and over again the many qualities your husband lacks! You may be a single woman reading this devotion, and you may be spending lots of energy and time trying to capture a man who can become your husband!
Here’s the thing. We can easily spend so much time focusing on what we don’t have…and trying to manipulate people and circumstances to get what we want…that we don’t even enjoy the many blessings God has actually given us. We can miss out on the life we have!
Colossians 2:6-7 reminds us, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” You and I need to focus on the many things for which we can be thankful. What good people has God placed in your life? How has God provided for you? Dwell on those things and be thankful. When you stop focusing on what you don’t have, you’ll finally be able to truly enjoy all the blessings that you do have!