Hello. My name is Debbie Chavez, and I’m a list-aholic. Yes, I admit it. I love being super- organized, and I love “accomplishing” a lot every day. It makes me feel good about myself. In fact, my compulsion to accomplish tons of stuff everyday is so bad…..if I do something that was not on my list, I actually add it onto my list so that I can scratch it out!
There is nothing wrong with completing many tasks each day, and there is certainly nothing wrong with being organized, but when we become a slave to our lists, we have a problem. How about you? Are you a list-acholic? Here’s what I’ve been noticing lately. When I become a slave to my to-do list, I am not a very peaceful wife. I become a driven person, and I’m not flexible enough to respond to new situations or needs in my family. Perhaps we need to meditate on the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:40-42. Martha was busy bustling about with tasks, while Mary sat peacefully at the feet of Jesus. Jesus gently rebuked Martha in verse 42 saying, “Martha, Martha…you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed, or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…”
So, maybe you and I should stop being neurotic about our lists! I am still making a list each day, but unless something on that list is absolutely critical, I’m allowing myself to skip some of the items in order to respond to my husband or children if I can see that they could use my help or encouragement. I believe this adjustment makes me more like the 1 Peter 3 wife. She is described as having a gentle, quiet spirit. I don’t think she could be quiet and peaceful if she was running around like a chicken with her head cut off! She obviously wasn’t a slave to a long to-do-list. The question is: Do you need to re-evaluate your lists?
You’ve heard the expression “You are what you think”. Well it’s true, and unfortunately many women stay stuck in oppression, poverty, chaos, and loneliness because of the stinking thoughts the enemy has whispered to them repeatedly over the years. Often these women truly did suffer a wounding event in the past, but the enemy piles on by getting them to believe lies about their identity, their abilities, God’s ability, and their future.
These lies, that then become our “stinking thinking”, may sound something like this: “I’m unlovable”… “I can’t handle this”… “I’ll never get over this”… “I’m broken”… “I’m not able to”… “It’s hopeless”… “God doesn’t seem to care”… “I can never trust anyone”…
It’s time we start bossing around these thoughts! The minute you hear one of those thoughts in your head, remind yourself that the enemy of your soul WANTS you to embrace that stinking thinking so that he can keep you oppressed! Jesus WANTS you to have the opposite…a fulfilling life! John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Ladies, it’s time we take a stand and refuse to align our thoughts with the devil. The moment those negative, hopeless thoughts enter your mind, immediately coach your soul with the truth. Here are a couple of truths to get you started: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”-Philippians 4:13…”He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”-Psalm 40:2…..”If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”-Romans 8:31-32…”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight”-Proverbs 3:5-6
— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE
Have you ever caved in when you should have set boundaries in a relationship because of the “what if” questions? What if he leaves me? What if he leaves me and I won’t be able to take care of myself? What if he gets really upset if I confront him? What if….?
When you find yourself paralyzed with fear because of the “what if” questions, it usually means one of three things. Either you don’t really trust God when he says in Hebrews 13:5 that he will never leave you nor forsake you. Or it means you have allowed the spirit of fear to dominate your thoughts. Or it could mean that you have become your own worst enemy and convinced yourself you’ll never be able to set boundaries and stick to them. In other words, you’ve pummeled yourself with negative self-talk!
You CAN overcome these paralyzing fears. How about choosing to trust God’s promise to never leave your side (Hebrews 13:5)? Maybe it’s time to command the spirit of fear to leave you, in the name of Jesus (2 Timothy 1:7). Perhaps you need to stop telling yourself that you’ll fall to pieces if you respectfully draw a firm boundary. Coach your soul just like King David did throughout the Psalms. Tell yourself you will not crumble. Remind yourself you will not fall apart. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” With Jesus by your side, you have all you need.
None of us welcomes emotional pain and heartbreak. Yet, on this earth, we know we will encounter trials and pain. Often, that pain is experienced in our marriage. We can get really frustrated that God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayer to “fix” our marriage or husband! But Jesus never promised he would take away all our problems during our temporary stay on earth. In fact, he said in John 16:33 “in this world you will have trouble.” Fantastic.
However, if you look closely, you will discover two rays of sunshine in the midst of your darkest hours. First, Jesus finishes that verse in John 16:33 by saying, “But take heart! I have overcome the world“. That is a great reminder that though we will have temporary troubles here, Jesus has prepared an eternal destination for us that will be completely free of heartbreak and suffering. It will be glorious beyond our imagination!
Secondly, and here’s the point I really wanted to make….it is at the time of our biggest heartbreak that we often experience God’s presence in a way we’ve never known before. When we choose to cry out to him and seek him during our time of grief and suffering, he promises to come close. Very close. Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit“. If you’re in the middle of a really difficult time in your marriage, don’t miss the opportunity to draw close to God and encounter his love, compassion and comfort at a spectacular level!
It’s happened yet again. Another wife almost blew up her marriage, and it all started with Facebook. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against Facebook. I love keeping in touch with what’s happening in the lives of my friends and family through Facebook posts. However, the devil takes warped delight in taking something good and turning it into something disastrous.
We need to be wise to his schemes to kill our marriages! Here’s what the scheme looks like: You become curious about that old boyfriend or man from your past, so you look him up on Facebook. It seems totally innocent. You’re just curious. Then you pop him a little message asking how he’s doing. He responds. You guys reminisce about shared experiences in the past. You begin bonding emotionally. Then ever so slowly and slyly, Satan starts to reel you in. Soon, you begin believing that he’s your true soul mate, and an affair is just a step away! This is happening every day across America! One recent post on a divorce website noted that 20% of all divorce petitions contain the word “Facebook”.
Don’t let this happen to you. As wives, we must be aware of Satan’s schemes and we must fight against the temptation to connect with any man on Facebook. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith…” Please don’t shake off this warning. Fight against the urge to connect with men from your past on Facebook!
You want to know a sure fire way to soften your husband’s heart toward you? Be humble and quick to apologize when you have been disrespectful toward him! I say “when” instead of “if” you are disrespectful because ALL wives gravitate toward being disrespectful from time to time! Much of the time, we don’t even recognize that we’re being disrespectful.
Let me give some examples. You roll your eyes when he forgets to do something. You sigh dramatically and shake your head about his “cluelessness” when he doesn’t meet your expectations. You ask his opinion about something but then point out the flaws in his thinking. You might even be disrespectful by giving him the silent treatment when he fails to eagerly pitch in to help with the household chores.
When a wife acts disrespectfully toward her husband, he often hardens his heart toward her as a means of self-protection. So, if you would like to soften your husband’s heart toward you, ask God to help you catch yourself the minute you say or do something that communicates disrespect. Then, be quick to sincerely and humbly apologize. A powerful apology contains these words: “I was wrong to ….” and “please forgive me”. Your humility will go a long way in softening your man’s heart. Humility is a virtue we need to intentionally put on every morning. Colossians 3:12 puts it this way, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Does your husband wrestle with a destructive addiction? Is your husband carrying way too much stress from his job? Does your husband seem depressed? Is your man uninterested in pursuing God? It’s easy for you to sink into despair, but instead, I challenge you to pray for him continually, and with total faith in our powerful God!
I’m not saying that prayer is the only thing you should do, but it is one of the most powerful things you can do for your man. Yet, often we tend to do more whining to our girlfriends than praying for our men. We often spend too much time drowning in a pool of self-pity instead of saturating our days with earnest prayer.
Seek godly counsel from a pastor or wise female mentor to gain insights into whether you need to take specific action with your husband. Those actions may include establishing boundaries and imposing consequences. Perhaps you will be directed to see a counselor yourself. Maybe your pastor will schedule a talk with your husband to see if he can help. However, your main job as your husband’s helper (Genesis 2:18) is to pray for him. Pray for him throughout the day. God says in James 5:16 that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective“. So get on your knees and get busy praying. I have seen God do some pretty amazing things in response to earnest, continual prayer.