Don’t miss out on your life!

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!

Try this when discouraged

In our marriage and in all our relationships, we will face challenges.  In response, we often wring our hands in despair, get mad at God, sink into depression, lash out at people around us, get really grouchy, and on and on.  We act as if we’re surprised that we’ve encountered heartache and trials.  Well, here’s a news flash for you.  Trouble is normal and to be expected.  After all, Jesus says in John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble“.  Drat.

However, God has a plan to do something wonderful in the middle of our challenges…if we decide to move out of despair and self-pity.  God wants to teach us something.  He doesn’t waste any opportunities for our personal growth!  In the middle of our suffering, God gives us the choice to either wallow in depression or contemplate what He might be trying to teach us.  Romans 5:3-5 sums this up well: “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

The choice is yours.  You can stay mired in despair if you want to, or you can anticipate a time of great personal growth and shaping of your character.  Could God be teaching you patience, or perhaps teaching you to be courageous in confronting abuse, or maybe teaching you to help and comfort others who share a similar heartache?  Maybe the Lord simply wants to teach you to draw even closer to Him and to trust in Him completely.

Maybe the Lord is planning to answer your prayers in a way that will blow your mind!  When I’m in a time of discouragement or challenge, I like to give my concern to God in prayer and then encourage myself by saying this…”I can’t wait to see what God is going to do!!!”

Do this as a favor to other wives

The thrill I’m talking about is that little rush women get when we draw the attention of a man. It feels SO good!  This all completely fine as long as the man is your husband, but often we go out in public dressed in such a way that other men are tempted to lust over our bodies. 

When we wear skin tight clothes, cleavage-displaying shirts, extremely short skirts or midriff-baring tops, we are leading other men downhill.  The attention might feel good, but do you really want to lead these men into the sin of lust?  In Luke 17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.”  Also, 1 Corinthians 10:32 says “Do not cause anyone to stumble“.

Let’s pledge to dress modestly instead of provocatively around our male co-workers, men at the store, and men at church.  Let’s not be the downfall of the men around us.  Think of it this way.  Would you like it if another woman was dressing provocatively in front of your husband? Be kind to your girlfriends who are married. Don’t be the cause of their husbands being tempted by lust!

Taking bold action during spiritual warfare

In my current Bible reading, I’ve been struck with how many times God used women to take a bold, courageous, and wise stand against the enemy.  There are so many occasions where a woman steps out to lead or help God’s people when the enemy is attacking.  Here are some of the examples:  Abigail (in 1 Samuel 25) acts wisely when her husband did not.  Rahab (Joshua 2) hides God’s people from the enemy.  Deborah (Judges 4) courageously leads the people of God into war against the enemy.  Esther (Esther 4 & 5) boldly intercedes for God’s people even though it was dangerous for her to do so.  The wise woman (2 Samuel 20) reasoned with an enemy who was about to destroy her city and her wisdom saved the city.

What can we learn from these women?  They were all very alert to the enemy’s schemes and they all boldly chose to take action against the enemy, trusting in God for the outcome.  So here is the question for you:  Do you see the enemy attacking your husband, your marriage, your family, or individual children?  If you do, are you going to just wring your hands in despair, or are you going to take action?  Hopefully, you will become a courageous woman of action!  What does God want you to do?  Do you need to relentlessly pray for God to intervene?  Do you need to boldly confront an issue?  Do you need to get wise counsel from a godly woman? Do you need to establish firm boundaries in a relationship? Do you need to ask others to pray with you?

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO BELOW

Does this destructive attitude have a grip on you?

We’ve all been betrayed and we’ve all betrayed others.  I can almost guarantee this is true for all of us, although we only seem to remember the times when we’ve been betrayed.  We conveniently “forget” the times we’ve betrayed others, in big and small ways.

Here’s the thing.  When we allow our focus to remain on the deeply hurtful things people have done to us, it’s as if we tie a heavy chain around our ankles and toss ourselves into a deep, dark lake.  We slowly sink deeper and deeper into murky darkness.  We’re starved for life-giving oxygen.  We slowly drown in self-pity.  We become enveloped by resentment and that resentment becomes a poison to us and everyone around us!

Cut the chains of bitterness and resentment!  Come up for air.  Drop the “victim” attitude.  The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:15 to “see to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many”.  Your choice to embrace and coddle your bitterness will surely be the death of your joy and the joy of those around you.

How can you get rid of this super destructive attitude of resentment? Here are some insights. Stop hitting the replay button on past hurts!  Choose this day to be thankful for what you do have.  Make a choice to have compassion on your offender, realizing that you’re not perfect either!  If the resentment stems from current behavior, then seek godly counsel on establishing boundaries in that relationship.  Finally, ask God to redeem your painful experience in some kind of way.  He loves to do that!  Romans 8:28 promises us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose.”

Are you too serious?

There have been so many times that I have lost my cool over a trivial mistake I’ve made!  I beat myself up and feel disgusted with myself. Perhaps you’ve done the same thing a time or two.  What makes the situation even worse is then I become a grump around my husband and children. Because I have worked myself into a foul mood, it infects them as well. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that we need to be able to laugh at some of our mistakes.

Sometimes, we take ourselves too seriously!! Often, we feel we have to be “right” all the time.  Many times in the past, my pride has kept me from being able to laugh at myself when I made an error.  How about you?  Are you too serious?  Are you a perfectionist? 

These days, I’m trying to let go of my pride and admit I’m a human being who isn’t perfect 100% of the time!  You know what I’ve found?  Everyone, including my husband, seems to like me better.   Humility is such an attractive quality.  Psalm 18:27 says “You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.”  Let’s work on being humble this week.  When we mess up, and we will, let’s LOL. 

The tendency to compare yourself with other women

It is so incredibly easy to get out of balance as a wife, mother, employee, homemaker, ministry leader, etc. We focus on our roles and begin feeling pretty insecure. We start comparing ourselves to other women and feel we’re somehow lacking. Then we start picking up self-help books, we google “how to become a better ________”, we attend classes and workshops, we beat ourselves up for not being as “good” as other women, and we relentlessly push ourselves to be better!

The crazy thing is that we get so consumed with beating ourselves up and reading self-help books that we push our relationship with God farther and farther away! I mean, who even has time for God when we are completely focused on being as “good” as the other women around us.

As I was pondering this dilemma the other day, I sensed God convict my heart in a way that I had not expected. Instead of him assuring me that I’m amazing the way I am, God gently revealed to me that these thoughts that “I’m not good enough” are really prideful thoughts! In other words, I want people to like me, to approve of me, to think I’m pretty incredible as a wife, a mom, a ministry leader, etc! This tendency to compare myself is actually rooted in pride. Ugh. We know that pride is something God detests.

What’s a woman to do? Well, how about if we agree with God that we’re NOT “good enough” and that Jesus is the only one who is?! How about every time we start comparing ourselves to other women, we stop ourselves and remind ourselves how thankful we should be that Jesus died to save us from our imperfections and sin? Maybe at that very moment, we should turn our thoughts toward Jesus in gratitude and adoration. In that moment, spend time worshipping your creator and Savior. Colossians 3:1-2 “Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”

Bonus: When I start worshipping the Lord in song, I find that I quickly gain a whole new perspective on what’s important. I am better able to choose how to spend my limited time and energy. I don’t feel so driven to compete with other women. As you focus on the majesty, grace and love of Christ, you will develop a heart posture that brings balance and peace.

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO

Standing strong against Satan’s schemes!

Let’s not be ignorant.  Satan is dead-set on destroying your marriage and killing your joy.  Jesus explains in John 10:10 that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.  Furthermore, Jesus reveals in John 8:44 that one of Satan’s favorite schemes to destroy you entails lying to you. 

He will try to plant lies in your mind such as this:  Your husband doesn’t love you. You deserve a different husband.  You are not loveable.  You will never be happy with your husband.  You better not challenge any sinful behavior by your husband because if you do, he will leave you and you won’t be able to take care of yourself.  Do any of these lies sound familiar?

Thankfully, Jesus also tells us the way to stand against the enemy’s plans to destroy us and our marriages.  It’s a four-part recipe.  First, ask God to reveal lies of the enemy that you’ve been buying!  When negative, critical, or fearful thoughts enter my head, I try to remember to pause and ask myself, “Does this sound like something God would say, or is this a lie of the enemy?”

The next 2 steps are found in Revelation 12:11 which says “They triumphed over him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.”  So, proclaim Jesus’ shed blood on the cross as sufficient to overcome the enemy’s plans!  Also, tell others about how God has answered your prayers or displayed his power in your life in the past.  This serves to remind both us and our listeners that Jesus’ power over the enemy is enough to defeat him! 

Finally, Jesus tells us in Luke 10:19 that we get to take authority over the enemy in Jesus’ name!  Meditate on this verse which says “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”  Do you need to start taking authority over the devil in your home?  One way to do that is by commanding all evil spirits to leave your home “in the name of Jesus” and then asking God to fill your home with the Holy Spirit and surround your home with His angels.

2 qualities husbands find attractive

When men are surveyed about what makes a woman attractive, other than classically beautiful features, a strong majority say….her confidence!  So, if you want to be attractive to your husband (or to your boyfriend), work at developing confidence.  Work at becoming secure. 

I believe you do this by spending time meditating on God’s love for you!  He loves you so much he actually adopted you as his beloved child!  He is your Papa!  Meditate on this Scripture from Galatians 4:  “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

The second quality that is extremely attractive is…humility.  Most men run from a woman who is self-righteous and judgmental.  A husband is repelled by a wife who conveys that she thinks she’s better than him!  However, a husband’s heart is drawn to a wife who is humble, kind and compassionate. The Bible instructs us to be this kind of person!  Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

P.S  Yes, you can carry yourself with confidence, while at the same time displaying humility!  This means having self-respect and dignity, but refusing to act like you’re superior to your guy.

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO BELOW

Be careful with this specific thought

Caution.  Caution.  In fact, I urge you to envision yellow caution tape (like you see around a dangerous construction zone) every time this thought comes into your mind. The thought is “I deserve a different husband”.  That is a thought emanating straight from the pit of hell.

When Satan dangles that thought in front of your mind, he’s basically trying to entice you into believing that you have been ripped off and that you are entitled to trade in your man for a better model.  I should know.  I bought that lie from the enemy, hook, line, and sinker at the end of my first marriage.  You know who else fell for this kind of thinking?  Eve.  She fell for Satan’s lie that God was ripping her off by withholding fruit from one of the trees and he got her to believe she was entitled to more than God had given her.  That story didn’t end well either.  

Now please don’t misunderstand me.  If your husband is an unrepentant, serial cheater or if he has a pattern of abuse and is not seeking serious help, then God may very well release you from your marriage.

However, MUCH of the time, the enemy tries to get us to focus on every shortcoming of our husband, every flaw, every way he does not meet our expectations for a perfect husband.  Then Satan seals the deal by whispering to us that we deserve a different husband…a husband who would be so much better.  That’s usually a complete delusion!  I can almost guarantee you that if you were to dump your husband and get a new one, he would have “issues” as well!  So don’t fall for Satan’s schemes and delusions.  Remember what the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14…”Satan masquerades as an angel of light”.

So, instead of buying the lie that you need to dump your inferior man and get a better model, how about if you do these three things instead?  1)  Look for the good qualities of your man and be thankful  2) Respectfully confront any sinful pattern of behavior on his part and establish boundaries if necessary 3) pray daily for Jesus to mold and shape your husband into a godly man of integrity.