Sunday, May 11, 2014

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God & Your Hubby (Day 14: Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)

Day 11 was all about the why of this challenge. I'm in the midst of rereading and learning the book of Romans. When I hit chapter 12:1-2 I was so overwhelmed with Paul's demand to present ourselves as a living sacrifice that I knew I needed a renewal of mind. I've been too consumed with the things of this world! John Piper and John MacArthur had MANY sermons on these two verses that when I listened to them (while washing dishes or folding laundry) I realized that my spillover was becoming negative, ungrateful, and all about "me-me-me". When John Piper summed up 12:1-2 with this one phrase,  "... thoughts, attitudes and actions are spontaneous. They are just spillover from what's inside." I realized I wanted my spontaneous thoughts, attitudes or actions to reflect CHRIST. The only way to do that was by recognizing God's GREATNESS through Scripture. Hence Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10!  

Day 12's challenge was to find ways to focus our mind on GOD'S GREATNESS. By renewing our mind with God's mercies found in Scripture we can better praise Him! I shared a few things that helped me, I'd love to see your list if you're willing to share.

Day 13 was similar to 12 in that we need to also focus on our husbands. When we understand what God has given us, even though we do not deserve it, we can apply that same principle to those around us - starting with our husbands. Like Christ we are called to give love, serve with all our hearts, apply the golden rule... not because we want to but because Christ has done the same for us. The challenge was finding ways to apply the same principle (of focusing on and getting to know God and praising HIM) to our husbands. The ultimate question was this: What are you going to do so your attitude, thoughts, and actions express a love for him that you may or may not feel? 

Day 14

In order to fully appreciate and praise GOD we must know Him according to HIS WORD (remember how we used Job to learn about God's GREATNESS and sovereignty on day 2 and 3?). The same principle applies to our hubby. In order to fully appreciate and praise him, we must know him. More importantly, we must fully appreciate how God made him.

God has made man and woman uniquely and wonderfully different. We live in a world that demands equality that is not God-given. Women want to be men. We want their physical strength, we want the leadership responsibilities God has given them in the home and in the church and we forget the beautiful, wonderful pieces that make us women. (Sorry, it's part of our curse because of sin - read Genesis 3:16-17.) We strive to "keep up" with men in wrestling matches when in reality the physical differences are only one distinct variance. Most women will never compete with men physically. Are we strong? YES! We possess the strength to endure extreme physical pain for long periods of time (childbirth). We carry multiple children, the diaper bag, and a car seat all at once. We can stay up all night with a screaming child, get up the next morning, trek to work, while enduring a massive headache and never complain. I'm definitely not saying we're weak. We are in fact very strong. I'm just saying that it isn't smart to challenge your husband to a boxing match - you'll lose. 

Men and women are beautifully and wonderfully made! In order to truly appreciate your husband you must also appreciate the role God gave him. How did God make your husband? What are the traits that God has ingrained in him? (Using Genesis 1:26-31 and Ephesians 5:22-33 as my reference.)

  • To protect.
  • To provide.
  • To nourish.
  • To cherish.
Does your husband instantly bristle up at the mention of someone hurting you? Does he want to fix every problem? Does he melt at the sight of tears? Yes? It's because God has given him this innate desire to protect those he loves. He might not tell you he loves you, but if he protects you or gets angry when you hurt yourself, that's one way men show that they care about you and your well being. 

Here's the thing. We struggle because God made us emotional and sometimes we simply want to spill our guts when our husbands see the solution (because they protect us) and want to help. Our guard goes up and it.drives.them.nuts. Let me challenge you in saying this: IT IS ABOUT THE NAIL. (Watch the following YouTube Video to see what I mean...)
Sadly, this is HILARIOUS. I say sadly because all husbands and wives can relate. Admit it, we've all been in situations where we've unloaded on our hubby's wanting them to sympathize, listen, hug, kiss, offer a shoulder to cry on; in other words, we want them to be our girlfriend, which of course, is ridiculous. This video reveals a few truths that we need to consider.

I'm not saying that a husband shouldn't listen intently, sympathize, hug and kiss, but we should not take away the very nature of a man. A man's logic is to protect and fix. Women run on emotions. Working together to meet our spouse's needs can be extremely tricky, but women need to understand that it IS, in fact, about the nail AND a man needs to understand that loving kindness is necessary.

Women should not take away a man's desire to want the best for you and their way of showing how much they love you is to protect you from pain by wanting to fix it. Instead of criticizing your husband for this act of love, appreciate it. If it is a situation that does not need fixing, TELL YOUR husband straight out what you need (he cannot read your mind). Let him do what God designed him to do: protect you and meet your needs.

Also, we need to get over ourselves and accept the fact that God set men as head over the home, just as He set Christ as the head of the church. Christ submits to God, just as men submit to Christ and women submit to our husbands. (Ephesians 5:22-33, which we'll be talking about more later.) I promise that the moment we accept our husband's God-given role, the sooner we can fully appreciate our own and joyfully accept WOMANHOOD! 

What ingrained qualities do we possess?

  • The ability to make the world a beautiful place. Seriously, why do you think men lose their breath when they see their bride walking down the isle toward them? Read Adam's response to seeing Eve for the first time in Genesis 2:23. Our pastor described it as a "whoa!" reaction.
  • We are called to manage our homes. In fact, the pastor who married us told my hubby, "The home is her domain." And your home should reflect who? :) What is your purpose? What is your innermost desire? Remember? Your home should reflect Christ.
  • We are called to create and nurture life. There is nothing more honorable than that. Even if you never birth children, women possess a nurturing instinct. We want to take care of those around us in whatever way we can. We are sympathetic, empathetic, compassionate and emotional because we want to make the world a beautiful place.

Despite the obvious differences, men and women are equal inheritors to the kingdom of God. When women are fully satisfied in God and our souls are at peace because of our faith in Christ, we can come beside our husbands and use our strength to help hold him up while he fulfills his role as leaders in our home, because we know God sees us as equals with different roles. We are one flesh, with different gifts, working together to glorify God. 

Recognize this FACT: women were created as his helper (read Genesis 2:18 and verse 20). What that looks like will be different in each home because each individual man has particular preferences. How can you come beside your husband to help him fulfill his role as leader in your home? Step one in accomplishing this task is going back to day 7 and getting over yourself and putting Christ FIRST, husband second, children third, friends may come next, then others and finally yourself. Put yourself last on the totem pole of importance and recognize that it takes strength in order to be selfless. So, back to the question: How are you going to embrace your role as a woman and be your husbands helpmeet?

If you just joined us, and I'm so glad you did, I encourage you to start with...

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