Saturday, March 21, 2015

My Outrageous Courageous

We started a new video series in my Tuesday morning bible study called Outrageous.  The first week's subject was on Outrageous Courage and the subject was Esther.

I love the story of Esther: love that God put her in a place of influence for the perfect time, love how her femininity is an important part of her role, love her faith and obedience despite her fear, love that despite what she did or did not consider qualifications, God used her "for such a time as this."  I also love that when she expresses fear upon initially being called to speak up, Mordecci (her cousin) reminds her that if she doesn't, God will use someone else to do his will, but she won't escape the fate of the rest of the Jews just because she is sitting in her ivory tower (my own description- I actually have no idea if there was a tower;).

God uses us and that is a gift, he doesn't NEED us to do his will.  I find that a profound and humbling privilege and it grieves my heart to think of times I've squandered opportunities because of fear and missed out on experiencing God's glory being revealed in my weakness.  But alas, that wasn't the focus of this week's study.  The focus was on stepping out of our comfort zone and being outrageously courageous.  It was also our assignment and we have to email a courageous act we do this week to a partner in the group.

Can I just say this is a terrible week for this assignment?!  Isn't it funny how that happens?  I don't have any exciting stories to share.  For me, I've been in a real funk much of the week- I've not mustered the courage to tackle my life responsibilities let alone do anything outrageous.  My laundry is piled up, we've had more than our normal consumption of restaurant food or frozen entrees.  I just don't "feel" like doing much of anything except maybe take a vacation and that isn't on the agenda!  I certainly wouldn't call taking naps every day very courageous!

I don't have great reasons for this.  I have a good life and I know it.  I am just in a funk.  Perhaps is simply the let down after running on adrenaline for 6 weeks with sickness cycling through our children and then my sweet Ava turning 9.

My hubs has also been extremely stretched thin and stressed with work and it's taking it's toll on me.  Initially I was geared up to serve him, but being the "only one serving" (from my perspective) I kind of petered out.  I kind of reached a low on Wednesday.  I felt empty, unhappy with him for not being enough to meet my needs.  I felt like my love tank was empty.  I decided to "get over it" and mustered up my strength to plan a fun evening and low and behold he didn't exactly handle things the way I expected and I became angry, sad and withdrawn.  I went to bed so disappointed in him and the lies about what a horrible person he was and how unattractive and unlikable I must be were swirling.

I spent Thursday sad.  Amidst the sadness, I also struggled because I know I am more fortunate than most.  I know Marc is a good husband.  But he wasn't enough...and I was disappointed. I didn't call a friend cuz I didn't want everyone to tell me how wonderful he was; I was ticked that he was a jerk sometimes.  I didn't want to hear about all the times he isn't! I struggled with whether I was having a pity party or whether my concerns were legitimate and valid.  We've gone round and round with this same scenario over the years.  The same conversation seems to happen in times he's stressed and I feel he becomes self absorbed and feel neglected.  I struggled with if I'd truly been giving grace in the past and should I now or should I be angry and make him realize how he was failing me.  I was feeling hurt so part of me want to say something to hurt him to his core too...and part of me knew I'd regret that forever.

It was admittedly hard to process throughout the day with kiddos around my ankles so he came home and I, obviously down in the dumps, told him almost immediately I was going off duty and went in my room to journal.

Have you ever not wanted to pray cuz you don't really want God to change your heart?  I was there.  I wanted to sit in my anger, defend my rights to be taken care of and poured into and defended and pampered and adored.  I just knew God would call me to lay down my life and I just didn't want to.  Ever been there?  "I just don't feel like laying down my life today, Lord.  I don't want to pick up my cross.  I want to sit here and be mad.  I want to make my husband be who I want him to be.  I want him to grovel and apologize for failing me."  Except the truth is, I knew even if he apologized I would say something really wonderful to him, like, "If you are really sorry, you'd have changed and you are still self-absorbed." cuz I am a super gracious wife.

So I just told God how I felt.  He can handle those things.  Quickly, God showed me my hubs wasn't self-absorbed.  He was work absorbed because he has a ton on his plate and these seasons pass.  Quickly, I was reminded of the dishes he'd done over the week and the fact that he hasn't complained about the  Trader Joe's frozen meals I've served him for dinner or the McDonald's receipts that have popped up in our budget.  He hasn't complained that his clean laundry has been sitting in laundry baskets all week because I hate putting laundry away.  No complaints.  No judgement.  Sure, he said the wrong thing on Wednesday.  He didn't meet my expectations.  He failed me just like he's done hundreds of time in our marriage and just like he'll do hundreds more.  He'll fail cuz he's just Marc.  I didn't need to start recalling my failings...the are numerous this week alone.  What I needed to confront is would I live the wisdom I would pass off to anyone else in this situation?  Would I put my money where my mouth would be? Ugh, how many times have I told others that we cannot rely on our spouse to be God.  Our spouse isn't supposed to meet 100% of our needs, only God can do that.

Would I accept and surrender my rights?  Would I just let myself mourn the fact that my dreams might never be 100% fulfilled this side of earth?  Would I just accept my husband for who he is, weaknesses as well as strengths?   Will I continue to set a bar higher than a human can go because I've read too many romance novels or will accept that my Knight has fought in some battles and his armor has some dents?  Will I accept that not all the battles he has to fight are for me?  Will I accept that I am his priority but not his only one?  Will I surrender my needs and wants and release him to be broken and make mistakes?  Will I chose to forgive even when I may not be 100% understood?  Will I surrender my "need" to be RIGHT?

On paper the answers are easy....but in my heart they are not.  I struggle.  I struggle with unreal expectations and pride.  I struggle.

I realized sitting in my chair that my outrageous courageous this week wouldn't been seen or recognized by anyone else but the One I am supposed to please.  My outrageous courageous was surrendering and remembering that God alone can meet all my needs.  My outrageous courageous was telling my husband of my struggle with unmet needs, but instead of making him feel guilty, I would be confessing and releasing him from unfair expectations.  My outrageous courageous was admitting to myself and to him that I may not be right and my feelings are not always fact.  My outrageous courageous was from this day forward putting a stake in the ground that I will accept that my husband doesn't always handle life well when stressed and it is not up to me to fix that.  My outrageous courageous was choosing to keep pouring into my husband even if work stress continues (to be fair, I know it won't, but in emotional moments these things become mountains instead of mole hills;).  My outrageous courageous was recognizing that the role God has called me to isn't one others will write books about.  Most people won't recognize or see it.  But I have been placed in this marriage with this man for such a time as this....for stressful times when my husband is stretched thin and exhausted.  I have been placed here to pray for him and hold him up.  To make home and my arms a soft place to fall....not a place that stretches him even more.  I have been placed here to lay down my life and love.

I am married to an amazing man.  This post in no way is meant to indict or tear him down.  This post is about me.  I had to decide anew that whether my husband is wearing his superhero cape or seems weighed down with kryptonite, I will lay down my life and love.  I won't just stay and mope and manipulate to get things to go my way...I will love and give.  When I muster up my own strength, as I did on Wednesday, with my own "good ideas" that are really round about ways for me to get my own needs met....I will fail, be disappointed and quickly find myself weakened.  When my needs are met by the One who Satisfies, the stores of strength are unending.

In my pity party, I didn't feel very outrageous and certainly not courageous, but God met me and reminded me that he didn't call me to risk death by going before a king.  He called me to lay my life before the King of all Kings, whose assignment is to daily lay down my life for those around me.  My actions will likely never save an entire race of people, but they might save my husbands day and bolster his heart.  In a world that screams for us to put ourselves first, this surrender was hard fought.

My outrageous courageous is small, but my God is big and the work he did in my selfish heart is one he and I know is miraculous.

1 comment:

  1. so well said and so needed for me too! thank you friend!