The other day, I looked around my house and felt my jaw starting to clench. Angry feelings against my poor unsuspecting husband (and family) began to bubble inside me as I was suddenly overwhelmed with one earth shattering thought: Nobody in this house cares about getting anything done except ME!!! Of course, this was not at all true. However, even though I knew it wasn't true, deep down, I still found my throat swelling up with bitterness, anger, grumblings and feelings of defeat. In my heart, I began turning on my family and the blessed life we share together.... it was an unimpressive display of a normally sane woman traveling from zero to selfishness in less than sixty seconds.
I immediately became easy game for Satan to mess with. My ugly selfish little control problem had once again surfaced, so I could only focus on how life "should" play itself out in my perfect, imaginary world... ruled by, of course, ME! As my dissatisfaction increased, I began the internal drama of devastating questions that would lead me nowhere productive. They included: Why on earth did I ever get married? Nobody appreciates all I do anyway! How can this family continue on when we are doomed to work together as a team? We'll never be happy. Really, if God wanted us to be happy, why did he have me marry a man who doesn't care enough about my feelings to do _______ (fill in the blank) before vegging in front of the television to watch hockey?
I'm sure you can see how catastrophic my life had become in less than two minutes... NOT! Never mind that my husband had traveled all over the country on business the past three months to put food on our table, clothes on our backs, a roof over our head. Forget about the fact that he had just spoiled me with a romantic vacation at my favorite spa only a few weeks before. Ignore that this was his first day off in weeks to just hang out at home, cheer on his favorite team, and enjoy snuggle time with his woman. Overlook the fact that his life motto throughout the course of our entire marriage has been about us being on each other's side and working as a team. Oh, sure... my life was really terrible. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic.)
So there I was, stuck at selfish central and lingering in my mental temper tantrum. And why?... Here were my reasons: because the canned foods in the kitchen cabinet were stacked on the wrong shelf, the used dishes were not put in the dishwasher, the television was too loud. (Um, I know... I'm also rolling my eyes and saying, "Oh brother!" while typing this.) What a pathetic mess I had become. Let's face it... nothing was really wrong! I had just allowed Satan to carry my thoughts off to the dramatic sensationalism of doom which fueled a colossal and pathetic pity party. Mind you, during all my "boo hoo'ing", I had conveniently failed to take time out to acknowledge the many blessings God gives... I'm embarrassed to admit that I never praised Him for the food we had in our cupboards... the dishwasher He supplied to save me time... and hello... the ability to hear always has come in handy for me!!! Perhaps I had the wrong focus? Hmmmm?
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife. (Proverbs 21:9, 19)
A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day. (Proverbs 27:15)
Instead, I was preparing to set the world straight on my self-justified path of perfection. I began stomping downstairs to give my unsuspecting man a piece of my mind as well as question the validity of his undying love and devotion to me. (Sigh... poor Chuck.) Thankfully... miraculously God intervened and stopped me from making a complete fool of myself.
While rehearsing my silent speech of spitfire down the stairs, my bad knee began to buckle. Instantly, I had to stop dead in my course and try to catch my balance. I was able to prevent myself from wiping out because I was holding onto the railing. But the second my knee did this, I forgot my objective and had to stop everything. With that, I had no other option but to stand still for a few seconds to catch my breath from the potential terror that could have happened by my falling and causing greater damage to myself.
Whew.... in one gasp of breath everything changed.
Immediately, the Holy Spirit stepped in and a thought popped into my head, "Victoria, are you responding as 'The Devoted Woman' by approaching your husband with respect, submission and love while you strive to honor My Name? OR are you acting more like 'The Devoted Control Freak'... 'The Devoted Selfish Brat'... 'The Devoted Wife of Ungratefulness' by storming down these stairs with a mind to start a stupid fight because life isn't playing out to your exact (and unrealistic) expectations?"
Then, as if to drive the point home all the more, I heard my husband's loving voice call out to me, "Honey, you ok?"
Gulp.... "Yes, sweetie. I'm ok. Thanks for checking."
OK, I hear you, Lord. How about we start to do things Your way now? How about I set aside my Ms. Nasty attitude and give the control back to You. How about I actually honor my husband and acknowledge all that he does for our family rather than rip him to pieces on his day off? How about I refrain from biting the heads off of every person that I see? How about I start being thankful for everything you have blessed me with? How about I begin living in love rather than feeding my ugly selfish little control problem any further?
Satan, get thee behind me in Jesus Name!
Ladies, I tell you this story to remind each of you that controlling every aspect of life isn't your job... it is God's. I clearly am not immune to falling into the sinful trap of control accompanied by bitterness, grumbling and feelings of defeat. I'm sure you aren't either. But thank God that He loves us enough to stop us in our destructive tracks (literally)! Thank God that He corrects His children so that we can confess and turn back into His grace and live in love. It is a virtue to restrain our unwarranted anger and seek Him first... a virtue that we must constantly ask Him to give us. For the only kind of control that we should strive to maintain is that of self control in His holy name. By the power of our Redeemer, He can change our hearts to stop being anxious and dissatisfied. Instead, we can start living fulfilled and with the love of our Savior who gives us all we need.
I'm grateful that God was generous to remind me of this lesson. I am equally thankful that He continues to keep me in check and stops me from being the annoying brat that I am surely capable of being. Praise Your Name, Almighty Father! Praise You for Your correction and teaching. Thank You for all Your blessings... I deserve nothing and You give me everything. Continue to soften my heart so that I turn over my whole life to You and love others as You have loved me. Break me if you must, Jesus, but keep me on your righteous path. Help me to put on Your beauty so that my ways are no longer evident. Take over so that I can live fully in You. Less of me... MORE OF YOU!
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. (Proverbs 31:10)
P.S. Chuck just read this and said, "What? You were upset? Honey, what can I do to make you happy...?" Sigh... I'm so blessed. Praise God.
© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson