Sunday, July 22, 2012
Thanks to a caring and wise friend who gently shares truth with me, I am contemplating applying one of the basic things a Christian should do on a regular basis. Are you ready for it? I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I couldn't reply to her with "yes, you're right, and I'm already doing that."
I need to forgive. It helps me, frees me, opens up communication between the Lord and me, not to mention making it millions of times more likely communication will open up between the other person and me.
Since yesterday's post I've really been thinking about what I can do differently in how I react to things that I am fully convinced I am right about. I'm sure that sounded prideful; I didn't mean for it to be prideful. One CONSTANT conflict at our house is bedtime routine for the kids. We've agreed (many times) on the window of time they should be in bed, and we've discussed (many times) the parts of bedtime that have to occur before they are in bed, including about how long each of those components last. However, when my husband is involved, the kids consistently go to bed late. And I feel like I suffer the brunt of the consequences that night as the bad guy, as well as the next day, as they generally don't sleep longer if they go to bed later. No, they are just cranky, whiny, dramatic, and less obedient than usual.
The 400 tactics I've employed thus far to remedy this situation have failed miserably.
Then tonight I had this revelation.
God is bigger than bedtime routine.
Thanks again to the book Kisses From Katie. Tonight I read her take on how God used ordinary people and did amazing things. And do we think He no longer does those things? If we ask Him to do big things, shouldn't we expect big things, even if they look way different than what we expected?
I know, I know. She's talking about a huge ministry in Uganda and being mom to 13+ children (each time I write about the book the number will go up, as I keep reading about more she adopts!!), and I'm talking about bedtime routine. Cut me some slack, ok? We're starting small and working our way up....
So the revelation was that God can multiply the minutes my children are sleeping. He can make them wake up rested and ready for the day. He can do that regardless of what time they go to bed and regardless of how much or how little my husband cooperates in the bedtime routine process.
Wouldn't it be better if I drop the expectations, anger, hurt, bitterness, and cold shoulder and instead respect him as leader of this home? Even if I totally don't agree with him? Even if it feels there's a much larger principle at stake here that is being completely overlooked? Yes. Yes it would be better.
After all, my husband cannot ensure a quality night's sleep for the kids. Neither can I. Neither can the most brilliantly crafted bedtime routine or meal plan or activity plan. (Not that I really have the latter two items...just carrying this idea a bit further!)
I've been doing one right thing while simultaneously doing a wrong thing. At best they cancel each other. And at worst I'm making it all but impossible to make any progress.
So I'm going to do my best to let go of bedtime routine. Let go of my opinions, ideas, researched facts, proven techniques, etc., and let my husband be the leader. It's pretty dumb to keep getting so upset about something. I can't change him...and I've known that for a long time...I can only change myself, and I can change how I react. That requires a shift in focus. My husband is no longer thwarting my plans. God can deal with him if he is wrong. And God can deal with me if I am wrong. Ok, so God can KEEP dealing with me as I KEEP being wrong. :)
Did that make sense? I hope so. And I hope to apply this idea to a bunch more pressure-filled areas of marriage.
God is bigger than bedtime routine.
God is bigger than planning ahead.
God is bigger than having regular time as a couple.
God is bigger than generational curses/hardships/trials.
God is bigger than doctors and diagnoses and ailments.
God is bigger than clutter.
God is bigger than the boogie man, He's bigger than Godzilla or the monster on TV...and He's watching out for you and me. (Thank you VeggieTales)
I can act and react with love and respect, trusting God with any necessary heart change. It's not my job to point out principles or truths or nearsightedness. At least not right now. Not until I can do it while still trusting that God is the only one in the business of heart change.
It's not my job. I could write an entire post on that idea alone. And maybe one day I will.
On the topic of forgiveness - even if we are ok with God, we need to forgive people who were hurtful, insensitive, or neglectful during and after our losses. Forgiving doesn't say that you are ok with the offense, nor does it imply that you are at peace with your loss.
When we forgive another person, we can pray for them authentically. God can heal in an instant what we think could never be healed.
The following devotional was the basis of our conversation at the April gathering.
When God says yes, can we receive it? Or do we fear we'll lose it? Don't listen to the enemy's lies.
God is outside of time. That means He sees past, present, and future all at the same time. He sees NOW how pain and trials and suffering of the past and present WILL work out - He sees them as already worked out. It's not like He's in heaven thinking through options until He creates a good one for us. He already KNOWS. We just continue to walk in faith and we will walk into the existing answers to our current problems and trials.