This week is Nana camp with my three beautiful granddaughters. It’s wonderful and exhausting at the same time. I will be doing a FB Live on Thursday at 7:30 PM ET introducing my 5-day Moving Beyond Challenge which starts the last week of June. I’m inviting my granddaughters to come on FB to say hi and they’re deciding whether they are excited or afraid. Interesting, it’s the same feeling inside, but depending on how we “label” that feeling, we either feel positive or negative.
So I hope you take my (5) Day Challenge. It’s free and it just might help get your year 2018 back on track. For more information click here.
Question: I am feeling overwhelmed. My husband always has something physically wrong with him and so he either sleeps or watches TV. We live in a small duplex and I am gone a lot to supplement our income as we are both retired. I find it so discouraging to come back home to him. I even resent that he doesn't do much of anything.
He does empty the dishwasher most of the time and does some laundry. My attitude seems to be getting worse even though I pray and ask God to help me. I know I should be thankful that I can do the things I do but I am resenting him more and more. I know God doesn't want me to be this way. I need help.
Answer: I’m so glad you recognize that you have been sinking into the resentment pit and it’s a very difficult place to break free from.
In last week’s blog, I talked about passivity and I’m wondering if you have been passive as well, silently resenting your husband’s lack of contribution to your family needs.
We all have limited resources at our disposal in order to manage the tasks of life. We have our money, our energy, and our time. From what you wrote, you are spending some of your energy and time making money because that resource is lacking for retirement. But energy and time are also required to manage a home. Cleaning, laundry, shopping, budgeting, paying bills, and cooking are the basic tasks that an individual, couple, or family have to manage to keep a home functioning.
When one person in a family or relationship is out earning the money in order to replenish that resource, it’s often agreed that the person who stays at home or has more disposable time uses his or her energy to do more of the home tasks.
Here’s where a woman can start to feel resentful when she is forced or feels it’s her responsibility to over-function in order to keep her family boat afloat. She works to contribute income but also finds herself spending her other time and energy doing the household chores. She sees her husband (and sometimes children) using his extra time and energy relaxing, having fun, playing games, and watching television. In other words, the relationship is neither mutual nor reciprocal. It sounds like this is what’s happening to your marriage.
However, here is where a woman must take some responsibility for her own over-functioning. When this pattern becomes the standard order of family life it’s often because we as women have been way too accommodating and passive to this imbalance. We haven’t spoken up and said, “Hey, this arrangement is not okay with me. I am not willing to be the only person taking responsibility for the care and maintenance of our family needs.”
So my question to you is have you had that conversation with your husband?
Have you informed him that you’re tired when you get home from work and on those days you need him to plan and cook the family dinner? Have you asked him to take over certain regular household responsibilities like laundry or shopping for groceries or cleaning so that you don’t have to do that plus work outside the home? Don’t assume he automatically knows this or notices the huge imbalance.
Your husband is preoccupied with his health – real or imagined, you didn’t say. But either way, when a person is anxious about something, his mind is filled up with worry and it’s not likely that he is thinking much about you or your needs. Therefore all the more reason why you need to be specific in what you want from him. However, just informing him of your needs doesn’t necessarily mean he will meet them or even care to meet them. Having you take all the responsibility for the care and maintenance of the home and finances might work perfectly for him.
But not so for you. I’m glad you recognize that your built up anger has hardened into resentment and that is not good. So let me give you some things you can do to move beyond your resentments because it is God’s will that you let them go.
1. Decide. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:31 to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.”
God knows that these negative emotions are toxic for your health – emotionally, spiritually, and physically. But one of the problems in letting go of them is that we feel so justified having them. You may think, “My husband won’t change even if I do speak up. He doesn’t hear me or he doesn’t care.” And that may be true. But what does it cost YOU to hang on to your resentment? It doesn’t impact him nearly as much as it impacts you. For your own well-being, you must decide to let these negative feelings go, even if they feel totally justified.
2. Continue to pray for God’s Spirit to help you. It is God’s desire for you to live in peace and not in inner turmoil and resentment. David almost got caught in the pit of resentment when he saw how the wicked got away with living treacherously and the innocent always seemed to have a harder life (See Psalm 71). We see Biblical examples of people who had every reason to feel resentful yet did not. For example, Joseph could have seethed with resentment when his brothers sold him into slavery or Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of rape but he did not(Genesis 42-45). The apostle Paul could have been resentful when he was unjustly put in prison or when other Christians questioned his credentials as an apostle but he did not. Jesus himself was tempted in all ways like we are, yet did not sin. We see by these examples that it is possible to feel hurt and angry, yet not allow that anger to fester into bitterness or resentment. But how? How do we not let that happen?
3. Take charge of your emotions and your thought life. Sometimes we over-identify with a particular feeling and lose sight of our bigger self. For example, you may say, “I am resentful,” but you are not resentful. That’s not your identity. It is your feeling. You feel resentful. But there is another part of you that doesn’t want to feel that way or you wouldn’t be praying to get rid of it. Tap into that part of yourself and help that part of you be more in charge. As you do that, see what happens. Now you know your feelings, but your feelings no longer have or control you.
One of the quickest ways to let go of a negative emotion that you do not want to have anymore is to pay attention to your thought life and purposely change the channel.
Let me explain. I bet if I could listen to your thoughts during your drive home from work you would be thinking some pretty negative thoughts about your husband. Maybe you would be telling yourself, “I bet he didn’t do a thing all day. He’s so lazy. He just doesn’t care about me at all. All he cares about is himself and how he feels. I am so sick of this. I can’t take it anymore. He’s driving me crazy. I can’t stand him.”
Here’s an illustration that might help you understand how we can change how we feel by changing our thoughts. When you watch a scary movie and you’re feeling really scared and don’t want to feel that way, what do you do? You don’t try to talk yourself out of your feelings, you change the channel or turn the movie off.
In the same way when you don’t want to feel a certain feeling don’t “feed” it with continual negative thoughts, even if your thoughts have some elements of truth to them. You can stop the flow of negative thoughts about what your husband is or isn’t doing. You can change the channel. Paul, no stranger to hardship or difficult people around him, counsels us about this when he says “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).
When you catch yourself dwelling on all his negative qualities, switch the channel to things you are grateful for. God reminds us that in all circumstances we need to give thanks (note – not FOR all circumstances – 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Perhaps you can’t be thankful for your husband or even the situation you are in right now, but you can look for things you are thankful for. Think about the good things in your life instead of all the ways your husband lets you down or disappoints you. This practice helps you guard your heart and mind as Paul instructs and Proverbs encourages us to do.
And last, it’s important to understand that although we don’t want our emotions to control us, they do inform us. Your emotions are telling you that something is wrong and that you are not staying well. You know that already or you wouldn’t have written and asked how to get rid of your resentment.
As you try implementing some of these things notice how you feel. If you find yourself continuing to sink and/or your husband refuses to make some changes to carry more of the load, it’s time to reevaluate your situation, your own self-care regimen and what you need to do to take care of you.
It might be that you need to get some professional help or separate from him to gain greater clarity on your steps towards greater health and sanity. The Bible tells us that each person needs to carry his or her own load (Galatians 6:5).
When we continually over-function and carry the load for a person who refuses to carry his or her own load, we aren’t being Biblically sacrificial, we are being unwise and enabling of his or her dysfunction to continue. Don’t let that happen. Click To Tweet
Friends, what have you done to let go of resentment, especially when you felt your resentment was totally warranted?
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What do you do when your husband refuses to go to counseling with you? I know we have issues in our marriage that aren’t going to be resolved otherwise. I am at my wits end with it and like the article today I can feel anger and resentment building in my heart and I know that is not what
God wants for me.
You must accept his answer——NO. Once you can accept that and ask God’s help with that you can begin to plan what your move will be next as that is the only move that you can ever control. There may be grieving involved in this part and that is what really hurts.
Great answer, Helen!
I wonder how much resentment is linked to denial. Once the facts are obvious, then we have to act on those facts and avoid purposeless ruminations.
Why no go by yourself and tend to your heart?
Few people will willingly sign up for counseling unless the train is obviously off the tracks~ sadly.
In fact, it’s often once the relationship has deteriorated to such a dire level that the unwilling partner is somewhat open to the idea.
My husband was pretty against it early on in our marriage and I should have insisted we go rather than Co create a longer pattern, even if that was we go individually.
So he refuses to go. Does he see a problem unresolved in the marriage that is impacting him negatively? Does he have a desire to have a marriage that glorifies God?
The short answer is, I emotionally detached and then carved out my own life, letting go of expectations, constantly bringing my mind’s thinking back to praise and gratitude.
If his behaviour really harms you, then of course boundaries need to be set in place. If you read the ‘Boundaries’ book, and the one on marriage, it would save us all a lot of writing here. 🙂
Expectations are such a snag for me. In my emotionally healthy relationships course I learned to use 4 criteria to determine if an expectation of mine is valid:
1) am I counscious of it
2) is it realistic ( unrealistic expectations are a major contributor to depression)
3) have I communicated it?
4) has the other person agreed to it?
We were asked to think of an ongoing ‘buggaa-boo’ with another person and run it through this list. Many of us found out that our expectation was not valid to begin with. ( not for destructive relationships)
I encourage you to join me for my 5 day challenge the last week in June where one of the topics will be on Moving Beyond Unrealistic Expectations.
I signed up but didn’t see the topic of ‘moving beyond unrealistic expectations’, will that be covered under another heading?
I just re-checked. Unrealistic expectations is the topic for day 4 . Looking forward to it!
Leslie, I appreciate and reinforce all that you wrote. To keep my mind in a good place, I listen to spiritual songs on my car’s CD player, and I also take time to pray for others the Lord brings to mind.
To the writer: When you are tired after a day at work, consider praying for the people you had contact with. On this blog, as much as we all appreciate the practical help, we also encourage one another in spiritual practices, and that means more time “setting the mind on the spirit,” that is, praying, praising, and being in the word and fellowship with other christians.
Before you have “that talk” with your husband that Leslie suggested, pray for him and pray for the Lord to give you the right heart attitude and words to speak. Then ask your husband to take on a few specific tasks. Better yet, name a number of household tasks that he could be doing and ask him which 3 or 4 he is willing to take responsibility for. Then, let him do it, in his time and his way, bearing his own consequences when he messes up. Don’t rescue him, just let it be. You may not like the way he does it, but this is not the time to correct him, just be sure to bless him when he does what he said he would do. A “thank you” with a kiss is a good reward, or if it is a big effort, a pan of brownies. We all respond to rewards, big or small, so be sure to acknowledge his efforts and let him know you appreciate what he has done, instead of wishing he would do more, or criticizing the way he did it. This is an important point. A good sense of humor helps too, for those times when his efforts turn south, like washing a red shirt with a white one. That’s when you laugh and say something about how much you like pink. In this way, you can completely change the whole atmosphere of your home.
You are all much nicer than me. I would remove the sofa cushions, lock up the TV remote and keep the money for myself. This guy sounds like a sluggard to me.
Autumn, this made me giggle! Your suggestion is tempting but also crosses the line into controlling.
Rather than controlling, I see it as an attention grabber. Let’s call the action an educational tool. I bet she would get a response!
I would suggest that your husband have a mental health checkup with doctor(s), particularly for depression. Sleeping a lot and not doing much besides watching TV are behaviors that depressed people do to cope with how down they feel.
Jo, I agree. Good suggestion. Actually many health issues arise out of depression, especially in older people. (Many of my mother’s health issues resolved once we got her onto Prozac.) If the husband in this case is already on antidepressants, then I would insist on a reevaluation.
Jo, & JoAnn,
This is a wise directive. Does it hurt to get some evaluations here. I think not. Goodness, sitting around the TV would depress even my dog!
But seriously this is wise to seek outside help given the circumstances. Plus, I think it’s easy to slip into ruts when larger life changes take place, such as retirement from a job.
It’s not always that medication is needed but just getting out and getting exercise is good for the human body in general.
I think that any behavior that is different or has a drastic shift should be looked at. If this behavior has been going on for 40 years that’s another story.
Friends, what have you done to let go of resentment, especially when you felt your resentment was totally warranted?
My husband has no problem working hard at his job, but when it comes to work around the house or helping with the kids, he does not do his part. I used to feel very resentful, but I’ve changed my thinking over the years. Instead of focusing on what he isn’t doing, I focus on what I can do and view it as a privilege to be in the position to serve my kids. Resentment still crops up when I can’t do something and ask him for help and he refuses. It’s usually not very often, because I don’t involve him unless I have to.
I hope that the the reason the husband in the post doesn’t do much is because he is unaware of what is going on and the wife hasn’t voiced her concerns. But it also could be that he feels very entitled and feels it is her job is to serve him. Maybe his views about gender roles are rigid- women should do the housework and cook and that may be the reason he doesn’t help her. If so, it will be difficult for him to change.
I so identify with the writer. My husband retired last July. And all he does all day long is sleep and watch tv. He rarely suggests or looks for anything for us to do. He does help around the house a little bit. But does things half way to get done as quickly as possible. He has problems with his, feet, legs, backs and hips. So anything requiring walking is pretty much out. It limits what we can do if I can even get him out of the house. I’m 61 and want to get out and enjoy life. He’s only 65 but acts like he is 90 some times. I fight with growing resentment as well. I will do ok with it for a and then it crops up again.
And my husband refuses to go to the doctor for anything. I’m pretty sure he is diabetic as well. So that cause added resentment. I do do what Leslie suggested and change the channel. But at time the resent grows, our life is so boring.
I’m sorry for your h’s lack of motivation 🙁
‘Our life is so boring’. I would suggest you make regular plans with friends. Go on a trip – at least local outings. Don’t allow his lack of motivation drag you down.
Nancy, thank you for the love 💜🙏🏻
For the most part I do plan things without him and with friends. Weekends seem to be the hardest.
The problem is wenused to do all kinds of things, especially when the kids were home. But his job for stressful and he didn’t want to do anything. Now he’s retired and health issues and doesn’t want to do anything.
I try to have realistic expectations. But some days it’s hard. Thank you for your support.
I must be missing something here, because all I hear is selfishness. Yes, there could be depression issues but overall the situations scream selfishness to me.
My h has many narcissistic tendencies. He looks to mento privide so many things for him. He can be caring and giving. But he has many mental issues. Is a very closed person. Doesn’t want to talk about anything. I always get I don’t want to talk about that. He was a football player. And I think I’m seeing early signs of dementia. And he has problems ever admitting weakness. He gets extremely defensive. This goes deep I have my suspicions where it started but he’s never going to talk about it. It is and always has been a very complicated relationship. Leslie has helped me to sort things in my head. And start to set up some boundaries. He will never gonto counseling or even the doctor. I can’t do private counseling it’s too expensive. We are retired and just my health insurance is a huge expense. So Leslie and all of you on this blog have been a God send.
I’m so glad that you have this resource! I just signed up for Leslie’s 5 day challenge ( free). When you make comments on her FB page through this challenge, you have an opportunity to win a course of hers ( that costs).
Autumn, Lazy, yes, selfish, yes, but she can’t change that about him. She only has control over her own actions. Nevertheless, both of those behaviors are characteristic of depression, so having that looked at is also a good idea. And even if he is depressed, putting some clear expectations along with boundaries in place will help her to guard her heart.
“Friends, what have you done to let go of resentment, especially when you felt your resentment was totally warranted?”
re:especially when you felt your resentment was totally warranted
re: resentment, envy, schadenfreude, and sympathy: deserved or undeserved
I have used something close to the steps discussed:
1. Decide re: “It doesn’t impact him nearly as much as it impacts you. For your own well-being, you must decide to let these negative feelings go, even if they feel totally justified.”
. . .We do have to decide, and it is never easy. We without Christ just can’t, but Christ without us just will not. We have to decide, especially when we feel our resentment is totally warranted. In my counseling, it is always described as re-sending (resentment) a bill over and over and over even though we know it will never be paid.
2. “Continue to pray for God’s Spirit to help you. . . .We see by these examples that it is possible to feel hurt and angry, yet not allow that anger to fester into bitterness or resentment. But how? How do we not let that happen?”
Again, we without the Holy Spirit just can’t but the Holy Spirit without us just will not. Any healing is co-created but what is the alternative? . . .Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves: one for your husband and one for you. You will use them both because Leslie is correct that resentment will take both of you down with it.
3. “Take charge of your emotions and your thought life. Sometimes we over-identify with a particular feeling and lose sight of our bigger self. For example, you may say, “I am resentful,” but you are not resentful. That’s not your identity. It is your feeling. You feel resentful. But there is another part of you that doesn’t want to feel that way or you wouldn’t be praying to get rid of it.”
. . .It is almost impossible but our freedom comes from the true identity we are given in Christ. But yes, it is excoriating work to get there . . .a slow slow slow journey for me —absolutely. . . .All our identity rests in the knowledge of who we’re created to be. His workmanship. His image. Matthew 10:39, Luke 9:62, et.al. . . .The hardest for me is that it is not about trying, it is about giving Him my will (We without Christ just can’t, but Christ without us just will not. . . . So, so hard —joining our will with God’s will and finding ALL our identity there. I hear Christ saying in the gospels: “I know you’re tired but come, this is the way.” For me, I have to keep breaking my heart until it opens, it is the hardest thing, you know, the cure for pain being in the pain, —through the pain.
. . . And your husband is not getting away with anything. No serious responsibility in life also means *no serious meaning* in life, period. The more legitimate responsibility you have in life, generally, the more meaning you have. He can say whatever, but every last one of us search for meaning and it comes in structure. No hard work and rules, no structure. No serious responsibility, no serious meaning. . . .Again, in the Old Testament, the story of the golden calf reminds us that without rules we quickly become slaves to our passions —and there’s absolutely nothing freeing about that. We all require responsibility. . . .Sure, responsibility can become excessive and that’s not good, but the alternative is very little meaning in life.
. . .But sometimes, I let more and more and more go undone and the point gets made: laundry, cooking, cleaning, et.al. I just let more and more of it go undone (—ha, ha, ha, —it’s truly amazing how much of that doesn’t even need to be done at the level we do it). The amazing thing is when no one even notices. —Ha, ha, ha. . . that is when I know I am “ridiculously functioning.” . . .Say NO, just for sport sometimes so you stay in practice in choosing not to do things re:constructive change. . . .Spend more time with God and always invite your husband in too; start telling a new, more accepting and self-validating story re: your identity. Everyone knows the emotions are a necessary signal from our bodies that something needs to be communicated and we can practice that communication first with God and then our husbands. Again, all our identity rests in the knowledge of who we’re created to be Matthew 10:39, Luke 9:62, et. al.
Aleea, two things you said in your last paragraph touched me. First, “how much of that doesn’t even need to be done.” This is where I get caught; I have a very high standard for how things should be done, so I am relentless about keeping the house clean and in order. Sometimes I can let up, but it keeps me very busy trying to maintain my own standards.
The second thing is your suggestion that the writer embark on a study of scripture to find her identity in Christ….and invite her husband to join her. I really like that! Yes, we are “His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand in order that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) So much to discover in His word. And as His word is living and operative (Heb. 4:12), just reading in the Bible together will change things.
Absolutely JoAnn! . . . Luke 10:42: But only one thing is necessary and Mary has chosen the τὴνἀγαθὴν (the necessary; the good things; the real thing) and it will *never* be taken from her. . . .Christ have mercy on all of us when we don’t choose the better/ the necessary things in God’s world. All this crazy stuff that we rush around and around to do because we think our identity is our home and our home has to look like a five-star hotel. . . .One thing we are all looking for (real love) and the best way to find real love is to find God . . . .but take your husband on the journey with you!
Re: “. . . .just reading in the Bible together will change things.” —Absolutely. Invite your husband to read and study the Bible with you. . . .Martha, Martha, you are μεριμνᾷς (so anxious) and so θορυβάζῃ (so, so troubled) about so, so many (πολλά) things: but one thing is necessary and Jesus tells us to pick that necessary thing. All we have to do is get that one thing right . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .but it is hard, no doubt it is hard to choose and keep choosing the right things (re: Leslie’s book “How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong” ―actions that glorify God no matter what our spouse does: —emotionally unavailable, devoid of empathy, etc.)
. . .I don’t really know who I am, but I do know some things I am not: —I’m not my home; —I’m not my job as an attorney; —I’m not the cloths I wear —or my assets; . . . .Mary has chosen “the good portion” (Christ, the sum and substance of real life . . .of eternal life and of salvation by Him.)
JoAnn . . .in that passage, Luke 10:42, there are all these little untranslated words and when you factor them in, it is saying that all these things we think are so important are made smaller and smaller and smaller (as “needs”), as we we move closer and closer to the One (Christ). . . .And for those whose husbands are totally resistant, keep trying and don’t let them “take away from,” “set aside,” “exclude,” “separate,” “prevent,” “hinder you,” “rob or deprive you from” real life in Christ. . . .So, it is something like this: —Husband, I am going to Zion (the city of God) with or without you. I invite you to come and join me. —Come and join me in the Sunlight! But if you refuse —or say you will but then isolate, if you become emotional distant, abusive, have no interest in really following the Lord, want to be a carnal “Christian” (whatever that even is); I will go to Zion without you. . . .I will still love you, forgive you and pray for you but. . . well. Marriage is not: I will take care of your heart and you take care of mine. We never lose responsibility for our own hearts! Only Jesus gets your heart and you are responsible to parent yourself —and parent yourself well (where I totally so often fail 😪) —applying God’s love to all those broken parts of ourselves that need to healed —so we find our identity in Christ.
Actually, we are called not to play *any game* of identity at all. We identify with Christ’s loss of identity on the cross (—but that’s a whole different set of N.T. Greek words), and we gather around a table where we break bread and remember our crucified Messiah. . . . .Anyways, the point is to help break the false distinction between the idea that there are those who are whole and those who have a lack. For the true distinction is between those who hide their lack under a fiction of wholeness and those who are able to fully embrace it. Our husbands are complete messes —but so are we. . . .Life is suffering, anyone who tells you differently, I don’t think understands life. That is “The Way” early Christians kept talking about it: Life is suffering. Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated (That’s what you witness here when people seek to help each other). Dialogue is the pathway to truth, especially when we are *deeply* honest about everything (unfiltered). Humility is the recognition of my personal insufficiency but my willingness to learn from God. . . .so that truth can better serve love, so that suffering can be ameliorated, so that we can all stumble forward to the Kingdom of God.
. . .You would not even believe how emotional I am. I really have to work so, so hard at being rational, analytical, careful, etc. To know Christ and to have *any part* in His Kingdom (—no matter how small, even just praying for people) is just overwhelming to me 💬✈🌠 ❣😊📓†ރ📤 📡
I agree, I am not my home, my job, my clothes etc…!
Also, I have a body, but I am not my body. I have a mind and thoughts but I am not my mind or thoughts, I have emotions but I am not my emotions. Thank you Lord for all these gifts, but I am not these things. I am a centre of awareness, and of will.
This is a prayer of dis-identification, that has helped me tremendously in ‘taking a step back’ from becoming ‘over-identified’ with any of these gifts.
Re: “This is a prayer of dis-identification, that has helped me tremendously in ‘taking a step back’ from becoming ‘over-identified’ with any of these gifts.”
Re: “Thank you Lord for all these gifts, but I am not these things. I am a center of awareness, and of will.”
That is fantastic that, that prayer has helped you, praise God!😊 I understand this disassociation; dis-identification and why we are not these things but it has not deeply helped me. Knowing and praying that has not helped me live above the circumstances. I still crave the approval of others and it is like I have a status-meter inside of me that is constantly measuring everything. . . .
Status tracking looks like it is hard-wired into people (Preston & De Waal, 2002) and you don’t have to go very far back in time to realize it was just critical for survival. In Jesus’ world (The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural Anthropology), most people lived at the subsistence level. Once you were outside of the group, you died —period. The fact of innate dominance striving, means it is very hard to live above the circumstances.
So Nancy, how do you do it? How do you live above the status-hierarchy striving? How do you not care? . . .If you are shunned and disparaged, et.al. and if you are a human, everything is negative and dangerous, you are confused, anxious, and depressed, hovering close to the edge of chaos and disintegration. That is just what happens with our neurotransmitter system if we are human. How do you live above the status-hierarchy striving? How do you not care?
High status elevates serotonergic, decreasing negative and increasing positive emotion. If your environment is stable, productive, and safe, you are confident, upright, positive and emotionally stable.
Re: “I am a center of awareness, and of will.” . . .Absolutely, so we can’t get away from ourselves. We can’t decide not to see ourselves anymore. Until you make the unconscious conscious (so it is in your awareness and you actually see it), all these unconscious things will direct your life and people call that God’s will (divine destiny). But it is not divine destiny, it is simply things we are not aware of. It is very hard to be really aware and to pay attention.
All I know is that when I abandon the desires of my ego and enter into the silence of my heart in prayer, sometimes . . .sometimes for just a brief moment, I can live above the circumstances. But it takes unbelievable courage to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness.
So when you do, eyes open, voluntarily, activate the neural circuitry underlying active exploration, inhibiting confusion, fear and the generation of damaging stress responses, and not the circuitry of freezing and escape . . ..How do you do that? What are you doin? . . .How do we live above the status-hierarchy striving? How do we not care? I undertstand all the theory and the passages re: Philippians 4, et.al. . . .Be anxious for nothing (nothing?), but in everything (everything?), by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus💜 ❤ 💛 💚 💙 💜❣✝ . . .Do you have that peace that surpasses all understanding? I don’t Nancy. I just don’t. . . .If you and I were told by God Himself to get into a car at the Mexican boarder and drive all the way to the tip of Argentina, facing everything we would face along the way, would I see that peace that surpasses all understanding? —would I see it consistently? What steps help you consistently manifest this peace that passes *all* understanding? —I want that peace *consistently* in my life❣✝😊.
I am in Christ, and Christ is in me. I am created in the image of God, and I am His child, even His masterpiece. The more aware I am of His life in me, the more like Him I become.
You sound so much like my spiritual director, JoAnn! Yes, it is always about my relationship with Him. Those techniques are helpful for visualization etc… But I must ALWAYS remember to bring it back to Him!
One of my assignments was Ephesians 3:16-18 but to pray this for myself instead of “I pray that you would be strengthened….”‘ “I pray that I would be strengthened…”.
This last two weeks has been difficult because I felt Him asking me to do the Igntian prayer of Examen from time to time, but have found SUCH a block because I feel as though I am looking back over my day, for mistakes. This has revealed how hard I am on myself and that it is so difficult for me to look back, with love for myself. I felt Him telling me that doing this would teach me to see myself through His eyes ( because this Examen is done with Him), but am still quite stuck in condemnation as I look back.
It occurs to me just now that I must look back over my day and at myself, through the cross.
When I look at my sin directly ( instead of through Jesus’ resurrection) then I will be mired down.
Good morning Aleea,
I didn’t understand a lot of what you wrote. But I will reply based on what I do understand.
“I am a centre of awareness and of will” – when I do this excercise I am not ‘getting away from myself’ or ‘disassociating’ ….quite the opposite….I am putting my thoughts, emotions and body in their place. I am ‘taking a step back by recognizing that ‘over-identifying’ with these things distorts who I am.
My sense is that I am ‘gathering myself up’ before The Lord when I do this excercise.
BUT please don’t do this if it feels to you like dissociation. That is NOT the goal, and in that case, would not be healthy.
Aleea and Nancy, My peace comes from trusting in a sovereign God who I know, in the depths of my being, loves me and wants for me what he knows will bring me to the goal of becoming more like Him. Each trial I face, is an opportunity to know Him in a deeper way. His ultimate goal for each of us is that we be “headed up in Christ,” (Eph 1:10) so that we find our identity in Him as a member of His Body.
I encourage all of you to pray your way through the book of Ephesians, praying verse by verse, and especially the third chapter. Doing this has changed my life. God has become more real and practical to me by praying this way.
“My sense is that I am ‘gathering myself up’ before The Lord when I do this excercise.
BUT please don’t do this if it feels to you like dissociation. That is NOT the goal, and in that case, would not be healthy.”
Thank you Nancy! I appreciate that. I’ll be careful re: dissociation! . . .I know that I am hard to understand! I appreciate you trying to understand❣😊
“I encourage all of you to pray your way through the book of Ephesians, praying verse by verse, and especially the third chapter. Doing this has changed my life. God has become more real and practical to me by praying this way.”
JoAnn, that is a wonderful idea! I use Ephesians❣✝☑ all the time in my marriage classes at church. Yesterday, . . .yesterday, I must have been in that book for five or six -straight- hours with different couples.
“I am in Christ, and Christ is in me. I am created in the image of God, and I am His child, even His masterpiece. The more aware I am of His life in me, the more like Him I become.”
. . .Absolutely. . . His life flowing through us. . . .And for me, I get glimpses of that happening when I totally overwhelmed by issues (like yesterday after my marriage classes couples come up and tell me all their issues —just unbelievable stuff!) and I just cry out in my heart . . .Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble . . . .Jesus, Jesus, You silence my fears! . . .Help me Lord Jesus to help these couples get the correct professional help. . . .JoAnn, they will never go to counseling the church provides if I can’t make a compelling case for why. . . .People so often wrongly think they must be really messed up if they have to go to professional counseling.
. . .ha, ha, ha. . . . not me, I know I’m messed up . . .I get all the counseling I can. I know I’m totally insufficient and need Christ even when I totally don’t understand Him and His ways. †ރ ✞ރ✝❣😊 💕
. . .You know, this. . . .this is really, really beautiful: “I am in Christ, and Christ is in me. I am created in the image of God, and I am His child, even His masterpiece. The more aware I am of His life in me, the more like Him I become.”
“That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.”—Ephesians 3:17❣😊
The earliest known manuscript of Ephesians is P45 in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland from AD175 –it is in Koine Greek and it is priceless . . .Ephesians just carries so, so many truths about our new identity in Christ and our special calling in His body. I think if you had to, you could do all counseling out of that book.
Yes, Nancy…through the cross. The reason we feel condemned, besides that the enemy uses condemnation to pull us down, is that we think we should be better than we are. When we really see our natural man and how far away from God it is, then we actually can expect that we will fail, and then rejoice in His love for us and his redemption. The Lord loved Jacob, in spite of the fact that Jacob was such a scoundrel. He sees us through the cross, and we must also. The “old man” has been crucified! Hallelujah for this! Now we are in Him. Praise the Lord!
“Then we actually can expect that we will fail, and then rejoice in His love for us and His redemption”
This is what realistic expectations of oneself looks like.
Perfectionism is a serious handicap. So pride-filled.
Nevertheless, I still don’t like it when I mess up. The enemy loves to beat me up, so I just tell him where to go….
Aleea, you said, “I think if you had to, you could do all counseling out of that book.” I agree. The letter to the Ephesians has been called “the heart of the divine revelation.” Every word is full of power and grace. That’s why we can get so much help by simply, deeply praying through every verse. So much light there. Eph. 6:17-18: And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, By means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints….
Re: Ephesians “Every word is full of power and grace. That’s why we can get so much help by simply, deeply praying through every verse. So much light there.”✅🎶
Absolutely JoAnn. . . .and in “counseling” so many from my church I have found: it also paints the reality of the ordinary progress of Christian growth and understanding that should not escape our notice: early believers know no answers or really crazy stuff; immature believers know all the answers; and mature believers know the real (utter) limits of our “answers.” The limits where we have to put it back in God’s hands. . . . .Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
. . .Let me paraphrase what Paul is saying in there (I bet everyone here knows all this but living it is so, so different): Jesus married the Church: Christians, you and me, —us. The Church is His literal bride. He laid His life down for the Church. . . .And Paul writes that husbands should love their wives in the same way that Jesus loved The Church, and *vice-versa* for all us here. . . . .What a daunting task far, far too lightly entered into —ἑαυτὸνπαρέδωκενὑπὲραὐτῆς✅ (Gave everything He had for Her and the inverse is implied).
. . .So, without all the Greek words and the interplay between them, . . .what is made clear in that book is that marriage was designed to display the love that Jesus has for the Church, His bride (Again, everyone here knows all this but living it (But living it!) is so, so different. . . .Now, one thing Nancy so often seems to refer to that is so, so correct that it can not be overstated (—I hope I do her no injustice stating it in my own words.) . . . .Our beliefs are our actions. That’s why Christianity is not true unless/ until it is embodied/ until acted out. —It’s a way of *acting* in the world, not σπρώχνοντας (spewing forth) verbiage. I can only find out what I actually believe (—rather than what I think I believe) by watching how I act, especially under stress. I simply don’t know what I really believe before that. —And I think that is because we are all too complex to fully understand ourselves. . . .So, in marriage, it is supposed to be close to tasting that kind of love that He has for us: a sacrificing love, a serving love, a selfless love. . . .But the huge downside is that it means marriage is not about us, at all. It’s about God. It’s about the Gospel. . . .And I understand something of the real (the utter) limits of *all* our “answers.”
. . .Anyways, I have already committed to so, so much through July, but after I work through some of it, I am going, Lord willing, to start “deeply praying through every verse.” I just feel that is such a powerful, Christ-conforming suggestion💡🎯. . . .Again, the limits where we have to put it *all* back into God’s hands. It’s always easier to default to the current culture or psychology or “what is practical” then the buried, totally messy truths found in living in the already and the not yet —inside the tension. Right in the middle, in the gray with God in Christ. . . .Again, the limits where we have to put it *all* back into God’s hands💟✝♡ღ🌠😊💬
Grace be with you, dear Sister.
. . . .and also with you JoAnn!
Today, I am reading (huge plane ride back to California). . . .Who Does He Say You Are?: Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels Paperback – August 5, 2016 by Colleen C. Mitchell . . . . Not as good as reading the oldest copies of the N.T. we have (re: P45, P46, and P47 -from clay jars found in a Coptic graveyard near the ruins of the ancient city of Aphroditopolis) but really good all the same. . . .She put great questions at the end of each chapter so I may use it with one of my groups in the future. . . ❣✝✈😊📓†ރ📤 📡☄