Friday, December 23, 2011
Carrying Loads We Weren't Intended to Carry
God clearly states in Scripture that a husband is to be the leader in his home. He repeats it several times.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:22-24)
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." (Colossians 3:18)
"Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear." (1 Peter 3:1,2)
But for us women to allow our husbands to lead requires a certain level of trust. Some husbands are naturals at being good leaders. Others, due to personality makeup and the modeling of their fathers, do not come by it so naturally. Some men are assertive, others are passive. Some men are responsible, others, not so much. Some of you have husbands who make it easy to put your trust in them to lead. Others of you may struggle trusting the husband God gave you. Many of you probably feel you could do a much better job leading the family than your husband.
Nevertheless, God has called husbands to lead and us women to submit. It's in God's Word, plain as day, and God knows best. God is not a huge fan of equal partnerships. God, throughout His Word, speaks about chains-of-command and authority. He says that it is best this way. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. We can fight with this plan, but it will lead to weariness and various types of consequences. I will share with you something I learned many years ago that changed my life. I constantly have to remind myself of it, because it isn't easy. Here it is: It is better for your husband to lead poorly than for you to lead well. Why? Because it's God's plan - He designed it that way, and He asked us to obey.
BUT MY HUSBAND ISN'T A CHRISTIAN? God can STILL work despite Him. He's done it many times in the Bible and throughout history. He can accomplish His plan, He can work out circumstances just so. (Reread the first few verses of 1 Peter 3. It gives you wives of non-Christians TREMENDOUS power to change your circumstances.)
I am going to propose something to you ladies. I propose to you that submitting to your husband's leadership requires NOT a trust in your husband, but a trust in GOD. You must trust that God has your back, that He can work in your favor despite your husband. You must trust that your life is in God's hands.
Believe me, ladies, I've had to confront this in my own life many times - repeatedly. Letting go of control is harder than it sounds. It's extremely FREEING, but for whatever reason, we prefer the bondage of carrying a load we were not intended to carry. We wear ourselves out day after day with worrying and controlling and leading when we need to sit back, allow our husbands to exercise their God-given role, and let God work. We rob our husbands of their manly ability to lead because they haven't practiced it in so long - we've done it for them. We've taken away from them their dignity and manhood. They've grown lazy because their wives have done their job for them for years. It's not healthy for either husband or wife.
WHAT ABOUT WHEN HE SCREWS UP? What about it? He's human. He will fail at times, just like you. But what should you do when you fail? Get up and try again. Early in our marriage, I would expect my husband to be as wise as my father was. But then I realized that my father grew in wisdom throughout his 25 years of marriage. He didn't just ARRIVE on day one of his marriage with all that wisdom. Wisdom comes with years of life experience. You live and learn. So, will your husband make mistakes? Absolutely! And then you have a choice to make. You can either really make him feel bad and pay for it by making sure he knows how disappointed you are with him. Or, you can hold him up and let him know that you love him despite his mistakes, and know that he meant well, all the while, praying fervently to God on his behalf. He feels bad enough without your help.
BUT I'M SCARED TO LET GO! I have been, too, many times over the years. It's very hard, putting your life and your children's lives in the hands of another! But I've had to ask myself over and over, "What's the worst that could happen?" For example, finances may not be as strong as they would if you'd manage them. So what? Your husband must answer to God for how he manages your family's finances, not you. You may have to downsize your house and live more frugally. Is that the end of the world? Life is not supposed to be fair, ladies. It is NOT by accident that you are in the marriage you are in. God may be trying to teach you something. Don't miss out!
BUT YOU DON'T KNOW MY HUSBAND. You're right, I don't know every husband. But God's commands were for everyone. Now, if you're being physically abused by your husband and your life is in danger, please, please, get out and get help. But for most of us, our lives are not at risk. We can think of lots of reasons why God's commands are not for OUR situation, but God didn't type, "unless..." after His command. Let's make sure we aren't making excuses to avoid obeying Him. Remember, blessings come with obedience ("Obedience is better than sacrifice..." 1 Samuel 15:22), and consequences always come with disobedience. The consequences are never pleasant, trust me.
MY CHALLENGE TO YOU TODAY: Try it out, God's way! Just for a week, to start. Try to agree with your husband more than you disagree. Don't challenge every thought he expresses. Don't put him down for every mistake he makes. But do the OPPOSITE of what you would usually do. PRAY! Pray and ask God to change your heart. It's not about controlling your tongue, for out of the abundance of the HEART the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). You must have a heart-change. You must look at your husband as God's appointed leader in your life, as God's child trying to navigate through life just as you are, trying to do his best. Try not to look at the externals, but down deep into the root of your husband's character. Some of those things that annoy you, perhaps you will gain insight to the root of those issues - where they come from. Gals, your husbands are fallen individuals just as you are. We all have sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23). We must decrease and let God increase in our lives. For many of you, it will take an act of God to let go of control and let your husband take his rightful place in your home. I encourage you to try it God's way, and learn to trust in the Lord of all creation! He loves you and wants what is best for you more than you do yourself!
A MESSAGE TO YOU SINGLE LADIES: Knowing this truth, let me encourage you ladies to seek a husband you can truly follow. Do not settle or marry out of desperation or infatuation. Make sure your husband will be someone unto whom you can submit yourself.