Today, I want to throw out my our next challenge. I am completely scared to death to make this commitment, as I have never made a commitment to this level EVER before in my life. This challenge would start on January 11th which is pretty close to when our 30 Day Encouragement Challenge ends. We might have to do double duty for a day or two. Ugh, I can hardly even say it. I feel like God led me to this challenge & I think I am trying to come up with a reason why I can't do it. Well, I can come up with 20 reasons, but are any of them good? Not good enough. Ok, so here it is....(I paused for a few minutes before I had the courage to go on)
Yes, you are seeing clearly. It says, "New Thru 30 - The New Testament in 30 Days". Am I kidding? I wish. Now, lets get real here. I never read a single scripture before this summer when Adam & I were separated. Even then, I would only read random scriptures that people sent to me. On one Sunday I read Luke 1-10 because Adam was reading it & he asked me too. On another weekend I read all of James because the sermon series at Elevation Church (The Essential James Series) was phenomenal & I wanted more. That's it. That is my experience with the Bible. I am completely nervous, without confidence, scared to death, shaking, excited, open, anxious, hungry, curious, & ready to get started. Anyone confused yet?
Yesterday I was saying that I have too much on my plate, today I want to read The New Testament in 30 Days. Am I crazy? Yes! I am crazy for the Lord. Today is one of those days where I feel as though I can't get enough. I am so thirsty. Now, I did have to break things down a little to be sure that this was even remotely possible for me to do. I am too much of a control freak to do anything that guarantees my failure. I need to at least have a fighting chance.
I grabbed my Bible that was given to me by Elevation Church last year. I opened it up to the New Testament. (It was on page 533) Interesting thing about that, possibly another sign? One of the only scriptures that I know is Ephesians 5:33. Ha! I felt my heart get a little fuller. In my Bible there are 162 pages in the New Testament. Over 30 days this would be about 5.4 pages each day. Well now, that seems MUCH more reasonable. According to the reading plan, they give us Saturday & Sunday off from reading but that will make more reading on Monday thru Friday. I am not sure if I can handle more on those days, so for now I am planning on 5.4 pages each day without break. Again, I don't want to set myself up for failure right out of the gate. I can always read more on one day so that I can have a day off. Plus, I think consistency is going to be key for me personally.
Needless to say, I am going to need some serious accountability & a few many friends to do this with me. Remember, I have never done this before either. If I can do it, you can too. I promise. So who is in? I can't hear you. I said, "Who is in with me?" Who is ready to be a part of the most dramatic challenge so far? (I thought I was on The Bachelor for a minute) I am starting a small group forum on The Blog Frog so that we can all talk about our daily reading together. The Bible can be hard to understand so we can all ask questions & learn from each other. Just click on The Blog Frog link to go straight there, a free one-way ticket. I am ready ladies! I just have one question.....is it cheating if we start early? LOL I will post the reading plan on The Blog Frog forum. See you there.
Authority - Listen for & respect his desire to serve & to lead.
Scripture clearly teaches that a wife should not be contentious. Consider Proverbs 21:9: "It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman." There are many ways that a wife can be contentious, but disrespectfully challenging her husband's God-given authority is one way that can get the crazy cycle going in a hurry. The way to make your husband feel respected is to tell him that because he has 51% of the responsibility, that he also has 51% of the authority.
What happens when the two of you face a difficult choice & your husband is not allowed to make the final decision? You might hear, "Do you want to be the leader or not?" Or, "Quit trying to wear the pants in this family." These comments will most likely come across to us as unloving or harsh, but this is not our husband's intention. We must decode what he is saying. Maybe this is how he feels, "When I am held responsible & then you exercise veto power, I feel disrespected." When we feel that our husband is frustrated about not being allowed to fill his leadership role we can say....
"Lots of times when I complain or criticize, I really need assurance. But I know this is a put down to your leadership. Please forgive me."
"God made us equal, but you are the one He made responsible for me & the kids. Forgive me for failing to respect your authority."
"Honey, I know you have a lot of pressure on you lead our family. Tell me how I can pray for you & help you."
"I really feel secure because of your strength & authority, especially with our children. I just want you to know that."
"When I argue or disagree with you, I am not trying to wear the pants. I am simply trying to help. Please trust my heart."
"I have been convicted lately about my contentious spirit. Please forgive me for not respecting your leadership."
Insight - Don't let your woman's intuition make you deaf to his desire to analyze & counsel.
Women are remarkably gifted with intuition, but they can often depend too much on their own opinions & not enough on their husbands' insight. Part of the problem is that the typical woman doesn't want advice or a solution. She wants empathy, a listening ear. When your husband tries to share his insights he may hear, "Quit trying to fix me!" You may be hearing, "Why tell me your problems if you don't want any help?" Those words sound unloving & mean, if you don't take the time to decode his words. When you feel as though you may have disrespected your husband by rejecting his suggested solutions, try these encouraging or energizing words instead.
"Honey, I am sorry. I know you are trying to help. It's just that I need you to listen for a while. That is what will make me feel better."
"I know I can depend too much on my feelings. I thank the Lord He has given you to me because I need your insight."
"You know, honey, we make a good team. With my intuition & your insight, we can handle a lot of problems."
" I apologize for acting like I don't want your opinions on how to deal with the kids. I need your input. It's just that sometimes I get so frustrated. I feel like nothing is working, & I take it out on you. Please forgive me."
"Honey, please forgive me for making you guess when I want your listening ear & when I want your solutions. I need to let you know."
"Honey, would it be okay if I asked you for some advice?"
Day Fifteen -
"But grow in the grace & knowledge of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ..." 2 Peter 3:18a
Sometimes we live so close to our spouse that we fail to see him as others do; we only see our husband's faults. But take a step back. Perhaps he is growing spiritually in ways you have failed to appreciate. How can you encourage his growth in a fresh, new way? Remember - your husband is accountable to God for his spiritual development. You are accountable to God to encourage & not hinder that growth.
Can you identify an area of spiritual strength in your husband? Does he pray or read his Bible regularly? Does he like to read about or discuss spiritual matters? Does he go to church with you? Is he a spiritual leader? What do others say about him? If you can identify a specific area, praise him for that.
If not, pray earnestly that God will work in his heart, & watch for signs of spiritual growth in the future.
Day Fifteen Prayer -
Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit & a servant's heart before the Lord. Pray that he will listen to God & desire to do His will. (Proverbs 15:33; Ephesians 6:6)