|Rainstorm in Samoa|
DARE 12: Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. Tell them you are putting their preference first.
Oh my. I wasn't sure what to do for this dare so decided to spend the day praying about it and hoping the Lord would reveal to me what needed to be done so I could continue to grow.
By the end of the day, I knew for sure what I needed to speak to Hubby about but was struggling with being humble about it. Then I reread the dare and saw that quoted as a reference to the topic was this verse:
James 3:17 "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."
If I wanted to be obedient to God's Word and yield to His wisdom, I needed to first be sure my intentions were pure, peaceful, gentle. I had to do away with partiality (or selfishness) and my hypocrisy in our marriage! This was a tough pill to swallow, but I placed it all in the Lord's hands, asking for forgiveness in my selfishness and asking that He replace it with a willingness to promote peace and gentle interactions between Hubby and myself. I can get pretty feisty. It can be a good thing to be passionate, but not when it turns into hard hearted selfish action. After asking God's forgiveness, it was time to ask for Hubby's and to yield to his preference.
My conviction was about finances.
Ooh, big scary word.
I love to find things on clearance and often will smudge my household budget a bit when I find something for a great price that I just 'have to have'. I'm not talking about my normal spending I get to do as part of my job as decorator, teacher and wife. I mean those times when I've spent my weekly allotment but will knowingly purchase something else, essentially taking from another part of our budget to scratch that retail itch. And here's the part that I was convicted about: I don't tell Hubby about it. The man will call me in the middle of the day to ask if he can purchase a soda, for crying out loud! Because he knows it's not in our regular budget and that we both control the finances as a team. But I have been doing this sneaky spending for a while now, ignoring the little nudge in my heart telling me, You're being a hypocrite. I try to hush the guilt by bragging about how little the awesome thing cost. Now, every time Hubby finds out about my purchases, either by coming home and me showing them off to him, or by his weekly balancing of our accounts, he is never angry. He tells me how good I did and how great the clothing/decor, etc looks. Well, of course, then I feel terrible! But another week goes by and I do it all over again.
I don't spend frivolously. I don't buy full price and it's rare that I even buy things as high as 50% off, it's usually discounted even deeper. But the household and clothing budget is totally different from our grocery budget, so it's not like I don't get to shop. This covert extra spending, no matter how little, has been my tiny way of rebelling and I never admitted it to myself. I have been lying by omission to my husband! The strange thing is, I haven't done this type of spending since starting the Love Dare. I knew deep down that I was sinning and so avoided it, even though I never confronted it and removed it from my life.
This hypocritical spending has been my underhanded way of rebelling against the 'couple identity' I so hated early in my adulthood. I chafed to be recognized as my own individual and feared being known simply as so-and-so's girlfriend or wife. Even though I'm now happily married and am proud to be Hubby's wife, old habits die slowly and even as they're dying sometimes you have to administer the final blow. I had given up the outward actions and attitude from the old habit. And a good thing, too. My fear of being seen as anyone but myself made our dating life and first years of marriage tougher than it needed to be.
So much pride.
So not worth it!
I'm so thankful the Lord gave me such a patient and good man! Hubby loves me still, stubborn idiocy and all. But even though the outward attributes of my habit were gone, this undercover one persisted. And I was scared to death to talk to Hubby about it. I prayed and cried, asking for strength and humility.
Then I took a deep breath and told Hubby everything and asked for his forgiveness.
Proving again that our heavenly Father is always good to His children, Hubby forgave me and we had a wonderful talk about our finances and what we'll do from now on. And now we know that we are committed to keeping our word and not making our bills harder to pay than they need to be. A little bit here and there certainly add up, and he, sweet man, had noticed (well, yeah, I should've remembered I didn't fall in love with a stupid man) but had said nothing. Why? Because, as he said, he trusts me. Because he loves me. So of course, I bawled. And he held me and we talked about our future and how thankful we are for everything God continues to provide.
Imagine if I had kept this bad habit. It may have only been a few dollars a week now, but in a few years that dollar amount may have grown to financially crippling proportions! I shudder to think of the consequences I may have subjected my precious family to by my thoughtless actions.
These dares are really hitting home lately. From the easy changes to the ones that take a lot of humbling. But so far, they've all taught me something. One dare can encourage me in something I am doing right while another forces me to honestly look at myself and see how I can handle a situation better. I can feel our marriage bond strengthening, and I know Hubby can feel it too. God bless the authors of the Love Dare, Stephen and Alex Kendrick! The book is definitely an experience and one I'm looking forward to continue if the Lord wills.
A few verses that I will use to keep accountable. Praise the Lord for the tools to draw closer to Him!
Romans 12:18 "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
Romans 14: 7-8a " For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord:"
Romans 12: 9-12 "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;"
Isaiah 55:2 "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?"