|Thoughts near the ocean in Samoa|
DARE 8: Determine to become your spouse's biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy. To help you set your heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday's list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it. Then share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.
It actually wasn't hard to destroy the negative list. I tore it up into tiny pieces and threw it away. Very therapeutic.
To start with, I can help Hubby celebrate a top score on a recent test at work. This is so important. Because of this dare, I've committed to celebrating his successes and encouraging him to future success by telling him how proud I am of his hard work as a provider, father and husband.
I know there were times early in our marriage when I resented no longer working, and that habit has probably affected the way I react to Hubby's successes now. Not that I feel the same way as I did then, but a habit is a persistent thing! Not that I was forced into staying home, either. We made the decision to be a one income family together. We didn't choose it because it's a commandment (it's not specifically in the Bible about being a SAHM) but because we wanted to personally raise our kids. But just because I chose it didn't mean I had a clue to what I was doing. Being content in my job as SAHM was a long journey and still a work in progress at times. Click here for details. Then and now I find great comfort in the virtuous woman in Proverbs.
Look at the Proverbs 31 woman. She works hard for her family and runs her household wisely. She purchases property with her own money. She has multiple business endeavors that provide clothing, food and comfort for those she loves and those she employs (yes, she's somebody's boss!). She helps the needy. Nowhere in there does it say she stays exclusively at home! Her husband is respected and does his part as well. They are a team.
But here's what it took me a long time to realize: those are the Prov 31 woman's talents. Not mine.
And my talents may not be the same as yours. We are all different and all have our own unique purpose.
Here's what I've learned from my own studies in God's Word.
I believe it's my personal responsibility (no matter if I work outside the home or not) to diligently teach our child about the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), to actively invest my talents and time in my home to 'build it up' spiritually and emotionally (Proverbs 14:1), and to learn from older wiser women (who are living for the Lord) about how to bless my family (Titus 2:3-5). All these things can be done by WAHMs, SAHMs, and working wives/mothers. I applaud working women! I used to think that was the road for me until my priorities changed. So right now, I'm where I need to be and am doing what I should be doing. I had to learn to cultivate the talents I've been given and use them to bless my family. Find your personal purpose and bloom where you are planted, that's the beginning of contentment. And that's what I'm striving to learn, that no matter what the situation is, in the Lord I can be content.
This is my purpose for now and I'm learning to live for the Lord now. Because I can't control what will happen in the future, but I can choose to seek out God's will today.
It's taken lots of sacrifices, living on one income, but there are so many wonderful things about it as well! We are able to focus on the simpler things in life and spend time as a family without having to work around two corporate schedules. We appreciate what we have, including each other.
Overall, we've been blessed because we are not afraid to make sacrifices and fight for our family and how we believe our home should be. Having confidence in God's promises really helps! Without them, there are so many times we would have been depressed and maybe given up without knowing what to do.
All that to say:
Hubby likes to tell me how proud he is of me, how good our home looks, and encourages me in the areas he knows are a struggle for me (*ahem* dishes!), sometimes taking them on himself when he knows I'm overwhelmed. I often think of how proud I am of him, but nine times out of ten (because of a bad habit) I don't say it. I want to change that. I will make sure to encourage him as well, because I believe encouraging Hubby to excel is part of my 'keeping the home'. I told him today how proud I was of his recent accomplishment and made plans to celebrate soon!
I know this is a bit rambling, but you wouldn't believe how much I actually deleted. This was originally three times as long :) This dare gave me so much to think about and I needed to work it all out for myself so I could draw on the past and learn from it. On to Dare 9!