Thursday, March 01, 2007

Act Like God Says I Am, Part II

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning, new every morning
Great is thy faithfulness oh Lord
Great is thy faithfulness"

Life has been a great challenge for us these past couple of weeks. We flew out to Houston, TX on Sunday, February 18th for DearHubby's knees surgery. He hurt his left knee last year and this surgery was to take 1/3 of his patella tendon from his good knee and to graft it into his bad knee. I was quite anxious about the whole trip because I saw the weight on my shoulders just getting heavier with having the sole responsibility of doing everything (taking care of the finances, determining and getting all the food, doing all the driving, taking care of DearDaughter, and caring for DearHubby) and I didn't know how I would handle carrying the weight.

I have been reading The Excellent Wife and Her Husband is Known in the Gates. These books have been a great encouragement for me regarding my role as a wife, especially in the area of being a helper to my husband. Therefore, with my concern about how I would handle carrying all the weight, I tried to prepare myself, particularly my attitude, for the trip and to set my mind on being a helper to my husband while in Texas. Yet, despite all the "preparation" for the test to come, I failed miserably when the test actually did happen.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)

My attitude just started off wrong from the very start. From the first day of the surgery, I was taken by surprise by a lot of unexpected events from the whole procedure and I didn't take those surprises very well. Mostly, these surprises needed me to go out of my way to be a helper to my husband. I needed to change the ways I determined to do things and I did not like having to make those changes. As a result of this bad attitude, a hardness in my heart developed towards my DearHusband. In my heart, I started to blame DearHusband for all the hardships and inconveniences I was experiencing during the trip.

This bad attitude continued as DearHusband came home from the hospital. In my heart and mind it was all of HIS fault that he was as in much pain as he was. Afterall, this surgery did not have to happen. I have always told DearHusband that his dirt-bike hobby was not useful for the family and this was evidence of how his hobby just causes us strife and hardship. Therefore, why should I have to suffer for his bad choices? My heart was so hard towards my husband that even when I was a help to him, I did it grudgingly.

Before our trip, we had earnestly prayed that we would be a light for the Lord while we were in Texas, but my bad attitude just made it so hard to exemplify our biblical roles. The darkest hour came during the last night in Texas. My back pain had progressively gotten worse throughout the week and it just made doing things so much harder. Yet, throughout the week, I had tried not to complain too much about my back because I was there to help my husband and so I needed to "suck" up the pain while I cared for my husband. Well, during that last night, DearHubby just kept giving me updates about his pain. By the end of the evening I just got fed up about hearing all about DearHubby's pain. That was all he talked about during the week and I was just tired about hearing about his "suffering". What about me? DearHubby wasn't the only one suffering this week, I had been too!!! So, as he worked on his physical therapy, I coldly told him to stop his grunting because I was fed up with all his noises. Later that evening, as we prepared for bed, DearHubby wanted our usual hug and kiss. However, I was not in the mood to give him a hug and a kiss. So, DearHubby asked if I would mind if he just gave me a hug and a kiss. I didn't respond and he came over to hug and kiss me, but I still didn't respond. DearHubby asked why I wasn't giving him a hug and a kiss and I told him that I didn't say I would. That finally pushed DearHubby over the edge and a big and loud argument ensued. Needless to say, if we were any sort of light at all during that week, our light was just covered and broken that evening. We did eventually "make-up", but not until our sinfulness came out.

Jumping ahead to this week, we arrived home on Saturday evening with no food and so we decided to skip church on Sunday so that DearHusband could rest his knees while DearDaughter and I went grocery shopping. Since we did not got to church, I spent some time reading Her Husband is Known in the Gates and the passage I read truly convicted me. It was a passage I needed to read before the trip, but I believe the Lord withheld that passage from me so that I would better learn my lesson.

Satan has a definition of hypocrite that many of you have bought - acting different from what you feel. It's a lie, yet every assertiveness class and self-esteem-building group would have you believe it. They say if you feel angry, show it; don't lie about it. Don't be deceptive - act like you feel. When someone speaks of kindness, say that you don't feel like being kind. To forgive would be unthinkable if you don't feel forgiving. Don't listen to Satan's messengers! Remember the reputation of feelings - they are not reliable. Sometimes they are accurate; sometimes dead wrong, so you cannot depend on them for guidance. You must depend only upon the Word of God and reject the lies of the deceiver and the words of men.

I had been a hypocrite by not acting like God said I was. God's definition of hypocrisy is acting different from what you are - which according to Romans 6:6 is born again and a new creation. When you act like the old person, you are being a hypocrite. God would have you act like what you are. You must know who and what God says you are.

Many Christians believe "I am just a dirty old sinner saved by grace." A born-again was a lost sinner, but has become a blood-washed believer, a saint who may occasionally sin - saved by God's grace. It is an entirely different perspective. If you get up in the morning thinking you are just a dirty old sinner who happens to be saved by grace, what will you do all day? Most likely you'll sin and won't even be surprised. Saints should be surprised when they sin. What an exciting truth! Many happy changes began to happen in my life when I recognized it.

Unless you live according to God's definition of who you are in Christ, you'll easily slip into wrong actions, just as I did. Wrong actions come from wrong thinking. It is easy to believe what you feel or perceive as truth rather than to believe God. The deceiver was keeping me from it. I was living a defeated life; my feelings and incorrect thinking dominated my decisions and actions. We must examine our thinking in the light of God's Word.

I was a hypocrite in Texas because I acted the way I felt rather than acting who I am in Christ. That really hit me in the heart and I resolved that I would change my attitude this week. Well, my back had even gotten worse since the plane ride and I was back to my former condition where at the end of the day I could not walk. I had even more responsibilities here at home than at Texas and by the end of the day when my DearHusband got home I was just beat tired and my nerves were thin. Though I tried with all my might to do the right thing, I still failed.

Once again, my attitude turned sour and I had a complete break-down on Tuesday evening. Everything just went wrong as I tried to help my husband and rather than being a help I just seemed like such a burden. The last task for the evening was giving DearHubby his nightly blood thinner shot. This is a shot he's been taking since the surgery to keep him from getting blood clots. I administered the shot and DearHubby cried out loudly in great pain. Just one more thing that went wrong that night and I just couldn't handle it anymore. I threw everything related to this process across the room, yelled out "I hate this life, I can't take it anymore!!!!", and ran out the room and just wailed out in the living room. As I cried my heart out, DearHubby was also in the bedroom literally crying and praying for me. That was the end of my strength. I could no longer handle this whole burden on my own.

When I finally calmed down, DearHubby and I laid in bed to talk a little. I asked some rhetorical questions, "Why am I always so unkind? Why can't I just be nice? Why am I always mad?" DearHusband reminded me that I don't have to be that way and that I do have the power (implying the Holy Spirit) to fight it and all I had to do was to fight those feelings. This brings us back full circle to what Mrs. Cantrell spoke of about being who God says I am. I am a blood-washed sinner saved by His grace and that means I am no longer bonded to sin and I do have the power to turn from sin by walking in His grace by faith.

Today is Thankful Thursday and one of the things I noted is how I am thankful for difficult challenges and struggles that bring out our weaknesses and even sins. As we recognize those things, we also recognize that God is being faithful to us by shedding light in the deep and dark crevices of our hearts so that we may turn and repent from those ways and run to Him for strength to do what is right and pleasing.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4, NIV)

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it...(Hebrews 12:11, NIV)

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