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R U ‘Always Right’?

1 Aug

Red Skelton in tophatOne of comedian Red Skelton’s funniest routines is often shared as “Red Skelton’s Recipe for the Perfect Marriage.”  I (Dawn) have often wondered whether his jibes at his “wife” were part of the reason the humorist struggled through his own marriages.  Skelton joked:

“I haven’t spoken to my wife in 18 months. I don’t like to interrupt her.”

“I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary. ‘Somewhere I haven’t been in a long time!’ she said. So I suggested the kitchen.”

“The last fight was my fault… My wife asked, ‘What’s on the TV?’ I said, ‘Dust!'”

And a favorite, “I married Miss Right. I just didn’t know her first name was ‘Always.'” (1)

I (Dawn) have to admit that for many years in my marriage, I was Mrs. Always Right.

It seems that, after the honeymoon ended, I couldn’t help correcting my husband, Bob. The truth was, I could help it, but I didn’t … I just enjoyed always being “right”!

I corrected my husband’s manners, though he was a well-mannered man. I corrected his eating choices, though overall they were actually better than mine. I corrected his spelling, when I should have focused on his good ideas. I even corrected his “loud laugh” in public.

It was this loud laugh that eventually led to my seeing how critical I’d become. Once, as Bob got tickled about a friend’s joke, he let loose with a loud guffaw. I cringed, and was about ready to “shush” him when a woman leaned over to me and said, “Don’t you just love Bob’s laugh? He can sure light up a room.”

I stared at my husband, and then looked around the room. Yes indeed. People were smiling, and they were drawn to him. They moved toward him and quickly joined in the fun while I stood on the sidelines. I suddenly realized that I’d been viewing my hubby through the wrong lens. Mine. Not God’s.

This was verified in another instance. I was critical of  Bob’s easy-going personality.

Critical Woman

Mrs. Always Right

I wished he’d be more bold. I kept nagging him to step up, stand up, and speak up! (Advice I should have taken more to heart myself, by the way.)

Then one day, a friend told me Bob’s personality played into how God worked in a ministry overseas. His gentle manner smoothed confrontations, and his peace-loving persona even diffused potential run-ins with the KGB! His easy-going responses enabled team members to function together without stress. Then, I thought about his infinite patience with me.

I discovered that my desire to be “always right” in Bob’s life sprung more from pride than concern for him. I was always worried about how he would reflect on me. The truth was, Bob’s critical wife was a poor reflection on him. As I began to see my critical spirit from God’s perspective, I wondered how Bob had ever put up with me.

I am thankful to God that He helped me to put off a critical spirit and put on a spirit of encouragement (Ephesians 4:22-24).  Note: See below for a list of other attitudes to put off – put on. (2)

And I cannot tell you how thankful I am for a husband ~ so perfect for me, my counterpart ~ who is authentic and used of God.

How about you, Friend? Are you so concerned about being “right” that you use your words, attitudes, and actions to tear down others, perhaps even the one God has given you to love and bless?

Let me encourage you to “put off” that critical spirit and “put on” the characteristics of love (I Corinthians 13:4-8a).  Better always loving than “always right” when “right” is a false front for pride.

(1) http://www.clown-ministry.com/index_1.php/articles/red_skeltons_recipe_for_the_perfect_marriage/

(2) This is a great list of other attitudes to put off and put on!

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The Best Laid Plans

12 Jul

Four Greek LettersTrevor Lund of Expectancy Ministries ~ “Rev Trev” ~ loves to tell stories about his daughter when she was a little girl. He wrote about how NOT to teach a three-year-old Greek. (6/23/11 newsletter)

“Taiessa was three,” Lund wrote. “She was saying words like ‘indubitably’ in the correct context, Greek Alphabetbut on occasion had trouble saying words with ‘th’ and mixed ‘d’ and ‘g’ sometimes. We would correct her when it was necessary, and she was usually eager to say things correctly … that is unless she heard herself say it correctly.

“I had it in mind to teach her the Greek alphabet. She didn’t have a firm grasp of the English one,  mind you, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to teach her Greek, French, Hebrew, and possibly Latin (if I could learn it first) before she went to kindergarten. I’d let the teacher handle the basics.

“On one fine day, I got her excited about learning the Greek alphabet, so I began:  ‘Taiessa, repeat after me.’

“OK, Daddy!”

“Alpha, Beta, Gamma…”

“Daddy, it’s GRANDMA, not GAMMA!” she emphatically insisted.

“The best laid schemes of mice and men….”

Indeed, the most carefully prepared plans may go wrong.

A scripture verse that comes to mind is Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” In other words, we may make plans in our hearts and even act on them, but it is God who controls the outcome. (See Proverbs 16:9).

Many people have used the folksy quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Kenneth Boa, president of Reflections Ministries, says, “We could add to it, ‘If you want to hear him laugh even louder, tell him how much you know.'” (1)

Pride of knowledge is a subtle root problem in much of our planning. We simply think we know everything! Sometimes this pride leads to boasting.

James gives us some insight on this: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes….” (James 4:13-14a; 15-16a).

Our proper attitude in making plans should be to make the wisest plans we can, but also to keep our hands and hearts open to any changes God wants to make. There’s no room for boasting God'sWay-MyOwnWay signabout our plans (Proverbs 27:1; Luke 12:18-20). There’s no room for presumption over what is going to happen; we need to trust God and give all of our expectations to God. 

When it comes to planning, we must be careful that we have no personal agenda except to obey, serve, glorify, and please God. Our attitude should be humility and dependency on Him. We must acknowledge His sovereignty over our lives. Jesus came to do all that the Father asked Him to do (John 4:34; 6:38) ~ He had no other plans. He said “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). “Not my own way, but your way, Father” ~ that should be our desire as we consider our plans.

The scriptures say, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3). The “best laid plans” are those plans that are fully surrendered to the Lord.

(1) http://www.kenboa.org/blog/2010/04/20/%E2%80%9Cif-you-want-to-make-god-laugh-tell-him-your-plans-%E2%80%9D/

(2)

Who Tells You What to Do?

6 Jul

Gate of HeavenPam and her husband Bill wrote, in Marriage in the Whirlwind:

I had a dream the other night that I was approaching the gates of heaven. I noticed Gate of Heaventhat there were TWO GATES to choose from.

Over the one at the left was a sign that said, “Men who have made their own decisions.” 

Over the one at the right, “Men who have been hen-pecked.”

In front of the right gate waited a line of men that stretched as far as I could see! In front of the left gate stood my friend John, all alone.

In amazement, I went up to John and said, “This is incredible. There is a huge line of henpecked men, and over here I find you standing all by yourself. Why are you standing here?”

John gave me a quizzical look and said, “I don’t know. My wife told me to stand here.” (1)

yes dear.[Note:  Actually, henpecked husbands are no laughing matter. Wives, we need to love and respect our husbands. But that humor makes a point… ]

No matter who you are, someone tells you what to do. Listening to and submitting to authority is not just a “women’s issue,” as so many think in the church. It’s a people issue.

Think about it.

  • The government has a good deal of input for sure.
  • If we work outside the home, our boss tells us what to do.
  • If we are wives living in the model of biblical womanhood, we submit to our husbands’ leadership ~ and though he can wisely listen to our counsel ~ ultimately, he makes the decisions. [Men are to listen to God as they lead women … they are to model listening and obedience.]
  • Authorities in our lives like the local police and highway patrol can tell us what to do when we travel in our cars, and judges can tell us what to do in court.
  • When we go to church, we listen to the pastor and other church leaders, expounding on the Word and will of God, and telling us what to do in order to live in righteousness and power.

No matter how independent we think we are, someone, somewhere, has the job of telling us what to do. It’s a fact of life. 

And we can have one or two responses.

We can allow their words to grind in our spirit and make us edgy, maybe even rebellious. We can resist and maybe even get angry: “Who are they to tell me what to do?”

Or we can keep our spirits soft and our hearts teachable. We can listen, consider, and stay humble. We can ask God for His truth in others’ words. We might say, “Help me hear with my heart, Lord, and understand Your voice behind theirs.”

I’ve had both responses in life ~ sometimes to the same person. It all depends on the condition of my heart at the moment. For example, sometimes I listen to my husband’s counsel, Continue reading

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