Friday, August 15, 2014

Living to Please


I recently felt like I was wading in a mud pit - like quick sand. Everything seemed hard.  I'd been tired and cranky.  My husband tells me it's because I live life at a chaotic pace.  That was tough to hear, but he was right.  I don't know why I tend to live my life like this.  It's like I enjoy chaos or something, yet down deep, I long for peace and order.  The Bible tells me I'm to live peacefully and that I should let the peace of Christ rule in my heart.  Sure doesn't sound like me lately, though! 

Super Mom!

I suppose my mud puddle, which turned quickly to a mud pit, began when I decided I was going to be the "perfect mom" now that I've left my morning show position and have decided to spend more time focusing on my family and home responsibilities. Specifically, trying to be a better wife to my husband who works so hard every day. I had the image of June Cleaver in my head - I should've known I was headed for trouble! (smile)

There is a verse that is in Proverbs 31 that talks about the ideal woman - the woman I strive to be but never quite live up to.  But in verse 12 it says, "She brings him (her husband) good, not harm, all the days of her life." Lately, I've been measuring everything I do on whether or not I'm bringing good or harm to my husband with each decision I make.  Every chore I do.  Every choice I make.  Am I bringing him harm or good?  

Too many times, it seems I'm making decisions that bring him harm.  Like when I don't remember to do things because I didn't make a list that he asked me to make.  Or when I don't have dinner ready when he comes home because we've been so busy throughout the day (doing things at a chaotic pace).  Or when I do the chores instead of having our children do them (which makes my life much easier, but doesn't teach them anything). Or when the house is a disaster, even though I know my husband loves order.

The problem is, when I live this way, I go into panic-mode when I don't measure up.  I feel like when I mess up or do something wrong, it's sending him a message of "I don't care what you want" or "I have better things to do and you don't matter."  And then I begin to panic and make decisions that seem to only make things worse!  It's a vicious cycle.

So I talked to him about it.  He said something very true...very wise (he's like that).  He said, "You have to stop doing things that are motivated by your desire to please me.  You should be measuring things based on what pleases God and what you know is right.  My desires and expectations shouldn't be your motivation."  This was an ah-ha moment for me.  And hearing it from him was very freeing!  I felt like he understood that often his expectations are probably more than they should be.  But he knew that if I put God first, everything else would fall into place. 

Anytime I do something out of a desire to please someone besides God, I will get myself into trouble.  Yes, I should want to please my husband...but that comes from living to please God first.  He's the one who will guide and direct me the way I should go.  But I cannot consistently live up to the expectations a person puts onto me.  I just can't.  People don't know our hearts, don't know what we've done all day, don't know what we've accomplished or what we've been struggling with.  But God does.  He measures our actions not on unrealistic expectations, but on truth. 

I told my husband, "You know when I don't do everything the way you expect or desire, I want you to know that it doesn't mean I don't love or respect you.  I never do that intentionally.  I never want to hurt you or make life harder for you. I have good intentions, but sometimes things just are not going to be the way you would expect."  His reply to me was "I want you to know that when my expectations are not met, that doesn't mean I don't love you either - it just means I'm disappointed.  But I will always love you - nothing will change that."  Wow...I think I forget that sometimes.  Just because I don't always measure up as the "perfect wife" doesn't mean he doesn't love me.  And just because I don't always meet his expectations that doesn't mean I don't love him. 

Galatians 1:10 says "Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.  If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant."  And Matthew 6:33 says "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."  When I seek to please others above pleasing God, I'm just looking for trouble. 

Lord, thank you for showing me the truth. Now....teach me to walk in this truth! And help me to love and serve my family well.

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