Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reversing Roles

And again, it has been a bit since I had anything to say. I have been in the process of de-cluttering my life. Getting the clutter out will allow time to write and to create. I am finally reaching a place in my life that I really get it that doing more doesn't make me important. Being busy doesn't necessarily mean we are productive and being productive is not the point in this life. It is not productive to have a long lingering dinner with friends enjoying food and fellowship, but it is more the point than running ourselves crazy building a kingdom for ourselves that will be burning up in the end and amount to nothing. I am learning to stop and take time to take in the moments, enjoy friends, laugh with my family, taste the flavor of the food God provides for me, sit in His presence and enjoy just being there with no agenda but to enjoy my Creator. How much we could learn if we would stop and take life in like a child. Children are content to just sit with us (sometimes) with no agenda or need to be productive. They just want to be where we are. They enjoy the silly simple pleasures of life like running barefoot through the grass, or playing in the rain; they enjoy the flavor of food and don't worry about how many calories or fat is has. If we could just simplify our life and be more intentional about not letting the world squeeze into a mold, give us an identity or tell us what to value. I am hoping as I continue to make space in my life that I will write and create more. I want to use the gifts God gave me and not waste them b/c my life is too busy to develop them.

The bike ride was one of the things that needed to go. There was a such a process in getting me to the place that I could give it up. I am such a driven person and really wired to finish what I start. It is very hard for me to walk away from a task until it is finished. So giving up the ride was kind of a wrestling match for me. I was pretty consumed with riding for a few months. I spent a great deal of time on my bike and a another good chunk of energy focused on planning how to get my miles in. I didn't really realize who much pressure was on me until it was removed. I don't necessarily thing that the cycling was a bad thing innately; I don't even think it was an idol. It just took too much of the little bit of time I have and didn't allow me to focus enough on the things that should be my priority right now. I am reading a Oswald Chambers book on the Sermon on the Mount. One of the things it said was that giving up sin is one thing, but the challenge comes when we are asked to give up good things for Him. Cycling is not a bad thing, but, when asked to give it up then I reach a cross road. If I choose not to give it up, then it becomes bad b/c it is an idol b/c I choose it over obedience.

Over the last few weeks, my husband and I have been listening to a lot more sermons on our Ipods. We were listening to a series by Matt Chandler of the Village Church called The Path. We were both challenged in many different ways. It was a tremendous series which caused us to evaluate things and see the need for some changes. One of the main changes that we really as a couple agreed on was a reversal of roles. As most anyone can see, in our marriage, I pretty much run the shop. I do what I want to do and he backs me up. He doesn't really challenge me much and he doesn't really lead or make many decisions. We both see and take our responsibility in this situation. (This situation seems to be pretty common place in our society, but God will have to deal with everyone else; it's not my place.) As I have shared this story with my different circles of friends, the sentiment has been almost unanimous, "Us too." I take responsibility for taking charge and he takes responsibility for being passive and not leading or challenging me. We are moving toward reversing things, but it will probably be a journey for both of us. We may fall back into the pattern at times as it is the norm and comfortable for us, but God will be faithful to challenge us when we are falling back into comfort. Soon after this discussion my husband and I had, we got to put feet to our words. He told me that he did not think I should do the ride. Right at that moment, I had a choice to makes; I believe that it was a defining moment for me. Would we move toward the new order of things or would I be willful and push us back into the old way of functioning. I made the right choice. This choice was not too hard for me, but I am sure the tests and choices will get more challenging. I feel so much peace in my decision. I don't feel the need to analyze and second guess my choice. I didn't make the decision to drop the ride. I made the decision to defer to the wisdom of my husband and obey him. I believe in God's order of things, I will never be wrong for choosing to submit to my husband. God will always honor that choice and the gentle heart of obedience. I also feel more peaceful because I don't feel the pressure to make all the decisions and make everything work out. While my husband and I are partners in this life and equal, ultimately the responsibility falls on his shoulders. That is a wonderful relief to me. I guess it's b/c I have been shouldering responsibility that is not mine to shoulder. I I used to it liberated me to take charge b/c I can be in charge and make my own decisions, but that is not true liberation. It is bondage to pressure that God did not create me to carry. True liberation is being able to trust my husband to lead and have our families best interest at heart and being able to trust that God is able to speak to my husband and guide him and redeem any mistakes. The opposite of faith and trust is control and manipulation. Faith and trust lead to life and peace; control and manipulation lead to stress, fear and contentions. The word says that perfect love casts out all fear. That can be applied to receiving and believing in God's love for me and in my husbands love for me. Neither of them would want to harm me. When I am tempted to doubt my husband and be afraid he won't make the right decision, I need to remind myself to trust God in my husband; I need to trust that as God can speak to me and redirect me, He can do the same for me husband. In that is peace. To be honest, though, much of my controlling the house has less to do with not trusting Larry to make the right decision and more to do with me just wanting to have my way. I have been a pretty willful person my whole life and so that will not die easily, but one day at a time I will choose to commit my will to God and ask Him to give me that ability to be gentle, trusting and submissive. I was watching a documentary about the widows in Afghanistan one day and one of the women made a profound statement that I have never forgotten and have meditated upon every since. She said they had a saying in Afghanistan which says, "A husband is shade." She said, "He is a covering to keep out the sun and protect." I think that is something that we, in our society have missed. Our husbands are our protectors, and shade to us, if we will let them be. Without shade we are subject to the elements and predators. I want to lean upon my husband and let him be my shade.

We have always had a really great marriage. He is absolutely my favorite person on the face of this planet. He is my best friend and there is literally no one I would rather spend time with. There is commitment, passion, and stability between us. I have a feeling, though, that this leg of the journey we are embarking on is going to give us depth like we never thought possible. I think that things are just going to be even better. It is a great thing to be on the same page about life, where we are going and how we intend to get there.