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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Selfish Heart

It's about to get real, ladies. I'm anticipating tears while I write this one. I know it's been a while, but I need to get this all out of the overflow of my heart. It all lines up with, well, everything I've been learning recently, I promise. It just so happens that this was one of those times I had to learn the hard way. 

Let me start out by saying that my husband is very successful at his job, but he's been considering a career change. This hit me hard as I grew up in the same lifestyle; in fact, that's how I met my husband. So to change course now, to leave this life I've learned to love...well, let's just say I wasn't a fan of the idea. I selfishly wanted to stick with it because it's what I'd always known. These people are my adoptive-extended family. This life has brought me adventure, friends, education, and my husband. And I'm not alone. It's become "the family business." I just could not imagine leaving it forever for something completely new and unknown. Don't get me wrong, I prayed for God to help me be supportive, and by all appearances I was. But my heart was resisting BIG TIME

Then my husband called with news that I had been dreading - he was going to be part of a team that had to do something very dangerous. I won't go into detail, but as soon as I got off the phone I broke down. He's been in dangerous situations before and come out ok. But I couldn't help it, I'm melodramatic and I often jump to the worst conclusions. For example: how many times could he do these dangerous things and still come out unscathed? I was an emotional wreck. I prayed desperately for God to make me stronger. We've been through this before, I should be used to it and be able to handle it without dissolving into an emotional mess! I even blamed it on pregnancy hormones (there may be some validity to that...), and told myself I'd get over it soon enough. Two whole days of desperate prayers, secret tears, and I clearly wasn't adjusting to the idea. Then my husband told me the trip was cancelled. Yup, I broke down again. Like I said, melodrama is my thing.

After all of the emotional fog cleared I had a revelation. God had changed my heart. In the span of 48 hours, I went from resistant and selfish to willing and supportive. It turns out, I'd been praying wrong. I didn't need God to make me appear more supportive on the outside. God isn't in the business of helping us lie, even to ourselves. It may sound cliche, but God knew that I needed to change from the inside out. And I have. Oh boy, have I ever changed! Suddenly something safer and less demanding sounds wonderful. 

So how does this all tie in to the Proverbs 31 Wife? Well, we already learned that she's noble, respectful, eager to serve, prepared, and diligent. What does me being an emotional wreck have to do with any of that? 

The Proverbs 31 Wife is many things to many people, but her heart belongs to her home. Everything she does is to care for her family and glorify God in the process. Here are some verses as examples:
  • (verse 15) She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.
  • (verse 17) She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
  • (verse 26-28) She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
  • She's up before the sun and "her lamp does not go out" (verse 18) at night. She doesn't put these long hours in for selfish gains; rather, she "sets about her work vigorously." She's working hard in everything she does to provide for her family and "watch over the affairs of her household." She's not selfishly steering her family toward her plans and agendas. "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction." As a result of all her efforts, "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and praises her." She's not looking for recognition. Her reward is in the esteem, love, and respect of her family. 

    How does this all tie together? It took me a long time to see it, but here it is:
     The Proverbs 31 Wife is selfless. Eagerly, diligently, vigorously, wisely, faithfully selfless.
    I was so wrapped up in what I wanted - my comfortable, close, happy little world - that I was completely neglecting God's will for our lives and the needs of my family. Wow. I'm doing four different group Bible studies, in addition to this little exploration of my own. I really thought I was learning and growing leaps and bounds with all of them. But I was still stubbornly holding on to my secret selfishness. It took God intervening with some relatively drastic measures for me to see it (or at least admit it). It doesn't matter how hard I work to cook, clean, and care for my family if my heart is polluted with selfishness.

    Having a humble, selfless heart is crucial to the success of the Proverbs 31 Wife. I can't hope to be anything like her, let alone like Christ, so long as I'm focused on myself. It seems like an obvious concept now, but it was a lesson I unfortunately had to learn the hard way. I respect, love, and publicly praise my husband. Now I also prayerfully and humbly support him, and as a result God's will for our lives. God is leading us toward a very big change. Now that He has changed my heart, I can focus on preparing and caring for my family as we transition. 

    Until next time I remain...
    Hapless but hopeful,

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