I got upset with my husband on Wednesday for leaving without telling me, when I was waiting for him to have our time together. Actually I wasn’t mad, I was shocked and then hurt. But I determined not to let it bother me. Not to give it any energy.
It didn’t go that way. I had a rogue thought I should accept his message to act like he isn’t here, and I’m afraid I liked it and gave it too much attention. Then I got caught in a situation I wasn’t prepared for. I was putting clean sheets on the bed and he came and helped me. There were no words between us. I didn’t know what to say so I said nothing. And then, of course, I kept to it. (I know better than this.)
But it was fed by what I learned at the end of my hospital stay, that he gets upset when I don’t let him lead. Ok so let him lead in this one.
You can see how quickly it goes downhill. More like in the ditch.
By that night I was under condemnation. Because I had felt God’s approval to my first thought, but couldn’t stay with it and veered off-track. I didn’t think what I was doing was healthy or what He wanted, and I kept thinking about Joshua (which I just finished) and all the times Israel missed God’s preferred will because they thought they needed to fight. They couldn’t imagine His way, so He let them do it their way.
The condemnation feelings (lies) I did catch. I know condemnation is a lie! Finally. (Roman 8:1) So I didn’t listen to my feelings, I just ran to Him and said, “I feel like I’ve let you down, but I don’t want this to come between us. I don’t ever want anything in between us! So here I am surrendering to You and Your way.”
Immediately, the feelings of condemnation and separation lifted and I felt His smile. He gave me an idea of what to do that night and I didn’t do it perfectly (I forgot I’d written down what to say and it would have been better!) But I did manage a poorer version without the results we had hoped for. However, now there is an opportunity for him to lead. And me to learn how to follow!
We don’t have to let feelings of condemnation come between us and God. Those feelings aren’t from Him. I was so grateful to see I had learned that!
The other thing I learned through this (more is coming I’m sure) is that my love language is trying to “help” and take care of people. Many times it’s not in the way they want to be helped, and often feels like control (and our marriages could benefit from living with less attempts to control each other.) So I asked God for a new love language and He graciously said “Pick one,” and gave it to me. Now I’m anxious to see it manifest. It shouldn’t be too hard to adjust to if it’s a gift. And God graciously showed me I had already experienced it in the hospital.
So why am I sharing this? (It feels a little like the dreams I used to have of getting to school without clothes on.) Shame grows in hiding. If you hate shame and don’t want to live in it, share it with someone. It’s good for us to know that we are all the same broken beings. It isn’t something we will ever grow out of. We will get better, the closer we live with God and follow His ways, but we will still get caught in our ways, still fall on our faces. We aren’t ever going to be perfect on this planet. That should help us step out of discouragement at our performance; and step out of shame.
This is why my new book on Joshua and Ruth has the subtitle My Laws Will Keep You. God’s law was meant to be a comfort to us, a helper, a protector. This really comes through in the book of Ruth, a tiny but beautiful love story. Most of us haven’t seen His law this way, but in the Greek of John 14:15 Jesus says, “If you love Me, My laws will keep you.” Doesn’t that just make sense!