Faith Filled Fridays…
I have been working through the verses in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians in an effort to share the virtues of Charity. If you would like to get up to speed, I have a couple other blog posts:
Part One: Virtues of Charity
Part Two: Virtues of Charity
When I reached behaving unseemly, I started on a rabbit trail (one of my many weaknesses!) with stories and encouragement with Etiquette:
Charity in Dress Etiquette
Get this Hoarder in Order: Good Housekeeping Etiquette
I plan to continue the study on etiquette on my Tips on Tuesdays where I share tips and encouragement for the Keepers at Home and for the young ladies who someday will be keepers at home.
For today I will continue with the study I started on Charity.
Charity…”Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,” I Corinthians 13:5
How do these verses apply to women? We already know to behave unseemly is to behave inappropriately.
Seeketh not her own…
This is simple, DO not be selfish! When we seek our own, we worry about how everything affects us.
Behold the ME MONSTER…
Let me tell you my “ME MONSTER” story…
Long ago and far away, there was a pitiful young mother. I say long ago and far away because it is so foreign to me now to behave thus. I was that pitiful young mother. I was depressed all the time-ALL THE TIME. I looked back on my life, at that time, and all I could see was what others did to hurt me. Why MEEEEEEE? All the rejection, all the shame-all the pain I endured.
Death was something I coveted, for I thought I was worthless. I thought the world would be happier without me in it. Struggling with the scars of abuse on a daily basis was hard for me and my little growing family. Some of you may have read my article in No Greater Joy: When You Need a Miracle. There are people that like to think that my husband was so uncaring or unkind in my deepest hour of need. Here is a flip side that I did not have the time or space to talk about in the article…
My husband tried to hold me-to heal me. He cried for my pain. When I was pregnant with Michael, my fourth baby, I was bed ridden from a fall I had a year before that broke my pelvis. The pain was great. It was when I was trying to become like the Amish. I had my mind made up. I had my bonnet on, my black socks on, and did not care a thing about my husband’s wisdom. I knew better than he. I was more spiritual. He would beg and plead with me to get a hold of my senses. And when he saw that I was completely mentally deranged, he put his foot down and told me NO! He felt that joining the Amish would be giving up the faith he had in Christ and he could not do that.
This is embarrassing…I became so angry that I was willing to kill myself. One cold evening, when I could hardly walk, I went outside to die!!! I jumped into a snowbank and offered my body to the subzero temperatures. My husband came searching for his wife, calling desperately for me. And when he found me there, he sat there nearly crying, begging me to live. I cry just thinking about this moment. I screamed “NOOOO, leave me, let me die!!!!” And he picked me up in his strong arms and carried me kicking and screaming back into the warmth of our home. He held me in his arms and said how much he loves me, how he would die to protect me, how he would lay there all night outside if he had to in order to keep me from freezing to death. That my purpose in this life was not over. He was able to see me as something I was not: a pure and precious gem.
Later, I met this man, a guy who was working with Mark on a job. Something drew me to him. He looked at me and told me, even as I smiled, that there was a sadness in my eyes. It was like a gift. I opened up to this person I did not even know and he told me how sinful I was. ME, sinful? I was sinned against as an innocent child. I was rejected by nasty people. I was hurt and in pain. How could I be to blame in this? I was so mad at first.
He told me that I was so focussed on “ME” that I actually put “MYSELF over everything and on the throne.
He said this because I was telling him, “I am home all day taking care of these kids, and my husband comes home and is too tired to help-what about me? I am tired! I want to raise my kids Amish, my husband won’t allow me to do this, what about my dreams? What about how I feel, they are my kids! I have been through so much. I, I, I, and what about ME? ME, me, I, me, ME, ME, ME!!!!!!” (hint: ME MONSTER) That was my sin. Depression is selfish. When you are depressed, you are only thinking about yourself-about poor and unfortunate- you. I was seeking my own. He forced me to look at my heart. I hated him for it, but I realized later, as I really thought about it, that as a Christian, I am not here for ME. I am here for a purpose.
Christ did not come to die so that I could worry about ME.
Once I got my focus off myself, and onto what my purpose was, and onto Christ, it really made me get better. I had to start realizing that things could be worse. I had to start seeing things differently. I was really bad, you have no idea what grief I put my poor husband through. He never once made me feel bad about how I treated him. He took all my hatred and turned to me with Charity. I love him for that.
His mother hated me when we first fell in love. She was so wise. She could see that I was a mess, a broken vessel. She could see the baggage and the shame. And yet, most of us Christian mothers would do the same- we would want better for our sons, too. What one of us would wish a wretched, broken, used up girl to cling on to our sons? I hope I can see past the shame if it is staring me in the face and choose to take a broken vessel under my wing and love her like Christ loves her and died for her. I want to be patient to endure the hard times and understand God’s perfect will and timing in their lives.
God called my husband to complete me. He called him to save me from my own destruction. My husband understands Charity. He never seeks after his own. No matter how badly I treated him, threatened to leave him, cussed and fumed at him, and no matter how many mind games I played against him, he just loved me. He loved me. He loved me. When I did not deserve love, he loved me. When I was selfish and prideful, he loved me. And when I ask him, even today, “How did I ever deserve you?”
He looks back every time, and he says, “How did I ever deserve you?”
Our relationship grew into something wonderful when I stopped looking at my glass half empty all the time. Now my joy is overflowing and it is because I compare myself to Christ, instead of trying to measure myself against my lot. My lot is not always favorable. Several years after my frigid crazy moment, I had a bad accident that crippled me with a four year uphill battle to get on my feet again.
You guessed it…
My husband took care of me, he homeschooled the 5 little children, he cooked, he cleaned, he changed my bed pans, and carried me in his arms when I could not walk at all. It was very hard to fight against the “ME MONSTER” laying in a hospital bed, not being able to minister to my family the way I desired. I would often say to my husband, “I was created to be your HELPMEET, not you being created to be my Helpmeet.” This man of few words would say in response, “I was created to do what ever needs doing, and right now I am going to take care of you.” He encouraged me to LIVE. He encouraged me to rise above my circumstances and choose LIFE. Choose JOY. He always wants me to be all I was created to be. While I shine and prosper, he hides in the background. He is a humble, quiet man. He never looks for glory or honor in any form. He humbly serves his family and his Lord.
100% of marriages end because of selfishness on the part of one or both sides. Wars start over selfishness. Abusers abuse because of selfishness. They do not care about how their actions affect others. When people are unkind, prideful, hateful, depressed, greedy, unthankful, or lazy it is due to selfishness and seeking their own. It is the opposite of charity.
Today, I get emails and phone calls from women who are utterly depressed. I finally figured out why. They are singing the same tune I sang those 10 years ago–“What about MEEEEEEE?” The chorus repeats after each sad refrain. The sentences always start the same…
“I do this and I do that, but HE does nothing, or they never do this or that.”
I love the first part. The part where she does… The things we do for our family-the selfless laying down to serve each day.
The second part of the sentence brings us down a sad path. BUT, meaning-I have no reward, or BUT, meaning-No one looks out for me.
It is a classic ME MONSTER situation. Some of you will shake your fist at me as if I do not GET IT. I do not understand how bad it is for you. I do. Believe me, I was through the wringer, had tons of pity parties and I was thee author of selfish thoughts! Like I will condemn the victim. I was a victim-I could remain a victim or I could get up and start LIVING. We all have a sad story. BUT-Each of us has a choice. What are we going to do about it?
What can you do to change the circumstances? What are you going to do about HIM or THEY, or THIS or THAT? How is any of your depression or sadness going to change what happened?
When the answer is NOTHING or NO, then we need to accept it, learn from it, and do as Christ would do. Find a scripture that condones your negative thoughts, if there even is one. You probably will not find one to support SELFISHness,
but you will find countless verses to support SELFLESSness.
Therefore, we can learn Charity, the law of unlimited love and kindness, when we learn to NOT SEEK OUR OWN.
Here is a way to practice bringing your thoughts into the captivity of Christ. When you get a bad, negative, and selfish thought, write it down on one side of a journal. On the other side you take the time to find scripture to prove your thoughts Godly, or if you can’t prove that thought is right, you simply write down a verse that shows you a better way to think or behave. It is good practice to examine our motives and our words on a daily basis. Here is an example…