Ok I'm back and hopefully all will go well, no strike that--all WILL go well :) Anyway, forgive me for being gone so long. Life got crazy (as it tends to do from time to time) and I just got sidetracked. Like one of my best friends, Brian (see What It's All About link), I am not a disciplined person. While I would like to be, I suffer from procrastination which delays every good intention that I have :) ANYWAY---
Ok so I still haven't finished For Better or For Best by Gary Smalley. But I AM still reading it. (that counts right?) It does have a lot of good information, but to be quite honest, the more I read it, the more I realize I know less and less about being married and I have to come face to face with how selfish I truly am and well, that's depressing.
In Chapter 6 (entitled Motivating Your Husband to Change) Smalley discussed six qualities every woman needs to develop to be able to encourage her husband to listen to her needs and to gain a desire to meet those needs. The qualities are as follows:
1. Courage: The inner commitment to pursue a worthwhile goal without giving up hope.
2. Persistence: Continuing to pursue a goal until it is achieved.
3. Gratefulness: A sincere appreciation for the benefits received from others.
4. Calmness: An inner peace that allows you to respond quietly to a stressful situation without fear.
5. Gentleness: Showing tender consideration for the feelings of another.
6. Genuine Love: Meeting the needs of another, prior to your own personal needs being met.
Ok, so as I look over this list, I have to cringe. Out of this list of six, I would say persistence is the only quality I see in my character that manifests itself on a consistent basis. All the others I have seen at times, but are in no way a daily way of life. But the more I read the more I keep saying to God, "I can't do this." As I read the steps he outlines to help bring "marital bliss", I say "that's just not me." Then I get even more bummed. But then I began to realize, these qualities etc that he talks about, are very similar (if not exactly the same) to the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22 & 23 (let me refresh your memory--and mine!)
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
And so as this thought passes through my mind, I'm encouraged because just as I cannot conjure up the fruits of the Spirit, I don't believe I can conjure up the six qualities stated above. It's from God. It's not about me. It's about loving God and allowing God to work in me and His Spirit produces the love, joy, etc. And His spirit will also produce in me the courage and persistence and all the other qualities--if I yield to Him.
I think we try to make things so complicated by figuring out the latest communication techniques to improve our relationships or trying to decide what kind of punishments we should provide when our children disobey or what to do when things go wrong, when really it all comes down to giving our lives to God and following Him daily. He will give us the strength to make it through each thing that comes our way--if only we turn to Him. I know in my own life there have been many times when instead of immediately turning to Him, I turn to a friend or relative, or book, or magazine to figure out how to deal with what's going on. Don't get me wrong, these things can be a help, they can give you some really practical advice. But the bottom line is that it all comes back to your relationship with God and if you're allowing Him to produce His fruits through your life or if you are trying to do it on your own. :)
Ok, so back to the books I'm reading. The Warning by T. Davis Bunn was pretty good. Not a great read, but interesting. It's about a man who is called by God to warn God's people that an economic disaster is coming. It is a part of a series, but I'm not sure what the other books are, I'll let you know. :)
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
I guess I really already did that earlier. :)
Thanks for reading..please feel free to sound off!