Monday, January 30, 2012

Courageous: How Women Can Do Their Part

Thanks to The House FM, my friends and I watched a free showing of Courageous last night.  Everyone loved it.  What a touching film it was.  Although the message of the movie is directed at fathers, there are important lessons all of us can benefit from.

As a student of relationships, marriage, and broken people, the message to fathers and men definitely came close to my heart.  I have written several posts dealing with the same message:

My Plea to the Guys
A One Woman Man
Making the Stand
"Can this man pastor me?"
Rise up Warrior!

Although I highly recommend men watch the film and read these previous posts, I will not be speaking to the men in this post.  I am keeping the same topic, yet speaking to the young ladies, single or not.  While it is true that following and submitting come easiest when your husband or father is stepping up, we have no excuse to control when they are passive.  In fact, our role requires just the opposite.

First, we need to examine our hearts, for from them everything else flows (Proverbs 4:23.)  As I said in my post Trust, Follow, Submit, our relationship with God directly affects our heart attitude toward the male leader in our life, (whether it is a father for a single woman, or a husband for those who are married.)  Do you trust God even when you don't agree with what he is doing?  Do you blindly follow him every day of your life, trusting that he will guide you with his right hand?  Do you love him whole heartedly without a second thought regarding your circumstances?

When we can answer yes to all these questions, a gentle and submissive spirit (1 Peter 3) will follow quickly after.  God is the ultimate source of our love (1 John 4,) and without him, it is impossible for us to look past our pride and fully love and respect the men in our life--regardless of how they may or may not step up.

Ephesians 5:21 says, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."  How in the world do we expect to see this happen when we haven't even submitted to Christ?  How can you obey your father with respect when you don't see Christ as the leader of your own life.  When you put your whole faith in God, you are agreeing to follow his protection, guidelines, and gifts.  God puts parents in the lives of single girls to protect, pray, and guide them during this journey.  Respect the man God has provided for you.

After we get our hearts right, it will be easier to control our tongues.  Matthew 12:34 says "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."  This is why we must do things in the order in which God designed them.

Our speech is important because from one tongue, we have both the power to lift up and destroy (James 3:9-10.)  So if you want your husband or father to step up and lead you according to God's design, which do you think will be more helpful in accomplishing that goal?

            A) "Ugghh, Dad, why can't you just be more like Jamie's Dad?!  He always takes her on father-daughter dates, and buys her new clothes.  All you want to do is sit around and watch football!  What a pathetic excuse I have for a father!"

            B) "Dad, thank you so much for providing me with food in my belly and a roof over my head.  I am grateful to have a father in my life.  You have so much power that naturally lies within you.  It is a joy when release such leadership skills around Mom and I.  It's almost like watching Clark Kent turn into Superman!  I love you and am praying for more opportunities to see Superman."

If you guessed "B" you are correct.  Men have a deep need to feel respected, and yelling in their face that they are worthless only tears at their pride and makes them feel just that...worthless.  Ephesians 4:29 says we are to only speak words that lift others up according to their needs, words that will benefit those who listen.  I don't think arguing and complaining benefits anyone.  In fact, Philippians 2:14 says we are to do everything without complaining.

When a complaint comes to your mind from now on, why don't you try to flip it and say what you are thankful for instead.  For instance, say the microwave at home keeps messing up and this time you've really had it.  One more spark and your fuse is lit!  Instead of reacting angrily and complaining/screaming at your husband, how bout this:  "I am so grateful for all the cooking appliances you've provided me with dear.  I could stop and complain about this half-broken microwave, or I could turn around and take full advantage of an oven that works beautifully.  In fact, I think I'll show my appreciation for this oven by baking you a cake!"

A little over the top maybe, but you get the picture.  How can you lift up the man in your life this week?  What are some ways you can show him respect?  Do you pray for him regularly?  Are you submitting to him out of reverence for Christ?