Why Your Stress Offends God and 5 Tips for Loving through Acts of Service
My life has been stressful lately. Want to know the irony? It doesn’t need to be. God has been showing me that I need to “let go.” This is a hard phrase to say for us as ladies.
Let go? you might be saying. What do you mean let go? I have a pile of dishes in the sink, dinner to get on the table, kiddos to bathe (or in my case, a cat), mounds of laundry to do, my Bible to read… and that latest book everyone’s been talking about. There’s piles of books to return to the library, and I need to pack my husband’s lunch for tomorrow, and iron his work shirt, and change the sheets on the bed, and if that isn’t enough, I still have to run and get groceries for this week, pay bills, pick up prescriptions, get gas for the car, drop the kids off at… and the list goes on and on and on and on. Oh and heaven forbid you neglect yourself because you have to take care of yourself, right?
Raise your hand if you can relate!
Pretty soon you find yourself buried under stress, and you’re ready to run away from the world because you just can’t handle it. Pretty soon you’re resenting your husband (or kids), and you’re ready to snap at any given moment when the tiniest straw settles on your back. Pretty soon you’re carrying a huge burden of stress to dump at God’s feet at night’s end, and then you wake up ready to carry it all over again. But you don’t have to!
Today’s Get Real Valentine challenge is let go of stress so you can serve joyfully!
Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Your stress is offensive to God. Why? Because you aren’t letting God carry your burdens.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, stop and pray, “Take this burden, Lord!” And He will. It doesn’t have to be long or elaborate. You don’t have to spend hours in His Word, praying, or journaling to have an intimate moment with God. “Be still and know that I am God,” He says in His Word in Psalm 46:10. Be still for the briefest moment, even if you’re in the midst of household chores or squabbling kids or frying dinner.
When your intimacy with God is disrupted, most likely your intimacy with your spouse is also. You can’t have deep soul-baring intimacy and fantastic sex with your husband when you’re overburdened and stressed out. You can’t serve your husband (or kids/family/etc) from a place of deep joy and love if you’re on overload.
Focus on the moment where God has placed you whether you be stuck in traffic in the car or picking up dirty laundry off the floor (and your husband forgot to put his socks in the basket when it’s two feet away yet again). Let the burden whatever it be go in that moment: “I release [this burden] to You, Lord!” and allow God’s supernatural peace, love, and joy to flood over you.
How to Show Your Husband Love through Acts of Service
Here are 5 tips for letting go of stress and letting God work through you in order to lovingly serve your husband.
1. Acquire the right attitude.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Choose cheer! You may be thinking, “How can I be cheerful when the cat just clawed out the stuffing in the couch, the kids spilled milk again, my husband forgot to put gas in the car, and the cable bill is past due?” Stress is crushing when you don’t deal with it in a healthy way. That’s why your attitude must be rooted and grounded in godliness. You may not feel cheerful, but choosing to serve joyfully is like striking a match in a dark room – it brings light to all around.
- When you wake up, instead of focusing on your mountain of a to-do list, take a brief moment to commune with God, “Lord, give me joy today!” and then roll over and plant a big kiss on your husband.
- Program your mind during the day to concentrate on the positive, to enjoy the moment you’re in, and to put your best effort into the task you’re working on in the here and now, not what you need to do in the next minute, the next hour, the next day.
- Before going to bed at night, consider meditating on Psalm 139:23-24. Ask God to search your heart and to make you aware of anything that might be interrupting your intimacy with Him and with your husband.
2. Extend your ear!
You may not typically think that listening actively is an act of service, but how often are you distracted when your husband is talking to you (or worse, how often are you thinking about things to do when you’re having sex)? Take the time to listen attentively and intuitively when your husband talks with you. Guys, typically, don’t open up to us, women, the same way we women do so when your husband does want to talk, listen up. Give him your undivided attention, even if that means setting down the kitchen sponge or setting aside the emails you need to check for the night.
3. Indulge him.
Indulgence doesn’t have to mean extravagance or expensive. Do something out of the ordinary for your spouse. Give him a massage when he comes home from work. Lay his clothes out for work the night before. Return the Netflix disc so he doesn’t have to. My husband always loves the little surprises I have for him, even if it’s just replacing his deodorant when he needs a new one, or waiting for him naked under the covers while he brushes his teeth at night.
4. Operate a clean and peaceful home.
This is easier said than done, especially with the hectic busy schedule you might keep.
- Everyone’s idea of clean is going to vary, but figure out what pleases your husband the most and then do it. My husband doesn’t care so much if I don’t change the sheets regularly (which I do, in case you’re wondering), but he does mind when he doesn’t have a clean work shirt, when the laundry doesn’t get put away, and when the toilet isn’t cleaned regularly. I try and focus on these little things first instead of burdening myself with cleaning the bedroom and bathroom top to bottom.
- Straighten up the house a little before he gets home from work. You don’t need to vacuum the hallway, dust every picture, and put away every dish. Hang up a coat, straighten a stack of magazines, and pick up some items that may be scattered across the floor.
- Make the atmosphere relaxing and inviting for him. Take time to set the table for dinner, if you can. Pick up clutter in the bedroom. Don’t pounce on him with talk about kids misbehaving, chores he needs to do, and finances right when he gets home. Unplug your home phone or turn off your laptops/cell phones/TV during dinner so you can focus on each other (and your family).
- Take time to clean up the inside too. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body.” You and your husband are one body – united together. If you have unfinished business between you and God, work it out before you spend time with your husband. Promote peace in your household by setting aside a designated time to air concerns, discuss worries, and then stick to it. Preferably don’t do this during dinner or right before bed.
5. Undertake a chore he dislikes…
…doing dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning the car, mopping the floor, etc. He will be grateful for the help when you take on something out of genuine love.
This doesn’t mean do your husband’s job and take over when he’s not doing it right. But you can fold the laundry better and faster than he can and you have this organized system of putting things away and since he can’t seem to get that, well then, you must do it for him, right? This is a dangerous mindset to be in because it undermines your husband’s abilities and intelligence, and is disrespectful. So what if you can do it better? Let him do it anyway as long as it gets done. So you have a system? Let your husband know what your system is, but if he has a different system, again, if it gets done, then let him do it his way.
This also doesn’t mean you should let you husband off the hook all the time as this will likely add more stress to your life. Converse about chores and divvy up who does what. Give your husband a specific time frame that you’d like it completed in – before you both head to bed, before he leaves for work in the morning, by the end of the week, etc. Adam always appreciates this because he doesn’t always know how much importance I place on a specific task. Reaching the colander on the top shelf in the kitchen needs to be done immediately, and the trash needs to be taken out weekly on Tuesday nights, but repairing a door handle can wait until the weekend.
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