Only Goodness, Day 28
In February 2014, a wolf was discovered in the hallway of the hotel where Olympian Kate Hansen was staying during the Sochi Winter Olympics. The whole thing was revealed to be an elaborate prank, but it got me thinking about protecting my marriage from the “wolves in the hall.” However, wolves don’t just wander around outside and around my marriage. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.
In May 2015, I came across this story as an infographic on my Facebook feed:
One evening a grandfather old his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority.
“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The grandfather simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Sometimes the most dangerous “wolf” is what I let myself believe. I have admitted to you before how I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety this year. I desperately wanted to blame someone else or offer excuses for something else. While there were many things that happened outside my control this year, I was my own worst enemy. I was allowing myself to be imprisoned by my own negative thoughts. I was feeding the anger and arrogance. I was dwelling on the sorrow and self-pity. I was burying myself under the weight of resentment and regret. I was believing myself to be inferior. You can imagine this wreaked havoc on my inner thought life, my self-worth, my identity, my relationships, and my marriage.
I don’t think I was the only one at fault though. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” 1 Peter 5:8 warns, “…our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” There is a spiritual darkness in this world, an enemy of your heart and marriage – the Devil – and he stalks the earth looking for his prey. I was an easy target because I was wallowing in depression and entrapped in my own anxieties.
The Bible doesn’t just leave us with these warnings. The Bible gives us hope, a plan, and a purpose. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” The MSG version of 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Keep a cool head. Be alert… Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever.” Philippians 4:8 tells us what to think about: things that are “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy…”
When you only feed your mind with the “good things,” with the truth, with God’s Word, you can tune out all the other messages of the world because everything else is junk compared to Christ. Paul writes in Philippians 3:8 “everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” When you know Christ, when you feed your mind with only the goodness of His truth, you will be transformed and the way you treat your husband will change as you begin to see him more the way God sees him.
Today’s Challenge: Ask yourself these questions: What am I letting myself believe? What do I feed my mind with? Do I listen to the truth of who God says I am? Write down the first three adjectives you can think of to describe yourself. Now do the same for your husband and your marriage. Look at your word choice. Are they positive? If so, keep these words someplace you can refer to when you’re feeling down, discouraged, or overwhelmed. Are they negative? Ask yourself why these words. Do these words accurately describe you, your husband, and your marriage? If not, then replace those words with truth. If yes, then think about why these words accurately describe and what you can do to change the way you look at things. If you don’t know or if this is a bigger, long-term problem, ask God to give you the insight to make the changes needed in your own heart, and then the courage to talk about these things with your husband.
Be encouraged, dear lady friend. Changes in your marriage will not happen overnight, and it takes two to make a marriage work. If your husband isn’t open to change or discussion at this point, rest assured that God knows the cries of your heart. He sees your pain. He knows your weaknesses. He cares about your battle. Don’t give up. Keep clinging to Christ for your hope and strength. Keep praying. Your marriage is worth fighting for.
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