Confession… I can be really mean to my husband.
Ugly, ugly, ugly. I do not deserve this gentle man.
God has given us a gift of words and I love to use them to praise Him, to tell stories, to speak life over my children, to sing. But I also abuse them. I know where it comes from, and God knows I’m aware of it’s effects. My own spirit has been crushed by the words of others enough to know that I have done that very thing to others.
Society doesn’t help. It’s as if being a jerk is highly valued – and if you can add wit to your bad attitude – you must really be a rockstar. The more creative your choice of words to make someone feel like complete crap, the better you feel about doing it?
Lame… so lame.
Yesterday my 16 year old tells me she has great news – her coach is offering her a position on the VARSITY basketball team! She was practically dancing as she told me. I gave her a high-5, a hug and a few words of wisdom I often share – “You better ball it out every day – get to work practicing even MORE! More blessing means more responsibility!”
These words came back to haunt me later that evening.
Our evening plans changed a tad, causing me some inconvenience and costing me some time with Chris. Out came ghetto Stacey. Smh…
In a matter of a few texts, I had crushed my husband’s spirit. A few words about dinner and I had amazed him so much with my clever cutting words that his response was… “Wow.”
After a little time to myself, all I could text back was, “I’m sorry. I love you.”
He had done nothing wrong – but for whatever reason ( I’ll get to that… ) a small thing of inconvenience and cutting into my plans had flared up something inside me so ugly that I was ashamed of my own behavior.
WHY DO I DO THIS???? I cried out to the Lord… this is not the first time I’ve overreacted and hurt the feelings of the man I love just to make my point. I tried to clear myself of the guilt – I broke down every bit of this seemingly small situation – looking to pinpoint the exact point that my husband was surely to blame for this — and found nothing. Nothing but my own stupid reaction that had now created tension and distance between us. Nothing but my quick-witted words, cold-hearted and cutting.
As I sat still, tears rolled down as shame and guilt filled my body. This time, instead of choosing self-righteous indignation, I chose to be still. I refused to move until I got to the bottom of this – the bottom of me. Let me tell ya’, the bottom of yourself is an ugly place to go… filled with stuff you keep hidden there for a reason. There’s pride, manipulation, control, selfishness,
and there’s pain.
God revealed 3 things to me in that moment.
First, he reminded me of 2 very important truths:
1. Anger is a secondary emotion – go deeper if you want to know the real deal.
2. Hurt people hurt people.
There was more to come, but with the whisper of those 2 truths, layers began to peel back. God revealed to me, not 1 but several different areas of specific issues lying beneath my quickly kindled anger.
MY control over a situation was taken away. MY expectations were not met. MY instructions were not followed. And a hint of fear crept in… Yes, fear. Gross, slimy, loathsome fear. If you harbor fear – it’s not easy to see in yourself. God had to take me way deep to reveal this in me. He went wayyyyyyy back. To realize the tiniest bit of fear – He had to first show me the layers of offense, disgust, jealousy, resentment, disgrace, and all the way down to
Shame [sheym] Noun, verb : the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself oranother:
You might wonder how in the hell we go from a few mean texts to a revelation of inner shame… You have to understand that I sat in my car, in this random parking lot in the dark, alone for quite some time. I couldn’t move I was so frozen with God’s grand, sublime work going on in me. And although I sat in awe of what He was showing me in my depths, I was not surprised. I had known this was coming for some time.
Chris and I go to marriage counseling – because we believe in the process of working through our pasts to make a better future for our family. We want different for our children, we want the very legacy of our family to be different than the ones we’ve known, so we are learning to be different ourselves. Also, because we both believe that every person who has committed their life to another person – needs help! Seriously. Marriage is MORE important than anything else we could invest in – it makes sense that we invest at least as much, if not more time and energy in it as we would say a career or a degree – anything that takes evaluating, assessing, and LEARNING to get better at. We’ve both been given the gift of one another, and because of what we’ve been through – we do not take that lightly.
Ok so in a session a couple months ago – our therapist is going through our family histories and we get to mine. My junk is a lot, but I know it all well so I just chatter down the list of people, milestones and tragedies that make up my family history. I’ve shared it all before, I’ve got the shpill down pat – no big thing to rattle it off for the thousandth time. And I’ve gotten a lot of responses before, but this time was different. She asked me a question I haven’t been asked before. “Have you processed through your childhood sexual abuse?”
Uh… my, well – sure. I forgave him long ago. No issues there, all good.
But I know better. You see, just because you forgive someone – doesn’t mean you have gone unscathed by their actions. Forgiving others doesn’t magically make the effects of a thing disappear. I know because I have counseled dozens of young ladies through their own leftover debris of past abuse. But never my own.
She handed me a book… and I politely declined it.
“I know I need to go there, I really do. And I’m willing to do the work to get to the bottom of me – because my husband and kids deserve better. But, not now. School is almost done – but life is heavy right now, and If I’m going to go there,
…I need time to fall apart.”
Well, guess what. School’s out.
The third thing God said to me as I sat in my car…
DEAL WITH YOUR JUNK.
Because this marriage is it. I’m not doing this again. Chris is everything and he deserves so much better than what I will do to him if I just be me. I’m not enough – I’m broken. I can be so much better, and as his wife, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to love him the way the church should love Christ.
Less selfishness, more grace.
Less anger, more peace.
Less independence, more covenant.
I don’t know what your junk is… but I can promise you – you will be better in a relationship once you deal with it. Bottom line – if you’ve been given the gift of another person to do life with, get busy on YOU – because, as I told J – MORE BLESSING REQUIRES MORE RESPONSIBILITY.
Not in a relationship? You get busy, too. Nothing wrong with a head start on a happily ever after.
Whatever your junk may be – pride, sin, sex issues, trust, anger – make some time to fall apart and start unpacking. God will be right there with you, He is gentle and loving in His work in us.
If some of your junk happens to include sexual abuse from your childhood – just fyi – you are not alone. They say 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys have been sexually abused. That’s only the reported cases. Based on my experience with my own family, friends, and clients – I know of 3X more unreported cases than I do reported. As a matter of fact, the only reason I finally got the nerve up to tell my own mom is because 2 of my childhood best friends told me their stories… and that their only regret was never telling anyone. So here’s the deal, this is the book I’m going to start reading –
if you feel so inclined, order it and read along with me. We never have to speak of it, but I encourage you to tell your story to SOMEONE. Kept in darkness, the enemy has control over our junk. Bring it into the light.
Whether single or married – we owe it to our husbands (or your future husband) to get to the bottom of ourselves, past the anger and hurt to the core of who we are at our best and worst. Nobody’s perfect, but everyone can be better.
Let’s get better, so we have better to give. When we’re better, our marriages are better, our kids are better, our kids’ marriages will be better… and on and on and on. If we don’t, we’ll keep dumping our junk onto those around us. What kind of wifey would do that? A freshman.
Varsity level ain’t for punks.
DO (inner) WORK.
Let every detail in your lives-words, actions, whatever-be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. ~Colossians 3:17