The Respect Dare journey can be a difficult to do, depending on several factors:
- The extent to which you respect yourself (have healthy boundaries with other people)
- How much you wrap your identity up in what God says, as opposed to what people say (if we are constantly seeking approval, or conversely, watching eagerly for oppression, instead of simply doing what the Word suggests)
- How much dying to self you’ve already done (if you are new at this, the 40 day journey may be more painful for you than someone who is more mature)
- How deeply you buy the lie that serving others, particularly your family, makes you a doormat or second-class citizen.
- How focused you are on yourself, as opposed to being other-focused
- How prideful you are, as opposed to being humble and healthfully okay with your mistakes. During the journey, I am learning that God’s commandment to love God and love others as we love ourselves is both a directive and a prophetic statement. The extent to which I love/respect myself is the extent to which I will behave likewise with others, and the same level to which I am capable of loving/respecting God. I don’t know if your experience is similar, and I don’t know which came first or last, but I am becoming stronger as my love and respect for God grows. I see my ability to give sacrificially increasing with the increasing knowledge and experience of the Father. Coincidentally, my ability to have a healthy respect for myself is increasing.
This list is comprised of mistakes I’ve made and are common ones we hear about when talking about The Respect Dare book with other wives. I’ve found they are Biblical, as well, although I didn’t dig up the references.
10. Say, “yes” to every request made of you, so you don’t disappoint anyone. The older I get, the more I appreciate REST. I need rest to function mentally, physically and emotionally. The temple of the Holy Spirit needs sleep, exercise and wholesome fuel daily, otherwise it doesn’t function properly. Getting too busy is one of the enemy’s best tricks for us – we short change literally everyone when we do this. Have margin in your life so you are prepared for emergencies.
9. Feel guilty when you say, “no,” even when you know God doesn’t want you doing it. A wise friend of mine was bold enough to say to me, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” God may have a blessing planned for someone else – who am I to steal it, just because I can? Choose what God tells you to do, when He tells you to do it.
8. Worry about what other people think such that you lie about who or how you really are. Failing to use your gifts makes us a shell of a person. Saying we are “fine” when we are not steals an opportunity to be transparent with someone, which keeps us from using something in our life the way God intended it.
7. Not share a similar struggle with a friend who is hurting for fear or embarrassment. Keeping our “stuff” to ourselves just keeps God from touching the heart of someone else.
6. Wear clothing or behave wildly to garner inappropriate attention. Strength and dignity is not something screamed from mountain tops or shouted in the street. It is controlled, concise and confident. Getting attention from others that’s inappropriate eventually stains our soul.
5. Be afraid of conflict or disagreement. Not speaking the Truth in a gentle but firm way harms those who cannot speak for themselves. Think Gosnell. Think sex-trade. Who speaks for the children if we do not? And in relationships, often God’s best is fettered out when both people, having differing opinions, have respectful dialogue. Conflict is not sinful, unless you are just a disagreeable person in general.
4. Failing to take care of our own physical, emotional, relational and spiritual needs because of fear of someone else’s opinion. If God wired you to paint or dance and you do not, you are missing the blessing of His creation. If “momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Eat right, work out, rest. Do things that fill you up, regardless of whether anyone else wants to do them with you.
3. Trying to make everyone around you happy. You can’t. You aren’t meant to. And sometimes, you will upset someone. Empathize, apologize, ask for forgiveness and then move on. And offer grace when others tick you off, too. We should be charitable and have hearts of service, but trying to make others happy? Not possible. Lies.
2. Taking responsibility for everything and everyone because “no one else will.” You CAN be a doormat if you sign up for that on your own. Instead of teaching your family to treat you like the maid, how about teaching them to pitch in? How about coaching them instead of expecting them to “just know” what needs to be done? Seriously, men, teenagers and children do not read minds. And sometimes, it’s okay to let people fail, because just like us, they will pick the hard road to learning something. So stop enabling.
1. Wrapping our identity up in other people’s opinions, trying to purchase love, affection or approval, instead of relying on God’s opinion of us. Getting to know God and doing what He asks us to do should be our #1 most important thing in an average day. If we get that right, the rest falls into place. And if it doesn’t, that’s okay, we did enough. Live life for the Audience of One – it’s abundant there. People are sinful, even if they know Him. Expecting the humans in this world to behave like Jesus is setting ourselves up for disappointment.
Those are my top ten – What would you add to the list? Why?