Why navel gazing is important…
Today’s dare is a continuation of #3 – where we continue to torture ourselves with dig into self-evaluation.
If you have done The RESPECT DARE book, you know the self-assessment about being a Biblical wife. There’s a ton of opportunity to really think through what kind of wife we are – and in that look at ourselves, we have our first glance at realizing we are blessed.
Might not feel that way, but it is true, nonetheless.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
One of the reasons I love our training method is that it’s been around for years. Organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery use something similar. What’s crazy-good is that they all start with self-reflection … a bit of “navel gazing” if you will.
And honest looks at ourselves always render us humble.
Bereft in the depravity of our spirit without Jesus Christ.
In that moment, our pride is squashed, and we realize a number of really important things…
- We’re not in control
- We can’t do anything to change
- We’re responsible for more of the mess in our lives than we thought
- And all that’s awesome – because God loves a contrite and humble person – we’re not taking up space on His throne
So when we realize we have made a contribution to the mess, we are “poor in spirit” and in that, the Kingdom of Heaven is ours.
Tremendous freedom comes from letting go of control – and that only happens when we realize we really need God’s help to change.
(If you are struggling with that, you might be a narcissist. Seriously. It’s a thing – check out this post if you are at all concerned, or in denial, or dealing with one – as in “did you marry one?”)
In Daughters of Sarah, we have these really neat “character cards” as part of the journey. Today, we’re keeping with Dare 3 and doing a “character assessment.” If you missed the boundaries assessment, you really need to go back and check it out – too many marriages are being destroyed because neither person respects their own or other people’s boundaries. If you want more discussion about Dare 3 from the RESPECT DARE book, be sure to see a friend of mine’s take on things and check this blog post out, too. She’s a boss – you won’t want to miss it. 🙂
At any rate, here’s the character assessment for part 2 of the
torture helpful navel gazing:
These are Biblically-based markers of Christ-like character (in addition to the ones from last week that also hit upon boundaries). Place an “x” next to the items that are an opportunity for improvement for you in your life and your marriage:
- I say what I mean, mean what I say, and keep my commitments.
- I’m aware of my limitations and work with others to balance competing priorities.
- I don’t make promises unless I can keep them.
- I apologize and own my part in problems, then do my best to make things right.
- I share only that which is fully mine to share. I do not gossip about other people, even in a “they need prayer” kind of way.
- If my husband shares something with me, I do not share it with others without his permission.
- I stop others who try to gossip around me.
- If I know what is right to do in a situation, I do it.
- I have tangible evidence that I practice what I say I value most (fruit).
- I give the benefit of the doubt, choosing to think the best, instead of ascribing negative motives to other people’s behaviors.
- I can ask for what I need without judging myself, even when I’m met with a negative response.
- I can hear what other people need without judging them or myself.
- I don’t negate, dismiss, or demean others who have ideas outside of mine.
- I am respectful of other people’s opinions and find them interesting and intriguing, even when I think I might disagree.
- I am comfortable with “not having to be right” and open to the ideas, influences, and solutions of others.
- I spend more time pointing out what is positive than I do with what is negative.
- It is easy for me to see the good in situations.
- I am satisfied with what is good and not unsatisfied if it could be made better.
- I am not considered a “disagreeable” or “oppositional” person.
- I build the confidence and skills of those around me by helping them see their strengths
- People around me feel that their contributions are “good enough.”
- I feel I am “good enough” and my contributions, skills, and abilities, are also.
- I am aware of areas where I struggle and pursue growing in those areas while being gentle with myself.
- I receive compliments, encouragement, and affection from others easily.
- I give compliments, encouragement, and affection to others easily.
- I can be objective and see what is true in a situation, even if it is a hard truth.
- I tell the truth and do so gently when it is a truth that can hurt.
- I speak into others’ lives when I am invited, instead of inviting myself.
So combine the assessment from The RESPECT DARE book, the boundaries one from last week, and this one. Pick your top 2 from each list that need work. Next week we’ll start working on the Vision aspect. Know that if you don’t use the ones from the book, you are running the risk of swinging too far to the “domineering wife” side of the pendulum, so be sure you get that aspect as well. Westerners tend to go from one extreme to the other, failing to find “healthy” in the middle – it’s only by dealing with ALL aspects of boundaries, respect, character, and discipleship (in the RD assessment) that we can land at “healthy.”
In healthy relationships, there is a respect of self and a respect of others. We are healthy enough to both give and receive love, affection, affirmation, respect, and view ourselves and others as precious to God. Instead of shaming ourselves or others, or levying blame instead of taking responsibility, we receive conviction and grace from God, and we have enough of His grace within us to extend it to others.
Yesterday in church, we read through some parables in Matthew 13, two of which dealt with the Kingdom of God – and how the growth of the Kingdom starts small, like a mustard seed, then turns into something so big birds can build nests in it. That’s how our faith is supposed to grow within us. If we choose to follow Christ and then don’t grow, we’ve missed a ton of opportunities to experience God and be part of what He’s doing.
So like it or not, we need to keep moving forward. 🙂 Love well. Respect. Obey.
What about you? How comfortable are you with the self-assessment? Do you feel shame, do you blame, or just feel convicted?
Next week we’ll keep moving forward and set some goals with our assessments. I’m looking forward to that! 🙂
Love to you,
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Oh, I so absolutely love the goal of this: “We are healthy enough to both give and receive love, affection, affirmation, respect, and view ourselves and others as precious to God.” —Wow, that’s really beautiful. . .
“What about you? How comfortable are you with the self-assessment? Do you feel shame, do you blame, or just feel convicted?”
Not very comfortable. I feel both: the shaming, shoulding, blaming and the conviction. Jesus came to set us totally free on so, so many levels but I am in counseling because I never, ever feel that way (free). . . .Dr. Cheryl Meier in Newport Beach, CA is my counselor. Her father is Dr. Paul Meier (Meier New Life Clinics) and was a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and trained Dr. Cloud, Dr. Townsend, all those “greats.” Dr. Cheryl Meier has told me that she was told all her early Christian life about uncondictional love and uncondictional Grace but it never felt that way, it was all about performance. That is exactly the way I feel. . . . Anyways, we had a huge “discussion” over τέλειοι (be ye perfect). . . . The Bible is full of statements telling us to be spotless, perfect, blameless, et.al. Now, we have found a way in modern times to say perfect doesn’t really mean perfect; and spotless not really spotless but that is what they are really saying (—and not just “in Christ”, that is what they are saying). —That’s a lot of pressure. Centuries and centuries of Christians got that from the Bible. All the many τέλειοι and variant (be ye perfect) verses. In Christian history, you have lots of texts with that as a title. . . . Many today are post-modern Christians so they don’t say those things. They understand human behavioural psychology and the damage that condemning and damning oneself constantly does. . . . That said, Christian culture has lots of unspoken expectations for us women. For example, we should always be nice and never hurt anyone’s feelings. We should always put other people’s needs and wants ahead of our own, and we must never get loud or be pushy or bossy, even if we feel angry. We should keep a beautiful and orderly home, raise successful and godly children, achieve a meaningful career or ministry, have great girlfriends, and make our husband really happy. . . . The following statements are some typical things I hear women tell themselves: I’m a horrible mother/ wife/ sister/ daughter/ friend/ Christian; I’m a loser; I’m not worth anything; I’m stupid; I can’t do anything right; I’m a failure; I’m a fraud.” . . . .My pastor stands in front of the congregation and calls himself a “worm” et. al. I have talked to him before, asked him why, he says he got that from the Bible and he did a darn good job of defending it. I thanked a women in my small group for helping out on a Saturday a number of months ago. I told her she had a good heart was kind and honest. She told me: “. . . no, my heart is completely untrustworthy.” I didn’t even know what to say to things like that. . . . The point is that they are getting these attitudes from the church and people interpreting the Word of God, not from thin air. See the recent books The Meaning of “Be Ye Perfect” by Gene Edwin Witzky and The Law of Perfection, by C. J. Wood and Who Says You Can’t Be Perfect? by L. R. Ambridge. . . . page 83 “And when Jesus said, ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect’, he was saying that you can be perfect, and he don’t care what anybody else say, and we should believe he meant what he said, and said what he meant. Sometimes it looks like we are ready to believe everybody else except Jesus himself.” Historically, it is very, very easy to see where these attitudes came from and why people hold them and constantly feel guilty inside. I know I do.
Anyways, I love the character assessment questions and I have printed them, answered them and taped them to the front of my respect dare book/ workbook. . . . . and the goal of being neither doormat nor domineering is really the answer and so important to work on. For me, I just need professional help that goes beyond training, hopefully others are not that broken.
I’m a perfect sinner. 🙂 And I’m completely good with being unable to change – but but by God’s grace, and my own longing, the Jesus in me will continue to grow. If you ask me, we’re ALL a bunch of pendulum swinging weak people who would benefit greatly from therapy. 🙂 There’s so much truth in the depravity of man, and so much freedom in reminding ourselves to keep pursuing the goal, which is Him, not “being” or “doing” but “knowing” so we can “yield.” If that makes any sense. 🙂 Thanks for your transparency. I think we all would benefit from consistent, professional help. But even with that, it’s still Dad Who is the healer, because even the professionals need professional help! 🙂 LOL
Only One Jesus.
Love to you!
>“I’m a perfect sinner. 🙂 And I’m completely good with being unable to change. . . “
—Exactly, we don’t ever have to change for God to completely love and completely accept us (—nor can we do that ourselves anyway.) God will always love us and He loves us just the way we are because that is what Grace is all about. God will never, ever give up on us. . . . . —But, I always still pray that I/ we always love what He loves and that He would always be most dear to us. —But we do not have to do that to be fully loved. That said, I always pray to lose myself in the beauty of His holiness and always feel His love wash over me. Who we love above all else is who we worship, and who we worship controls us. Pray that we love Him above all else!!!
>“If you ask me, we’re ALL a bunch of pendulum swinging weak people who would benefit greatly from therapy. 🙂 There’s so much truth in the depravity of man, and so much freedom in reminding ourselves to keep pursuing the goal, which is Him, not “being” or “doing” but “knowing” so we can “yield.” If that makes any sense.”
That makes total sense!!! God is not asking us to change. A very important relationship exists between guilt, the law, and repression. Grace is the only mechanism for lasting change. Grace doesn’t ask or demand that you change anything. While there are destructive things we do, they can only be brought to the true healing light without fear of condemnation. That is God’s work totally! Everything else sends the whole thing underground. It just morphs. A state of grace cannot co-exist with judgement. God’s work totally!
>“. . . even the professionals need professional help! 🙂 LOL”
Oh my, do they ever!!! . . . . especially after they instruct some counselee to share with them everything and I proceed to show them my issues with soteriology, Christology, trinitarianism, satanology, angelology, nature of the afterlife, eschatology, fundamentals of the faith, . . . . ha, ha, ha, ha, —yeah . . . . . I am sure they do need professional help after that because everything comes out full-strength in counseling. . . . .Those issues are cover (—defense mechanisms) for something they are always trying to get at but it is not at the level of consciousness yet. See for example: God Is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis and Theology by Dr. Tad DeLay, Dr. Peter Rollins. Repressed issues from childhood abuse trauma and PTSD are really hard to get at.
Anyways, I would think here we want a place to go to share hurts, prayer requests; a place filled, as much as possible, with the Holy Spirit, His Word, His power, His wisdom, His love, and His priorities. A sanctuary of rest, encouragement, fervent prayer, and the power of God. . . . . A safe, judgement-free zone!
Love and Blessings, Rebecca
Good stuff, Nina!
Glad you liked. 🙂 Any good is all Him – looks like I stayed out of His way today! 🙂
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