The story in Dare 18 really happened.
Well, actually they all did. It’s just that some of them happened to me. This is one of them.
And that’s what I want to talk about today. Dare 18 provides a brief glimpse into a moment where I wish I lived 100% of the time.
And I want to reveal something that most people miss when they read the book – they miss a moment with an imperfect but strong woman who knows who she is in Christ, a woman who is no one’s doormat.
(okay, I’ll be 100% honest – there are still two people in this world with whom I do not have this figured out yet – but no, I’m not married to them)
But in that moment where I did get it right, pay attention to what I did. And what I didn’t do.
There are several “extremes” within the women that we minister to. First, there’s the domineering, controlling type. The ones afraid of having a man exert any power over them. This might not be the norm in your world, but in mine, this seems to be a good sized percentage of women. And you should know I used to be one of them – corporate career girl, confident, had it pretty together (or so I liked to think), and a bit bossy at times. Unfortunately, I lacked wisdom. If I had an opinion, I shared it – because to not speak up (about everything) would be acting like a doormat…or so I believed.
So yes, I was lacking in wisdom. And I’m still growing.
When I first learned about respect and Ephesians 5:33, it made me angry.
I didn’t understand.
I fought God.
And then I did research.
And like a pendulum, swung all the way over to the doormat extreme. You know her, the woman that is a shadow of a person. Invisible. I actually read teaching from others who said that my life should revolve around my husband and his dreams and aspirations. That God created me to help him achieve his dreams – and I wasn’t to have any of my own. I was to equip my children as well – even if it all meant losing my identity as the woman God had made me to be in the first place. I wasn’t a willing servant, even though I actually spent a good deal of time eagerly serving my family. I still do, actually, but all the talk about being my husband’s crown by being his 1950’s house wife (all while working part-time and home schooling, mind you) eventually brought me to a place of depletion.
I had been taught that “submission” means he bosses me around while I am “never disagreeing.” The experience left my husband confused because I went from being a competent woman to a person who couldn’t make a decision. It left me feeling like I had no voice. I allowed others to take advantage of me in my home in the name of “service,” and “being a good submissive wife.”
Not surprisingly, my children started behaving as though they had a sense of entitlement and I was their maid. Nasty little side effect.
What’s missing from the majority of teaching currently available is the balance that comes from what lies in the middle of the two extremes above. And how the bible doesn’t really contradict itself, but rather is useful for Him to provide specific direction in the everyday moments.
And that’s what I did in Dare 18.
I told the truth about how I didn’t feel loved.
But I didn’t do it in a disrespectful (to myself or my husband) way.
And it was a moment born out of God’s leadership and wisdom’s teaching from the Holy Spirit.
There are times when “love covers a multitude of sins” in marriage. Like knowing when to tell the kids, “Dad’s having a rough week at work, cut him some slack.”
There are also times when “iron sharpens iron” in marriage. Like knowing when to say, “The kids need to respect me more, and I’d like your help with that. I don’t know if you are even aware of this, and I’m sure you don’t mean to do it, but when you cut me off and disagree before you even hear what I’m saying, it gives our kids the impression you might not be a respectful person and that you might not respect me. Can you please listen and ask questions first instead?”
There are a few lies out there – that “submission” means not voicing a contrary opinion, not confronting your husband’s sin against you, or having a good marriage means the wife never states a different viewpoint from her husband. That’s utter hogwash.
Another lie is that “submission” is a part of the bible that doesn’t apply to women now. You can read gobs about why it matters here, but understand that lie is also complete hogwash. We are to have a voice – but don’t subscribe to those who think you need to shove your opinion down other’s throats to be heard. And know this doesn’t just apply to marriage, but literally every other relationship, work environment, family, or otherwise. Being heard has a lot to do with treating yourself with respect so you teach others how to treat you. The fear of other’s opinions, having made them our God, will cause us to sin and not tell the truth or not be gently, compassionately bold. And be open to continuing to grow in this area your whole life. There is no arrival.
Understand as well that there are several examples in the bible where people questioned authority, and even so, 1 Peter is still all about how we are to submit to authority.
· Sarah telling Abraham to get rid of Hagar – and God tells him to listen to her.
· Abigail and David – she totally went behind her husband’s back to save her people and find favor with David. Smart girl.
· Nathan and David – Nathan gave David (who was King) a serious chastisement for the killing of Uriah.
· Esther and Xerxes – she breaks the law to get his attention, risking her life – and wins.
· Jesus asks God to “take this cup” from Him.
The bottom line is simply this: We are here to learn to love God and others as we love ourselves. Only the Father can teach us how to do these three well. If we will stay plugged into Him by daily reading, listening, obeying, and praying, we will know what to do in the minutia of the moments of our day.
Know too, that there are other examples of strength and dignity in The Respect Dare.
Don’t miss them.
Don’t buy the lie that The Respect Dare makes you a doormat.
Wise women of strength and dignity are not threatened by authority.
Dare you to continue growing and figuring out that sweet spot in the middle of His will.
And know we are so glad you are on the journey! Your sons and daughters will thank you.
Love to you,