F A I T H F U L
Happy and Holy!
Last night I did something I haven’t done in ages. I took a bath! Oh, I shower every day, but to take a lovely relaxing bath was wonderful. Just me and my book – and our puppy, and my daughter popping in and out every five minutes, and the puppy chasing the cat, and pulling my clothes off the side of the bath – well, it was as relaxing and enjoyable as I was going to get. 🙂
Anyway, this book I’m reading was delightful. It is called The Secret Life of Evie Hamilton by Catherine Alliott. It was so funny, that some night’s I would wake dear old hubby up laughing. He’s like, “Oh dear Lord, somebody save me…!” He’s very funny.
But, towards the end of the story, Evie makes this confession about how she has been harbouring feelings of jealousy and thinking the most horrible thoughts about the situation she and her husband have found themselves in (I won’t give too much away about the book – it’s a really good read!). But, it’s her husband’s response to her confession that I love so much (and to paraphrase): We all feel and think horrid things at times, but it is how we act that counts. We can act in wonderful ways, even when we feel fearful and insecure. As a Christian, obviously we know that our thought lives matter. But, we can still act appropriately even when it is hard. One of the biggest lessons I learnt while I was battling with anxiety, is that I can trust God no matter how anxious I am feeling. Anxiety doesn’t dictate my trust in God. So, in the midst of the most mind-blowing panic attack, I can still choose to trust Him.
I still feel nervous and I still worry, but God has shown me that trust doesn’t mean calmness – it means trusting despite not feeling calm. It is trusting when every feeling and thought inside you tells you that you can’t trust. That even in the midst of the most devastating panic attack, I can still choose to trust Him. Reference here.
So, with that basis in mind, I’m going to take it one step further – you can act godly and holy even when you’re not thinking it. Does that make you a hypocrite? Maybe – but I don’t think so. I think that very often our actions dictate our feelings and our thoughts – not the other way around.
So, my point in being holy in marriage with regards to our actions – we love our spouses, we honour them, we respect them, we are gracious and loving and kind: NOT BECAUSE WE THINK IT OR FEEL IT, BUT BECAUSE WE’RE ACTING OUT OF OBEDIENCE TO GOD.
And that is what we need to remember: our feelings and our thoughts may be the starting point in dictating our actions, but they are not the ultimate authority. God is. And while to be truly holy I obviously need to work on what I am thinking (which is commanded in the Bible) and what I am feeling, I can still act holy and obey God, even when my thoughts and feelings don’t necessarily line up.
My husband may drive me nuts; I may feel like I want to throttle him at times; we may be going through a rough patch; I might look at him and see someone who literally comes from Mars – in fact, he may infuriate me so much I could consider leaving. But, I don’t. I don’t not because he is abusive, or unkind, or addicted to anything – he is just being a man. And I stay not because of anything my husband has done, or anything I am feeling or thinking: I stay and love this man to the best of my ability because I choose to obey God! Holiness comes through obedience!
However, if your husband is abusive, or you or your children are in any sort of danger, please seek immediate assistance.
But, if your husband is just being a man – then love him and obey God. Hard seasons mean growth – they don’t mean we have the right to just give up!
Galatians 6:9 New International Version (NIV)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.