Sunday, February 13, 2011

Radical Statements about Love (Day 2 of a Marriage Conference)

The 2nd day of the marriage conference was even more challenging than I expected. Ideally I would sit down with you to explain in more detail each of these thoughts, but since that's not possible, I can at least give you a taste through this new list of quotes from Paul Tripp's marriage conference entitled, "What did you expect?" I've divided them into a few sections. I know it's a lot of information; trust me, we were completely exhausted after the conference was over and my hand was cramped from writing so much! So if you can't get through it all today, just read the first section on "Needs" and the last section on "Rooted in Worship." They were the 2 most important concepts with the most impact for me during the entire weekend.


NEEDS

1. The word "need" is one of the sloppiest words in human culture. The vast majority of what we say we need we actually don't. As soon as I name something as a need, I think I'm entitled to it. Then I think it's my right to demand it because it's a need, and then I'm anxious until I get it. Lastly, I will define the love of my spouse by their willingness to deliver my need.

2. What are the things in my life that I think are my rights that define for me the love of my man/woman? What am I anxious about not having?

3. A need is defined as something that is essential for life. Are your needs really needs, or are they wants?

4. We don't define our needs well. We should defer to the Creator of life to know what's essential for life. Some of us judge God because we think He hasn't delivered on our needs, when it's never something He promised to give.

5. Wives, you do not need a husband who loves you. It is not something God promises you. Is it something you want? Yes, but it is not a need.

6. Husbands, you do not need a wife who respects you. It is not something God promises you. Is it something you want? Yes, but it is not a need.

7. My definition of need causes me to be unloving. I turn a blessing into a demand, and try to recreate the person God has created, which is a marital disaster.

8. Some of us are convinced that "I can't do what I'm supposed to do because the man/woman I think I need I haven't been given."

9. It's not ok for your spouse to be irritable, insensitive, or unloving. But the minute I name something as a need that God has not promised me, I turn a blessing into a demand and bad things happen.

10. If all my hope is wrapped up in that someday this person will be everything I think I need, I will be paralyzed in the marriage. The combination of convincing myself that I can't live without these needs causes me to be stuck.

11. You CAN be the wife/husband that God calls you to be without the love or respect of your spouse. We're not as poor as we are acting; we've been made rich in Christ, but we believe we're poor and we don't change.

12. The turnaround is not for me to re-create the man/woman I want, but it's to seek God's kingdom first for my marriage.

13. "And which if you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?. . . Therefore, do not be anxious saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6: 27-33)


MARRIAGE IS WAR

1. Marriage is war: the kingdom of self against the kingdom of God. It is a daily battle between indulging myself or serving in love.

2. Kingdom of self = driven by my selfish desires. I try to coerce you into serving me in my kingdom. I reward you when you do what I like, and punish you if you don't do what I want.

3. Indulge = going wherever your appetite leads you

4. Kingdom of God = motivated by a desire to minister, encourage, help the other. Serving in love and moving toward your spouse when he/she hurts you.

5. Galatians 5:13-15 "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love. The entire law is summarized by a single command; 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other."

6. It's amazing that Paul the apostle writes that the entire law is summarized not by loving God the most, but by loving your neighbor as yourself. Who is your closest neighbor? Your spouse!

5. It's only people who love God above all else who can love their neighbor as themselves. If God is in his proper place in your life, your spouse will have the rightful place in your life.


TRUE LOVE

1. Do you know your definition of love? Where did you get your definition? I get my definition of love from the event of the cross of Jesus.

2. Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not demand reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving.

3. There is no such thing as love that doesn't require sacrifice.

4. 1 John 4:7-11 "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. . . this is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us this way, we also ought to love one another."

5. In God's love of me, I receive the power to love. I don't have to hope that I'm able to love. Christ has made it possible for me to love.

6. Gratitude is the best soil in which love grows.

7. To the degree that you are forgetful or ungrateful for the love you have been give in God, the easier not to love your spouse.


A BETTER WAY

1. You don't fix your marriage horizontally first- (between you and the spouse), you fix it vertically (between you and God.)

2. You must surrender your throne if you're ever going to love your spouse as you should.

3. The fabric of marriages can change with a deep conviction to be kind. Hurtful comments build up.

4. Be patient. You never yell at you. You never have trouble waiting for you. Waiting always reminds us that you are not in charge.

5. Become a student of your spouse; look for specific opportunities to concretely bless him/her.

6. Beautiful relationships always overlook minor offenses. Commit to peace and enjoy unity.

7. Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law."


ROOTED IN WORSHIP

1. If I'm going to be thankful for you and love you, I must first worship the One the created you.

2. Do you celebrate the Creator in the hardwiring of your spouse? Or do you fall into thinking that you would have been a better creator? If so, you will disrespect your spouse and harm your marriage.

3. Do you worship God as sovereign in weaving your story and your spouses story? If so, you will see that the mess of your marriage is not in the way of God's plan, it IS the plan.

4. Do you think you are a better Savior to your spouse than the Savior himself? If so, you think it's your job to change your spouse.

5. You are not the 4th person of the Trinity. Don't try to be God; be His instrument of grace to your spouse.

6. No one is more committed to change than the Redeemer who defined change and made transformation possible.

7. Celebrate God's work in each other and seek to participate in His ongoing plan.

____________________________________________________________________________________

What timely words for me in my marriage. God knew exactly what I needed to hear, and I am so grateful for His guidance through this conference.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What did you expect? (Day 1 of a Marriage Conference)

Todd and I are spending Valentine's weekend going to a marriage conference on Friday and Saturday at Prestonwood Baptist in Plano, TX (a.k.a. "Preston-world" because of its immense size.) It even has a Starbucks in the church! I have to say I've been a bit skeptical of these types of conferences where several hundred married couples get together to hear someone pontificate about the perils and joys of marriage.

This one is different. It's called "What did you expect?" by Paul Tripp, and it is all searing truth; my mind is spinning. Thank you, blog, for being an outlet for me to process the information tonight so that I can fill my mind again tomorrow for Day 2. I have listed below the many statements tonight that struck me. I don't go through and explain each of these concepts- you'll have to attend a conference to get the finer details! I hope that perhaps just one of these nuggets of truth will spark something in your heart and mind too.

(Quotes from Paul Tripp)

1. The character of a marriage is set in the thousands of little moments- in the kitchen, in the living room, in the car. Those little moments of your marriage are profoundly important, and it's the character developed in those moments that help you make it through the big moments, not the other way around.

2. The man/woman I dated was a fake. The man/woman I married is the real person.

3. Romance is not a sturdy enough foundation to go through the struggles in life. Romance is not a cause, it's a result.

4. All marriage problems are heart problems.

5. The heart is the causal core of my personhood, the control system. Whatever rules my heart will shape my words and behavior. My words and behavior reflect what's inside of me rather than what's outside of me.

6. Luke 6:43-45 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

7. We are always giving our hearts to something. We attach meaning, purpose, and significance to something. That thing we focus on will become the central focus of our heart.

8. A marriage of unity, understanding, and love is not rooted in romance, but in worship.

9. Marriage is one flawed person plus another flawed person in a fallen world, but with God, it can work.

10. Worship is first your identity before it's ever your activity. Worship is one of the most formative functions of the human being. It's only when God is in the rightful place in my heart that my spouse will be in the rightful place in my love.

11. Sin causes us to shrink our lives to the size of our lives.

12. Sin causes me to be in the claustrophobic confines of my needs, my wants, my feelings. "It's all about me."

13. I wasn't meant to shrink my life into something so small that no one can move in my world except myself.

14. Sin, in its fundamental form, is anti-social. I was meant to live outwardly toward God and others, but sin turns me towards myself.

15. Sin will cause me to dehumanize the people in my life. No longer are they the objects of my affection; they are either vehicles towards what I want or obstacles from getting what I want.

16. I carry something in me naturally that is destructive in my marriage. I have an inertia toward selfishness.

17. Selfishness: It's not so much that I want you to love me, it's that I want you to indulge me in all of my wants, and when you do, then I will love you too. If you don't, then I threaten, manipulate, and bring guilt.

18. Why do we all argue over the little things? It's because we are so full of ourselves, so focused on my rights, my wants, my pleasures.

19. When we are full of self-love, we have very little time to love another.

20. Jesus came to rescue me from me. I am the greatest danger to my marriage.

21. My weakness never gets in the way of God's work, but my delusions of strength do.

22. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 "For Christ's love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again." The purpose of Christ's death was to save me from myself.

23. How much of my anger towards my spouse has anything do with God's law? How much of it has to do with my own law that I've composed about marriage?

24. God will never call us to a task without enabling us to do it.

25. This life is not my big party. It's not about me, and it will never be about me. It's about Him, and it always has been about Him.

26. If you want lasting change in your heart, in your spouses heart, and in your marriage, you have to be needy. You have to know that you need to change.

Is your mind spinning now too? I am so humbled by these statements. Wow. I will post more tomorrow at the conclusion of the seminar. . .

Friday, February 4, 2011

Do Homeschoolers Get Snow Days?

A blizzard swept through the nation this week and the Frisco Independent School District was forced to shut down school for 4 days straight due to icy conditions and inclement weather.

Technically, we could continue school at home for those 4 days without interruption. However, since my husband couldn't drive into work, we decided to take the snow days and enjoy the unexpected holiday.

You might think that it was easy for me to take time off from school and work, but it was actually very difficult. I'm starting realize how programmed I am to achieve, to accomplish, to check off the boxes. I grew up not being allowed to waste a minute, accountable for every hour at home, and expected to show results daily in practicing my instruments as well as schoolwork. I see value in some of the ways I was raised, but I also recognize that a part of me tends to look at play time as wasted time, even though I know it's not true. Just because I didn't get any down time as a child doesn't mean my kids have to grow up that way! And yet I was surprised at how much I struggled to be at peace with the world coming to a stop for a few days.

After I let my girls go 2 days without practicing and opening a book, I started to feel anxiety. What if they forget everything? What if they get behind on their work? What if I'm teaching them that they don't need to be disciplined in life? It was all I could do to force them out of their Polly Pocket/Barbie/American Girl doll playtime and make them get back into the routine.

I had to remind myself that the goal of their being at home this year is not just about knowledge, it's about character. My character flaws are many, and the first is perfectionism. I want the perfect day, the perfect schedule, the perfect results to my hard work. It's so unrealistic and yet so ingrained in my psyche. The snow days this week challenged me to let go of perfectionism and let my girls be who they are- kids. Kids who love snow, who love to play with daddy when he gets to stay at home, who enjoy games with the whole family and creating magical worlds with each other with their dolls. I don't want to teach them that they can't relax and enjoy a peaceful day of rest, and I don't want them to struggle with perfectionism like I do. I want them to have memories that mom allowed for fun and even encouraged it, but that she also challenged them to strive for excellence rather than perfection. It's a hard balance between being pushy and being passive, and I pray for immeasurable wisdom to walk the line with gentleness and integrity!

So yes, we homeschoolers did take the snow days this week, but it was in the absence of teaching that I learned one of my biggest lessons!