Girl Please!

Girl Please! Let it Go

Autumn is my favorite Season, I know how basic it sounds, but I seriously love everything about the season. In particular, I love the changing of the leaves.

Not only are the vibrant yellows, reds, and oranges my favorite, but I find something comforting in the fact that the trees are at their most beautiful when they are in the midst of letting go.

For most of us, letting go is hard. It’s a struggle to release people, things, or emotions we’ve grown accustomed to having in our lives.

Some people are better at letting go than others. I, for example, have a terrifically terrible time letting go of people, but when it comes to letting go of material things, I have absolutely no trouble saying goodbye.

Others don’t seem to cling to people the way I do, but ask them to get rid of a dress they wore once in high school and they act like you’re asking them to sell their soul.

We’re all different when it comes to letting go, but I bet that no matter who you are, you have a hard time letting go of something.
But you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay to have a hard time releasing what matters to you.

Whether it’s things, people, or thoughts, it’s difficult to give up something you once thought of (or still think of) as yours. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

When you keep things you don’t need (and, yes, this includes people), you create emotional (and sometimes physical) mess. Extra things create clutter in your home, and extra people create clutter in your heart.

Personally, I’d rather not have any clutter in my life — and the only way to do that is to learn how to let things go.

It’s not always easy to release things, the way the trees always seem to graciously let go of their leaves each autumn, but it’s up to you to choose to stop clinging to the things that you no longer need in your life.

No one is going to do it for you, but I’ve got some tips for how to make it happen. Ready? Okay, let’s go let go!

Decide what’s really important.When you take a step back and think about what’s truly important to you, you’ll realize that many of the things you’re holding on to aren’t as essential as you once thought.

What’s essential is being healthy, positive, mindful, and living your life to the fullest. If you are clinging to things or people, you’re not really at peace with yourself or your life.

Step back and assess what really matters to you, and letting go will become a lot easier.

Assess what benefits you’re getting. One of the reasons we hang on to things or people is because we believe they add value to our lives. But is that actually true?

Think about it — and I mean really think about it. Are you benefiting from the clutter (emotional or physical) in your life? Is your life richer because you are surrounded by negative people? Probably not.

Take a moment to list the benefits you think you’re getting and you’ll probably have a short list. Use this to motivate yourself to release what no longer serves you.

Recognize that you’re overvaluing it. You’re the one placing high value on a person or thing you’re holding on to unnecessarily. More often than not, you’re idealizing that person or thing and telling yourself that, for whatever reason, you need it/him/her.

However, that’s not true. If there’s any part of you saying “let go,” that means let go. What you need in your life is you. You also need things that are bringing you up, not down.

If something isn’t bringing you up, it’s bringing you down. Stop overvaluing it and let it go.

Be brave enough to release your grip. It really does come down to the old Nike slogan, “Just do it.” No matter how hard it is, no matter what obstacles stand in your way, sometimes you have to just suck it up, be brave, and release your grip.

I know this is much easier said than done, but, honestly, it really is the only way. You owe it to yourself to be brave; to release the things that you no longer need.

A remember: the hardest part is the release; once you’re brave enough to take that first step, you’ll soon see that you’re just fine without it.

As much as you might think you need something or someone, keep in mind that “need” is a very strong word. What you really “need” in your life is very different from what you “want.”

Keep in mind that, deep down, you know what’s best for you. If there’s something telling you to let go, listen to that instinct.

Your gut feelings will let you know what’s right and what’s wrong. You just need to open your mind and listen to them. And then, when you hear that voice telling you that you need to let something go, have the courage to really listen and to take action.

Letting go isn’t often easy, but you can make your life so much more positive if you take inspiration from the beautiful trees in autumn and just let the dead leaves drop.

And, yes, you might go through a tough time — a winter, if you will — but that will pass, and you’ll grow stronger and healthier in the process, just like bright green leaves and flowers do each spring.

Girl Please!

Helpmate

Sometimes it seems we could fulfill our biblical role as wives a lot easier if our husbands would simply do what they are called to do.

If they would cultivate a stronger prayer life, we would feel better about following their lead. If they were growing through regular study of Scripture, we would be honored to submit. If they loved us as Christ loved the church, we would shower them with respect.

But our calling doesn’t hinge upon how faithfully our husbands are walking out theirs. We stand before the Lord alone, and we do all as unto him. And the reality is that it’s easier to see where someone else is lacking — especially when that someone lives under the same roof, with habits and idiosyncrasies we’ve dissected for years. We can become nit-picky and critical about where they need to be and miss the myriad shortcomings we possess ourselves.

Still, it is a very real issue if our husbands are not cultivating spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible study. And if love is lacking, it’s downright heartbreaking. How do we set aside our own hurt and frustration and live out our calling as Christian wives? How do we follow a shepherd who is not adequately shepherding? Here are three ways to love your imperfect husband.

1. Pray for Your Husband

As wives, prayer is our strongest ministry toward our husbands. The mindset is not, “I guess I’ll pray since nothing else is working.” Rather, it is a mind that is fully persuaded that prayer should be first and foremost — and that it’s the most powerful and effective service we can offer our husbands.

We are able to pray for our husbands as no one else can. We see his ups and downs, his moods and attitudes, and his strengths and vulnerabilities. We see what he devotes his time to. By his words and actions, we see his heart toward the things of God. What we do with this insight is key. We can attempt to “fix” things ourselves — with nudges that turn to nagging, or correction that morphs to criticism. Or we can trust the Good Shepherd to do the work in his timing and in his power.

“Wives, you have the ability to intercede for your husband in a way that no one else can. Pray hard and often.”

Prayer invites Jesus to dwell in the midst of the cares and concerns we have for our husbands. It changes the dynamic. We’re no longer focusing on the problem but on the one who can solve it. We are reminded that nothing is too hard for God. Just as the king’s heart is like channels of water in the Lord’s hand, such that he can turn it wherever he will (Proverbs 21:1), our husband’s heart is fully accessible and pliable in the hand of the Lord. He’s able to turn his heart toward him. Through our prayers, we join forces with our husbands to bring about change.

Praying for our husbands does a work in our own hearts as well. Our hearts are softened as we intercede. We gain humility and compassion as we realize that we both, husband and wife, are flawed and in desperate need of grace. This is especially significant if one’s husband does not know Jesus as Lord. Our prayers are a fresh reminder of the saving grace we received, which God is able to pour out on our husbands to bring about redemptive change.

2. Encourage Your Husband

Being called by God as head of the home is not an enviable burden. Our husbands shoulder expectations and responsibilities before God that are immense, including the depth to which they are called to love. Wives are called simply to love their husbands (Titus 2:4), while husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her(Ephesians 5:25). No matter how strong one’s walk with God, sacrificial love is a daunting standard. Indeed, the breadth of the divine standard for husbands — of love, of providing for the family, of guiding the family spiritually — may cause them more stress than we realize.

Although our eyes naturally fall on areas in which our husbands need to improve, we should instead look for ways to bless them with encouragement. This is not necessarily easy, especially if we’ve seen a pattern of certain behavior over time. We may be skeptical about any positive change. It won’t last might drift through our minds. We may even be tempted to belittle efforts that our husbands make, regarding them as inadequate.

But as we intercede for our husbands, our attitude and actions should line up with the end goal. We should believe that change is possible and encourage even the small movements we see. As we speak words that build up and give grace (Ephesians 4:29), we not only revitalize our husbands, but our marriage as well.

3. Die to Yourself

The only way we can truly walk out our calling as wives despite our own hurts and frustrations is to die to self. This is our ultimate call as believers: to daily crucify our flesh so that Christ may live fully through us. And when Christ is living through us, we experience the surpassing greatness of his power.

“God knows we cannot be the wives he calls us to be in our own strength. Thankfully, he does not expect us to.”

God knows we cannot be the wives he calls us to be in our own strength — and thankfully, he does not expect us to. When self gets out of the way, his Spirit takes over, infusing us with immense grace and strength. We are able to pray when we’re tired of praying and to love when the “feeling” eludes.

Grace highlights ways we can encourage, seasons our speech, and quiets our spirits. And as we wait on Jesus to answer our prayers for our husbands, his grace keeps our eyes fixed on him, our Good Shepherd, the one we are ultimately called to follow. Here lies an eternal treasure. As we walk in obedience to our calling as wives, we find ourselves in blessed fellowship with our Lord.

Girl Please!

Is Your Heart Circumcise?

Deuteronomy 10:15-16

Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.

I love this expression, “set his affection”. Not only has God set His affection on our forefathers in the faith, but He has set His affection on us. It was not anything good that we did. He sovereignly chose to set His affection on you! He loved you and chose you. So what should be your response?

Circumcise your hearts. Abraham had been given the ritual of circumcision confirming the covenant between God and himself. It was a physical illustration of an inner transformation that was to take place. This transformation is an act God is requesting us to do. “Make your heart tender toward me,” God asks us. “Don’t act like you don’t hear when I call.”

God set His heart on me. What is my response?

Girl Please!

Drop That Pride

pride

There are many scriptures that deal with pride but one that clearly is understood is Proverbs 16:18; “Pride comes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Two distinct truths that comes with pride that this scripture reveals is destruction and a fall. It is also revealed that both of these distinct truths are a direct result of a satanic spirit that stems from the very character of satan himself, and that is the spirit of pride.

Satan’s (Lucifer) rebellious heart was full of pride which wars against God’s spirit of humility and eventually led to his fall and ultimately will lead to his final destruction. (lsh.14:12-15) As you can see the spirit of pride centers around self, selfishness and self­ exaltation as seen in the “I will’s” of satan’s in this scripture. God detests the spirit of pride spirit (Prv.6:16 – look) and withholds His grace from all those operating in it. (Jam.4:6) Below are some ways to detect that you have left the heart of humility and have entered into a heart of spiritual pride. These are not the only ones but may be some examples that you may not normally associate with the spirit of pride but they are:

1. You have an attitude of entitlement and you expect more done for you than you are willing to do for yourself or others.
2. You measure your sins and shortcomings by others that you feel are less than your
sins and you excuse or justify your own
3. You generally think your way is always the right, best, or only way and you shoot down or dismiss others suggestions without biblical principal
4. You become agitated or defensive when you are criticized or corrected and like to tell people what to do rather than be told what to do
5. You have got to be recognized as the center of attention, attraction seated at the head of the table and have an arrogant standoffish snubbiness towards people that suggests secretly in your heart that you are better than everyone else.

NO matter what kind of arrogance we deal with, we must take the focus off ourselves, turning it first to God and then to others. When we are willing to confront our pride actively, God will replace it with a spirit of humility that fits who we are in Christ. Just detecting pride in our hearts is not enough. We need to purge our hearts of a prideful spirit. We must daily submit ourselves to the Lord, resist the devil, continue to seek to God and obey His word by faith. This will keep you walking in humility with the Lord and purge you from the spirit of pride. (Jam. 4:6-10)