We are now in Week 3 of the Summer Sizzle Blog Hop series. Where 9 Bloggers are sharing their best work with each other for 9 weeks. Last week I introduced Marva Smith from Sparkle Shine Sun with her post; 5 Ways to Make Him Feel Significant in Marriage.
This week I am introducing a beautiful friend of mine; Lori from Searching for Moments. I absolutely adore her in real life and in this big world of the internet. Her passion for writing and speaking to encourage woman is inspiring!
By: Lori Schumaker
The world of the “How-To” is a dangerously slippery slope.
It’s not the “How-To” resources themselves that are dangerous, it’s how we internalize them. Because we are living in a digital age, we are inundated with materials and resources describing all of life’s “shoulds”.
7 Ways to Keep Your House Clean
5 Things You Must Do to Keep Your Man Happy
10 Strategies Moms Should Never Forget
The goal is simply to grow, but somewhere along the way I think we turn it into something else. A something that leaves us with a list of “shoulds” we can never fulfill, consequently burdening us with false guilt and misdirected judgement.
“I’m not a good wife because I can’t …”
“My marriage is less than satisfactory because my husband doesn’t …”
But It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way
False guilt and misdirected judgement are easy places to land for anyone. As Christians, though, we are frequently prone to taking our own interpretation of God’s Word and calling it law. We unknowingly heap condemnation not only upon each other, but upon ourselves.
Years ago when my children were toddlers, a dear friend who deeply loved the Lord played an important part of that season of my life. We truly enjoyed each other, but there was one area of our friendship that consistently left me bearing the burden of false guilt.
She found great joy in preparing meals and sharing an organized family dinner each night. Her husband loved homemade meals and as he arrived home at 5:30 every evening, they would eat together as a family. It was a precious time in their day, and in my friend’s mind a should for every woman. It is by many Christians exactly what the Proverbs 31 woman is all about.
In spite of her good intentions and zeal to encourage other Mothers in this direction, she failed to see into the unique reality of our individual lives.
My reality was not similar to hers. A late arrival was the only predictability of my husband’s work schedule. Too late for a sit down family meal. I was often on my own and by dinnertime, something simple my children would assuredly eat, was all I had in me.
God hadn’t wired me with a passion for food or cooking. For me, it was simply a necessity. And as for my husband, he was happy heating up simple leftovers in the microwave after spending the precious little time he had playing with the kids before bed. In contrast, he was the kind of guy who preferred a neat and orderly home over a creative meal, which was something I actually loved doing for him.
In the meantime, my friend relentlessly tried creating in me a passion for cooking. I, in turn, forced myself to peruse recipe books while pressuring my husband about an earlier arrival.
I was miserable.
He was stressed.
And as a result, we argued.
Ultimately, what I learned in those years of carrying false guilt was that the unique way in which God created us applies to every aspect of our lives.
We are not cookie cutter people with cookie cutter answers that solve our every dilemma. We are uniquely made, wired just as God intended.
All uniquely designed.
So What Is Important?
Because of both the truth of our unique design and the inundation of advice from the world around us, I believe there are 3 things for which we must hold ourselves accountable.
Knowing God’s Word.
Knowing those God has given us to care for here on Earth.
When we know these 3 things, we get to the heart of what really matters.
By knowing God’s Word and aligning ourselves to it, we lay the foundation of universal needs. The needs we all have in common irrelevant of our unique design.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. –Colossians 3:12-17 MSG
But for the rest of it? It’s not necessarily in the cooked meals or the clean house. It’s not how often we have sex or how many dates we go on.
For each uniquely designed marriage, there is an equal uniqueness to our needs. Both our personal needs and the needs of our spouse. Therefore it is critical to know ourselves and know the ones God has given us to love well.
So friends, the next time you find yourself sinking under the weight of a list of “shoulds”, I’m taking your hand in mine, looking into your eyes, and giving you permission to set the list down.
Remove that weight and instead lean into the Father and His Word. Hear the love and grace found within those pages. Believe His promises. Then while embracing who He uniquely made you to be, love your spouse in the way only he needs.
Lori is an encourager at heart. She has spent her life learning of the hope and victory available when we embrace our identity in Christ. Today, when she isn’t busy being a wife and Mom to her three children, she teaches, ministers, coaches, speaks, and writes to share that hope with others. Wherever you find yourself today – walking through the difficult, needing to get unstuck to follow your purpose, or simply experiencing a season of beautiful chaos, Lori’s blog found at www.lorischumaker.com is a place where you can get a virtual hug from someone who truly understands. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest