When Your Love Affair with Getting Your Way Gets Out

Dealing with not getting your way with AuthenticVirtue.com

Have you ever been completely wiped out by your self-will?

Today was one of those days. One moment I’m rejoicing in life then something deep, emotional and fearful sweeps over me. Suddenly, I’m agitated, grumpy and morose. I start fighting Dalton over the most ridiculous conversations. Today’s argument: Do animals sin?

You should have seen the ugliness coming out from me over that unique conversation. (Wait, no, I’m glad you didn’t.)

Dalton pressed his way through the store aisles with his business while I slumped behind feeling like I was out of control and didn’t know why. What’s wrong with me? Am I hormonal? Emotional? Tired? I’m a child of God, I know better then this. I know better then this.

We talked on the drive home. Dalton, I don’t know why I’m acting like this; I don’t know why I’ve been arguing with you all week, I just feel like I have to win even if it’s dumb.

His gentle response? Maybe it’s because you haven’t been getting your way this week. 

Ouch. He’s right. I haven’t been getting my way this week. I’ve had a lot of issues going on this week that crossed my will: a dispute with a family member, Dalton not able to get work off for my mother’s birthday, my relatively tight work schedule which keeps us away for Mother’s Day, plans postponed … and my flesh is hating it.

I feel like I keep my requests to a minimum; as a realist personality I know life has limitations and it requires you to be careful with budgets, making plans and scheduling work. I know these things because I’m a by the rule book kind of gal who respects boundaries and black and white possibilities.

So I’m careful about most of my wishes — I don’t request wild, expensive, impractical things (normally). And in my mind, my frugality deserves being rewarded. When I ask for something I expect to get it. 

UGH. How did that bit of old man survive the sanctification process? How in the world did I miss crucifying that bit of fleshly thinking? How did I allow such selfishness rule my thinking and behavior, unseen, for so long?

It does no good to pout but that’s what I want to do; it feels good to mourn my sinful nature. But I need to fly to the mercy seat of God and let Him pull this ugliness from me. I need to let Him complete the work in me and address my love for my getting my way. He alone can let godly sorrow work good things in me — not days of binge cookie-dough eating and pouting.

I learned relearned a few things today:

  1. Even if you feel justified in getting your way God requires His people to have submissive, meek hearts to His revealed will — even when it means not getting your way.
  2. I’m not there yet. I still have a lot of growing, maturing and sanctification to go and that’s okay.
  3. Marrying husbands who gently point out truth in your life is an absolute gift. (Go for guys like that.)

Friends, can you relate? Tell me what God is revealing in your heart and life right now? Let’s grow together and pray for each other. Leave a comment so we can get started. 

Choosing joy, forgiveness and coffee this evening,

Frannie

Being the Good Girl Isn’t Enough // Coffee Series

 

Delight changes things for Christians. It's a gift we're given freely. also, enjoy this beautiful, freebie 8x10 printable from AuthenticVirtue.com

My pursuit of delight has been changing things. Like any change there are difficult days but overall, the fruit of pursuing a heart which delights in the Lord and that recognizes His delight in me has been wonderful.

Recently, I stumbled across an article which spoke life into my tattered, perfection-seeking heart. I love Jordan Lee’s words,

 For a couple years, I think I tried to become that perfect girl for awhile. For a long time I sacrificed my character for my reputation. I wanted to look perfect. The good girl. The successful girl. The one who had it all together. But I was living a lie – the lie that I would be more Christian if I could be more perfect. I lost myself in the process. I lost honesty, vulnerability, and joy. And I hurt my relationships in the process.

I understand. I know the pain-filled lie trying to be perfect brings. Even at twenty-six my heart gets sidetracked chasing being good enough. Internally, I yearn to be righteous enough to make it on my own. I ache to be able to say that I am free from all faults. And sometimes, honestly, I let my heart believe that I am.

This is where the pursuit of delight steps in and changes things. As I tune my heart to delight itself in the Lord — not my good works, not in my adorableness (ha!), not in my idea of perfection — I’m humbled. Life suddenly isn’t numbed by pride but alive because, well, there is a God, He is alive, in Him we live and in Him we thrive.

It’s also two-fold. I’m learning everyday that my God delights in me. Me. As I am. When I was His enemy He loved me. And even now, when I let the world distract me and along pride to be an idol, He continues to love me. My good works will not win His heart — He’s already given it.

What side do you fall on? Are you desperately trying to be the good girl? Or have you given up on being loved by God? Either way, sweet person, know that God will meet you right where you’re at and be all that you need. Need to know how? Ask. 

Like that “Delight changes things” pic? It’s yours, free for the taking. Follow this link (you’ll need Acrobat Reader), download and enjoy hanging it’s 8×10 beauty on your fridge or cork board. Because we all need a little inspiration now and again. 🙂

Love, blessings, a heart growing in delight and coffee,

Frannie

Your Marriage is Meant to Endure Conflict

Your marriage is meant to endure conflict! Learn how with AuthenticVirtue.com

Honesty time.

Sometimes, even in the happiest, God-centered marriages, your going to be angry. You’re going to be angry with your unmet expectations, forgotten trash, or cancelled plans.

Sometimes the cause is legitimate while other times it’s your own personal issue causing the angry, emotional torrents to come bubbling out. Then, there are the days when it’s not a his or her problem as much as it’s a hormonal problem or lack of sleep problem.

This is real life, ya’ll.

So, what do you do when you’re tempted to be angry? How do you adjust to the fact that your adorable, wonderful marriage may have grumpy days?

Realize bad days do not equal a bad marriage

Ugh. I cannot count the times I’ve felt like a failure because we had grumpy days. As Dalton’s bride, I took full responsibility for the constant, 100% never blue, happy days I wanted our marriage to be full of.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise when I fell to pieces the first time a bad day came around. I had placed an unrealistic expectation on both D and I.

Friend, grumpy days happen and they do not signify the apocalypse-ing end of your marriage. Grumpy days test you and your spouse’s humanness. It signifies that you’re both sinners in need of grace, God’s amazing gift of holiness and forgiveness.

So don’t freak out. Instead …

Assess the situation

What’s going on? What has turned your Knight in Shining Armor into something less than shining? Why are you acting like a shrew instead of the beautiful bride that you are? Are you tired? Hormonal? Is hubby carrying a stressful workload? Are bills piling up? Is there an family or in-law issue causing tension?

Assess the situation; most of the time grumpy days have root issues which go deeper then the current problem. In other words, it isn’t always about the cheese.

Take time to discover what’s causing the tension in your home instead of jumping to hasty conclusions. Then …

Communicate

I recently heard a radio speaker suggest couples keep an index card in the freezer saying, “I’m angry with you and want to talk about it but I won’t attack you. Is now a good time?” He suggested the angry spouse pull the card out of the freezer and hand it to the offending party whenever an issue required resolving or a communication stalemate has occurred.

I love this idea because I’ve found that communication is key. When grumpy days come it’s easy to let our inner Ice Queens take over — we’re hurt but we’re waiting for our spouse to breach the divide. Hours pass in uneasy tension as emotions foster anger, assumptions and bitterness. D likes to say, “Talk it out otherwise you’ll assume the worst.”

He’s right. Talk it out. Hand your spouse the ice cold index card assuring him that you won’t attack but want to get to the root issue of the problem.

Realize James 1:20

Confession: Anger is one of my big sins. For years I labored at maintaining my cool cucumber appearance only sharing my deep, angry thoughts and disappointments with family who knew and understood me. For years I allowed myself to not call sin sin.

I met Dalton and the façade pressed on (because, well, I wanted him to think I ways always sweet, wonderful and perfect … who wouldn’t?) 😉 It wasn’t till after we married and he mentioned that he didn’t like the burlap banners I tacked above every window and bare space our smallish home possessed. (Think up to 6-8 hot-glued tool, burlap banners — haha.)

He left for work and I threw myself on our bed. I was so mad. So angry in fact that my thoughts startled me. They were vengeful and malicious.

I’ve since made James 1:20 my key, go-to verse when I sense emotions getting the better of me. Because, truth be told, my anger will never work God’s righteousness in my life — only sin. It doesn’t matter how justified I feel, how badly I’ve been offended or how deserving of punishment the offender is. Our anger will not work one once of righteousness in our lives.

Forgive and Bless

Ultimately, I’m responsible for myself and my emotions. Grumpy days will happen and when we assess the situation (figure out what’s really going on), communicate (but not attack), and recognize that wrath will only hinder God’s work in our life then it’s time to move on. It’s time to forgive and bless. 

The beautiful thing about forgiving our spouses when they act grumpy or hurt us is that it’s life-giving to both parties. When Dalton forgives me for being an emotional ball of negative energy and chooses to bless me he is not only breathing life into my life but his.

So, do the next thing. Forgive and bless. I once heard the advice of baking your husband’s favorite cookies when you’re struggling with negative emotions toward him. It’s good for us to give up on steaming and steeping over our spouses faults and move toward finding ways of encouraging and brightening their day.

It’s good for them and it’s really good for you.

This is from experience because I’ve been there. I’ve been angry and have wrought havoc because I refused to handle the issue correctly. Let’s grow in grace by being women and men of God who handle the grumpy days properly. Knowing that arguments do not equal divorce, assessing the situation, communicating and forgiving will bring joy to your lives.

I know because I’ve learned the hard way. Marriage is meant to endure conflict. Learn how.

Free Printable @ 800x800 px with AuthenticVirtue.com

Need a little inspiration when days get tough? Feel free to download and print this 8×10 inch freebie printable. I love this quote by Fawn Weaver. Click here for the link and enjoy.

How do you handle grumpy days in your marriage? Did the arguments surprise and/or scare you? What are your strengths in dealing with conflict? Your weakness? Let’s grow in grace and community — this is a safe place to share!

Love, blessings and coffee!

Frannie

How Pandora Radio Taught Me About the Subtlety of Compromise // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

I have a supreme enjoyment of three specific, earthly things: good coffee, good music and good dessert. 

Pandora Radio is my music app of choice and I’m always listening to a variety of stations with my top three being JJ Heller, Mannheim Steamroller Holiday, and Pride + Prejudice Film Score. Of course, the nature of Pandora is that you’ll get all sorts of artists crooning their notes through your speakers and, with the flick of an up or down thumb, you build your playlist.

All was fine until I heard a song crooning from my JJ Heller station. My ears pricked at the sound — it was an old, emotion-filled love song which was popular during my Freshman year of high school (back when I was into rap and all sorts of mainstream vocals). It wasn’t a terrible song but it was definitely something I have chosen not to listen to any more.

I was shocked. How could something so long-forgotten and bypassed suddenly appear in my folksy, Christian artist station? And it wasn’t the only one. Throughout the day I was bombarded by songs not befitting my tastes or beliefs. Somehow, through a long-time of liking different songs, I had given Pandora the impression of the type of music I wanted to hear.

My station had been compromised.

And suddenly, I saw a lesson I’ve been needing to learn for a long time.

Sin, in any form, removes us from God. But we often don’t see it that way. We see little sins as minor issues; we don’t thumbs-down the small, minuscule character flaws, emotions or thoughts we deal with every day. It isn’t sin … it’s just not the best, we think. We trick ourselves into believing that the comprise doesn’t matter or that we’re mature enough Christians to handle it.

It happens to us all the time. We compromise on the little things forgetting that compromise grows up into full blown, reprobate patterns of sin. We don’t see that we’ve allowed compromise and justified little sins until we reap the fruit of bad character and rebellious hearts.

Sin does not advance by leaps; it advances by creeps—one tiny compromise at a time. – Mary Kassian from “Don’t Be a Wimp: Kicking the Habits that Make Women Weak.”

Sin creeps in just like artists we don’t want on our Pandora Radio. We hesitate on clicking the thumbs-down button. “Oh, I like this song … it won’t hurt anyone” turns into a secular takeover of your Christian station in a matter of days. It’s a lot like “I’m mature enough to watch this movie” or “My boyfriend and I are committed to purity so we know how far we can push the boundaries and where the line is.” 

Mary Kassian's Quote

The good news is that God is big enough and present enough to turn to. Some of us know we have compromise in our lives but are afraid of coming forward — I’ll fix it, Lord, and then I can turn to you … you don’t want me as I am right now. (This is my biggest lie I buy.) Other’s are letting a lack of faith keep them from repentance — God, I’m unfixable. I’m broken beyond repair. If You only saw my mind and the filth filling it You wouldn’t want me.

Friends, turn to Jesus. Turn in your brokenness and pain and smallness. You can’t change unless you let Him do a change in you first. Let Him shine light on the compromises in your life and weed out the roots of sin. He loves you and you are worth every effort of His. 

Have you let compromise sneak into your life? Are you experiencing the result of hesitation on clicking the thumbs-down button in your life? Do you need prayer or a listening ear? We’re here to encourage and lift each other up — this is a safe place, friend. We’re here to point you to the One Who is big enough to cleanse the years of compromise you’ve allowed. Just ask. 

With love, blessings and a whole lotta coffee,

Frannie

When You’re Faced with Conflict and Hate Being Responsible: Conflict Resolution Memoirs

I hate arguing. It really is the pits. Throughout my timid life I’ve settled most of life’s conflicts by keeping my peace, ducking my head and resolving to get over whatever irked me.

Thankfully, living 24/7 with a loving, albeit stubborn, man requires me to grow-up and mature in the conflict resolution arena.

So, here are my bits of advice for resolving conflict thoroughly and lovingly. Take whatever you can from my meager words; I’m still learning.

  1. Relationships = Opportunity for Bitterness

Knowing that you can become bitter is the first step in choosing not to. No matter the size of the conflict (think “she keeps clanging her spoon in the cereal bowl” small to “we can’t agree on family size” big) there will be opportunities for you as an individual to grow angry, bitter and hurt over the situation. I think acknowledging that we can or will be hurt is a step worth knowing because only then can you move onto step two …

2.  Opportunity for Bitterness = Opportunity for Empathy

When we’re faced with conflict I’ve discovered that a major step toward reconciliation is being empathetic. Empathy, according to the Webster Dictionary, means “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated.”

In other words, to put yourself the other person’s moccasins. In the long-term scheme of things it doesn’t really matter how I feel about so-and-so’s irritating complaint. Instead of belittling their feelings or opinion it is more useful to put myself in their shoes (even if they seem ridiculous). Only when we decide to see their complaint from their eyes will we be ready for step 3.

3. Empathy = Chance for Resolution

Real, life-giving reconciliation involves taking responsibility for our actions and the impact they had (even when we did not intend for the impact to occur). To illustrate I’ll tattle on myself and my struggle with punctuality (it’s a family curse). Let’s say I’ve worked 15 minutes later then planned finishing an awesome library display and, therefore, am 15 minutes late picking up D from his 10 hour shift.

Most likely my Man will be a little irate. From experience the following situations become possible (okay, all of these scenarios have happened).  I could:

A) Offer a myriad of excuses instead of a genuine “I’m sorry for being irresponsible and making you wait for my lack of planning.” Excuses will most likely look like “Well, you’ve been late picking me up before so we’re even …”

B) Become irritated with my Man’s lack of patience and  grow impatient with his irritation. Situations like this most likely end up with a cold, silent ride home. :/

C) Take responsibility for not being punctual but accuse D of also falling short of true patience and understanding.

D) Take responsibility for not being punctual and for causing feelings of frustration in a normally calm, patient man who is simply ready to take his boots off and eat dinner at the agreed upon time.  Putting myself in my Man’s shoes (being empathetic) will allow me to be patient with his impatience and grace-filled with his momentary grumpiness. Instead of a cold ride home there will be open communication and trust will continue to be built between two sinners who need each other more than they know.

4) Resolution = Growing in Individual Maturity and Opportunity for Relationship Growth

When we choose to be empathetic, responsible and grace-filled we choose both individual and relationship growth. We choose opportunities to develop deeper bonds, richer trust and increased wisdom. We love our neighbor as ourselves and honor our relationships.

Because it’s like my mom always said, “You can only be responsible for yourself.”

And that my friend is a beautiful thing.

Are you an avoider, an arguer or an avid resolution maker? How have you discovered to peacefully and fully resolve conflict (both big and small)? Share your ideas with us … I’d love to know!

With lots of love and coffee,

Frannie