“You’re getting two steps ahead of me.” When I hear these words I know what to do. I stop whatever I’m doing, I’m patient, and slow down. I’m just trying to help Hope, my wife, with the house work or a project she is working on. Being a person who struggles with needing to have things done my way, [because everyone knows that if you want anything done right it’s better to do it yourself], and being task oriented, I have a tendency to get busy and end up getting ahead of Hope. Yet moving ahead my way can leave her feeling frustrated thinking she has very little input into what we are trying to do. It can also cause us to have misunderstandings. I have to slow down and make myself wait.
This need to do things my way and accomplish the task by myself might stem from my childhood upbringing. I was raised in a family where we developed one of two attitudes, “Why try, it does not matter” or “take care of that so there is no trouble”. I had good training in control. It helped out in our home. Taking care of things around the house kept tension down. It alleviated problems and arguments. There was less shouting and arguing between family members if I made sure things left undone were done. If I saw something that needed to be taken care of our family life would be simplified if I went ahead and took care of it. So through control I became the fixer in our family. The problem with all this training was that when Hope and I were married I brought with me into our marriage years of training on fixing things. In the beginning we did not have anything to fix, so I would just do everything as I always had. I told myself I was just trying to help because I loved Hope. Yea, sure. I did love my wife and wanted to do for her, but doing everything was my controlling things to make sure it was done my way.
I could blame this need to fix and control things on the life-habits developed during my childhood, but I can’t blame it on my parents or childhood. It was me choosing to handle situations over which I had no business or control. It was me handling situations in a wrong way. It was me operating out of selfish desires and pride. I wanted everyone to see me as ‘SUPERHUSBAND’. I wanted to be FASTER THAN A SPEEDING TODDLER, MORE POWERFUL THAN A WASHER FULL OF DETERGENT, ABLE TO CLEAN A TALL PILE OF DIRTY DISHES IN A SINGLE SWIPE, and all this after a full day at work. The whole time I was not being a husband for Hope. I was promoting myself and how good I could be. Through my personal relationship with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior I began to understand I was wrong. The Holy Spirit of God began to impress on me that my pride and selfishness were no grounds for doing good works. I needed to do things for Hope because I loved her and God had given me the health, ability, and time to help around the house. I needed to realize that it was not about me, but about God loving Hope through me. Now this really changed things. I don’t look for a pat on the back anymore, just a smile from Jesus, and a happy wife. The frustration and misunderstanding have all but ceased. Only when I catch myself living outside the Holy Spirit’s control do they affect Hope’s and my fellowship together.
Over the years I also noticed that I was doing the same thing with God. I loved God and knew that He loved me [Ephesians 2:4]. I was busy serving, serving, and serving [Exodus 23:25]. Anything and everything the church had to offer I was involved. I wanted God and everyone to see me as ‘SUPERCHRISTIAN’. I wanted to be FASTER THAN A SPEEDING PRAYER CHAIN, MORE POWERFUL THAN THE HOLY SPIRIT, ABLE TO OBEY ALL GOD’S COMMANDS IN A SINGLE DAY. Once again I was promoting myself and how good I could be. I wanted God and fellow believers to notice me and all I had done for Jesus. Since the problem stemmed from the same roots of self and pride, then the answer would be the same. I needed to realize that what I did for God and the church, ‘the Body of Christ’, was not about me [Colossians 1:18]. Since I love Jesus, then I will obey Him [John 14:21]. It’s out of love that I produce good works for the LORD [Matthew 5:16]. I don’t have to, I want to. I serve my Lord because I love Him. Because I love Jesus I also love His Bride, the church [John 13:35]. I serve the church because I love it. It’s not drudgery; it’s a joy to serve Jesus and His church [2 Corinthians 9:7]. When serving becomes a hardship, then I need to check out my motive for serving. Is it still love or has it slipped back to self and pride? That is why I must walk daily under the Holy Spirit’s control [Luke 9:23]. I must surrender my wants and needs to His leadership and direction [Luke 22:41]. Otherwise there is no evidence of my love for Jesus, or my love for Hope.
The words of the old hymn are true, “Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” I love Jesus therefore I trust Jesus. I trust Jesus therefore I obey Jesus. It’ll work for you, also. Trust me, I’m walking that road of life by the Spirit of God and you can, too.
Hugh Folds, Minister of Education and Youth SPBC