If you are following along, we’re about halfway through The Respect Dare. If you are keeping up, awesome. If you have already finished, I hope this is giving you and an opportunity to get a bit of a refresher. And if you haven’t started yet, you can still get the book and catch up. Seriously. We’re doing one dare a week on each of the blogs. For some people that might feel like a snails pace, but i know for others, the demands of life make it nice to take it really slow. I just know it can be a challenge to keep the momentum when it’s 40 weeks. No worries, we’ll be here all along the way.
I say that because I know doing the activities or getting the feedback in the dares can be tricky, especially if you have little people who are ALWAYS hungry, ALWAYS sleepy, ALWAYS whiny, ALWAYS needing something.
I live this. Do I know. I think some conversation is going to be a big deal. And so in my mind I have to be so ready and then it’s not a big deal. Or I passively say something thinking it’s not a big deal or needs to be a big conversation and then it is. This is where we need to exercise the power to take every thought captive.
1 Corinthians 10:5b Take every thought captive to obey Christ
Actions can change and that’s the first step. Then our words. And our minds and hearts will be the last to change. So we must take examine our thoughts.
What does this look like?
Last year in my small group, one of the ladies said it took her days to get Dare 17 done. She could not think of 5 things her husband did in a week that she could affirm, at least not on the surface.
So instead she started with a list of the five most obvious things he did in a week. Whether she liked them or not, the five most obvious things went on the list.
She shared that him going to work every day was the easiest and most obvious one to affirm. But after that, she had a hard time.
The next thing on her list was that he came home from work and sat in his chair. She thought about all of the ways this drove her crazy. There was stuff laying around the chair leftover from snacks. He was watching TV. He was not engaged with the kids. He was not helping with dinner.
She searched until she found a positive. He had a really stressful job. He worked long and hard hours, with lots of driving. So she took her thoughts captive and chose to see the positive – he knew what he needed at the end of the day, and after he had some time to himself, he did engage with the kids and help with dishes. He was able to relax in a way that refreshed him. So she clung to that as she made her list.
She did this three more times.
She decided to see what was true. What was admirable about her husband.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
I think we can look at a situation based on a spectrum.
In this situation, we have the ability at one end of the spectrum to look at his actions and judge his motives negatively. To say that he didn’t care about the kids, dinner, her, the house, or anything and let that grow into a huge resentment. The devil loves this by the way. He loves to worm his way in with thoughts like this and make us believe that we know someone else’s motives. So we fume. We yell. We nag. We grow more resentment and discontentment.
At the other end of the spectrum we have the ability to become a doormat. To let this behavior continue without making any changes in ourselves. To just take it and live with it. We could wear a smile on her face but get smaller and smaller inside.
But somewhere in the middle, and the middle looks differently in any marriage, we have the ability to change our attitude and our perception. We can find good in the situation and believe it is true. This may lead us to an ability to truly change our thoughts about it. As this change takes place, a door may open for us to ask for some more help. The change in hour heart may cause our husband to take notice and spur him on to start a conversation with us. The change will have an impact on our children that we may not see for years.
So as you complete Dare 17, it will be easier for some of you than for others, really focus on the only part you can control – your attitude. You, me – we can choose to see good even when it’s hard. And whatever we pay attention to grows.
I’d love for you to share in the comments what you were able to find as a positive in your list, even if it wasn’t obvious at first. Maybe your husband always goes for a run after work and it drives you crazy because it’s another hour he’s not home and you don’t get that alone time. Could you change your thinking to say “He’s taking care of himself to be around longer for our family” and then focus on that when it starts to bug you? What else can you come up with?
This is a fun dare. And I look forward to hearing from you!!
Be sure to check out The Respect Dare blogging team – Nina, author of The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband and Debbie, especially for parents of teens, tweens, and twenty-somethings, and you can subscribe to me in the sidebar. And connect with me on twitter @LeahHeffner and on faceboook on The Respect Dare community page.
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