Living with a house full of women can be pretty exhausting (no offense intended to any of you female readers out there :)). As I mentioned earlier, I live with three on any given day, and five every other weekend. Ages range from thirty-something (you’re welcome Honey :)) down to 22 months. There’s a TON of variance in their needs, wants, hang-ups and attitudes. Don’t get me wrong, a guy can be just as moody, needy and clingy (and don’t you deny that any of the male readers, or you’ll go straight Down There for lying :)). But it’s almost a daily challenge when I speak the male language and they speak female. Which leads me to a rather embarassing “conversation” that Lena and I had this morning…
One of the benefits of my second job is that it’s only two miles from my home. As such, I can sometimes head to the house to give my wife a hand with the morning routines…walking the dog, getting Emma ready for the sitter, etc. This morning was one of those occasions. As I walk in the door, my wife is pretty agitated and asks what I’m doing home. Emma will have a fit if she sees me and has to go (she’s a Daddy’s girl :)). I tell her that I came home to see if she needed any help (since we didn’t get up together, pray together, enjoy some time together…you get the picture). Truth be told, we haven’t been doing much of that lately. If I haven’t said it already, I’ll say it here, “Sometimes life gets in the way.” We get so caught up in the day-to-day activities of our Earthly life that we use that as an excuse for not doing the day-to-day activities we should be doing for our Heavenly life. That being said, our tempers flared a bit as she was getting ready to leave. We had some choice words for one another (thankfully, no swear words were exchanged), and she left for work. About three minutes later, I get a phone call from one of my partners at the Sheriff’s Office. I had my hand-held radio clipped to my belt, and the mic was attached to one of the belt loops. Apparently, as I was bent over putting Emma in her car seat, the mic got keyed. Our colorful conversation was broadcast over the air in a four-county radius! I just had to laugh. What else could I do? Now everyone knows that Lena and I have a normal and healthy marriage. If you don’t get angry with one another some times, where’s the spice? 😀
Fast forward to right now as I write this piece. As I look back on today’s topic, Lena and I should have paid attention to my own words. Guard your attitude…James 1:20-27…”Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” Here’s how I got there…
I last told you that my wife loves it when I wake her up with scripture, and she has no trouble getting out of bed when I do so. On Day 3, I overslept because I was really tired. I didn’t get up early and read the bible. I didn’t have time to meditate like I had begun to do just days before. I did, however, talk to God as I was going about my morning activities. I really felt energized as I got the sleep out of my eyes and started to wake up the family. Once Lena finally got out of bed (remember that ETERNITY thing???), she says to me, “I like the way you woke me up yesterday much better.” I rather sheepishly apologized, and said that I would pray about it, and let her know what God gave me. Neither one of us had any scripture that morning. About ten minutes later, she got a text from one of her best friends with James 1:20 in it. The title was “Guard your attitude today.” I think to myself, “Wow. How much nicer place would the World be if we did that on a daily basis?”
Since Lena was running really late, I took Roni to school. On my way back to pick her and Emma up to take them to work and the sitter respectively, I began talking to God. The first thing I did was apologize to Him for not getting up to talk to Him like I had the last two days. Funny. We apologize to God for these little things, but do we really have to? I mean, He’s God. He knows what we do or don’t do. He knows why we do things or don’t do things. Is He worried about an apology for not getting up when He sent His Son to die on a cross for our sins…murder, idolotry, rape, adultery, etc.? For that matter, what does He know of worry? I felt really small and petty in that moment, so very much human and unworthy.
After I apologized, I started rationalizing. I slept in because I knew I was off and would have time later to pray and meditate on His word. That’s fine if you’re really going to do that. How many of us wouldn’t or haven’t followed through with that thought though? Then I began to think about the days before….Days 1 and 2. I couldn’t wait to see what’s in store for Day 3. I was feeling really good. I wasn’t focused on any physical pain in my knee or fatigue or stress or life. I was focused on God. There’s a good word, focus. “Hmmm…,” I think to myself. “Is that the word I’m supposed to ‘focus’ on for Day 3?” I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t get the tears and tingles that I had become accustomed to receiving.
From focus, I began to think about what’s changed in my life. Our bills were still the same. Our debt was no less, no more. Our jobs hadn’t changed. We still had the same family issues we were trying to deal with. I wanted to make our family stronger. I wanted our kids to see a strong mother and father that love each other dearly behind our love for God. Our attitude had changed. Attitude…our attitude toward each other. Our attitude towards our kids. Our attitude towards God. Guard your attitude towards each other. The text my wife received earlier…”Guard your attitude today.” And it was attached to James 1:20…the scripture I didn’t get because I didn’t get up to spend time with God! Holyghostbumps!!!
“Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in the mirror. You see yourself, walk away and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
Amazing as usual! Isn’t it funny how God’s word always seems to be right on right when you need it? Lena’s anger controlled her attitude, and she forgot what God’s word dictated she do. My reaction to her, and my anger, ended up with harsh words flying right back at her. And I also forgot what God’s word dictated I do. The study guide hit the nail right on the head…
“These verses speak of anger that erupts when our ego is bruised: ‘I am hurt,’ ‘My opinions are not being heard.’ When injustice and sin occur, we should become angry because others are being hurt. But we should not become angry when we fail to win an argument or when we feel offended or neglected. Selfish anger never helps anyone. James advises us to get rid of all that is wrong in our lives and ‘humbly accept’ the salvation message we have received, because it alone can save us. It is important to listen to what God’s Word says, but it is much more important to obey it and to do what it says. We can measure the effectiveness of our bible study time by the effect it has on our behavior and attitudes. Do you put into action what you have studied?”
And this last part is a clincher…
“It seems parodoxical that a law could give us freedom, but God’s law offers us a true reflection of our sinful condition and gives us the opportunity to ask for God’s forgiveness. As Christians, we are saved by God’s grace, and salvation frees us from sin’s control. As believers, we are free to live as God created us to live. Of course, this does not mean that we are free to do as we please. We are now free to obey God.”
I think when I get home this evening, I’m going to apologize to Lena for forgetting what God’s word says I should do in that situation from this morning. She’ll do the same, and all will be well in the Wolfe household.
Now that’s what I call progress. 😀