Debbie painted a very good picture of my part of the dinner debacle but I only wish I had behaved that admirably. It is true that she blindsided me with the issue of my innocent question, but what she failed to say was it took me some time to formulate a godly response. My first response was to defend my position (after all, being right is the most important thing here, right?). That is something I am still working on. If I had been more intuitive I would have recognized that there is something more than chicken skin causing this conflict.
The second thing that would have been more God honoring, is to surrender my need to be “right”, knowing that to win at the expense of my wife is still a loss. Don’t get me wrong, I know God is doing a work in me because years ago the little 30 minutes of drama could have easily drug on for hours or days. See, the real issue with Debbie and me is the fact that we haven’t trained ourselves how to make our first response the one that God would have us do. We are still operating out of years of poor habits in marital communication that we need to change.
There is almost always more to the situation than first meets the eye. Chicken skin wasn’t the problem; Debbie is still trying to come to terms with our current lifestyle. I believe God has our family in a time of preparation that doesn’t have her running in forty directions. That is new for her. She believes that if she isn’t running here and there then she is being lazy and there is no way I could be happy with her if she hasn’t “proven” her self-worth. I am trying desperately to break this destructive mindset by affirming her identity in our Savior and I believe we have made huge inroads but we haven’t trained our responses yet.
Satan is very cunning on when and how to attack. He knows when we are stressed and weak and he knows what weapons work most effectively. The example that Jesus shows us in Scripture is to fight the enemy’s lies with Truth. That Truth is always found in Scripture and when we have armed ourselves accordingly, the enemy has no power over us. I want desperately for our family to know how to wield God’s weapons effectively and I honestly am very encouraged by my kids. They have a real advantage on their mom and dad because they don’t have to break so many bad habits to pick up the good habits. A golf instructor would much rather work with a beginner than someone that has been playing for years but doing everything wrong because, not only does the more experienced golfer have to learn these proper techniques, but he has to unlearn the improper techniques first.
I am a firm believer that going to God as a first response is influenced by our belief in what works effectively. Debbie and I have operated in preset rules of engagement that haven’t always included God’s directives. We have learned thru years of dysfunction how to survive the only way we know how. God has a plan that is so much better than what we have come up with. His ways are there for our benefit so that our life may be a testimony that glorifies Him. Let me say that another way, God’s will in our life allows us to live life abundantly. It is not His desire to have us floundering in our old ways but to live life to the fullest in a way that glorifies His name.
God almost always gives us an option out. Debbie and I both could have immediately gone to Him and averted the drama. When Debbie spoke of the Holy Spirit prompting her to turn to Him, He is trying to save us the pain and frustration we are so bent on experiencing but when we truly believe in our heart, not just our head, that He is for us and His ways are better than ours, we will start choosing to follow Him first. He says, “My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow me.” I want to recognize His voice but it takes a conviction on my part to continue to pursue that path. I am glad Scripture talks about my progress and not my perfection because it would be easy to dwell on my shortcomings and not what a wonderful Counselor we have in Christ.
So my prayer is to avert the situation that may arise if I ever mention the “chicken skin” again. Let’s be honest though, we have all pulled off some of the skin as our personal sampler so if it’s that tasty by itself, it couldn’t hurt to “soup” up the soup with a little skin. Pardon the pun.