Monday, January 6, 2014

My Opinion Is...

Beth Moore says that sometimes when we are really struggling with something or someone, that it might be a good idea to take a look at the bigger picture. Like what the struggle represents.

As in, could this struggle really have more to do with me and God than it has to do with me and the other person?

I have a hard time when the people in my life start wanting their opinion to mean as much to me as my own does. That sounds way more harsh than I mean it, I think. Of course they can have their opinion. Everyone does, and I encourage all people to learn to think for themselves. But when someones opinion actually affects my life, well, sometimes it makes me unhappy. I want to do what I want to do. What I think is best. And honestly, it's not like I'm going out, causing trouble and rabble-rousing. I have really good intentions.

It's just that I want to paint the cabinets black and he wants them to stay the same. 

I don't appreciate his opinion sometimes.  Can I confess something to you? I don't even want him to have one.  He knows this about me, and I don't think he will be shocked to read it in black and white. It frustrates me to no end when he will not agree with me. To the point that I might stew about it, I might get pushy--I might even try to manipulate the situation just to get what I want. Especially when it is something I feel passionately about. Like tattoos and home decor and pets. 

But as my sister reminded me, there is this one, tiny little word that can have a huge impact on a marriage

Respect. He deserves it. 

And sometimes, I do not want to give it. 

He makes me mad when he won't give in to what I want just agree with me because I know my idea is a good one/that it will work out well/he just doesn't know how good it will be yet (or until he sees it). Or when he would prefer that I not do something--even if it only involves my own person (but once "two become one"--and those two have kids, when does anything really only involve just you without having some sort of impact on someone else?). 

He wants me to listen to him. To respect his opinion. Even when I don't agree. 

So does God. 

He wants my time. I don't think I have much to spare. He wants my money. But I have other ideas that don't involve giving or tithing. He wants me to worship freely, but I'm not a raise-my-hands-in-church kind of gal. 

He wants me to respect my husband.

God has great ideas. He has laid them out for me in His Word. Step by step. But the struggle comes in when He asks me to put His will above my own. When He starts getting too personal, when He wants to change me, when He wants to do something different from the way I do my own life. 

When He starts telling me His opinion. 

Ahem. My life. Not yours. Thank you. Respectfully, of course. Amen. 

Could it be that relationships begin to break down when the people involved simply stop caring what the other person thinks? That they stop caring about respect and only look at the "me" instead of the "we"? That they take understanding out of the equation? 

That they get cute wrist tattoos even when their husband says "please, I'd prefer you not". 

That they paint the cabinets in the basement black even when their husband says "please, I don't want to mess them up". 

That they hear the phrase "Christ died for you" and simply shrug their shoulders at the words because the passion and respect and understanding has all but evaporated from their lives, leaving in their place a blase attitude about His sacrifice?

"Christ died for you".  Those are beautiful words, and should cause more of a reaction in me than a "uh-huh" and a casual flick of the hair. And moreover, it should cause me to want to give Him my respect, to listen to His opinion. To put His will above my own. 

Way back in  middle school, my youth group went to a summer camp that involved the biggest food/shaving cream/unknown substance fight you've ever seen. And because I didn't bring any clothes so I could participate in the fight, I put on the brand new, white summer camp teeshirt I had just gotten. I didn't want to ruin any of my own clothes, and I guess I thought that my summer camp teeshirt would be one I would just wear around the the house, so who cares if it got a little stained. Or ruined. (You have to understand. Mayo. Ketchup. Mustard. The stuff that ruins clothes.  All involved.)

But when Allie, my youth pastor (and confidant for many years after the teeshirt incident) saw me in my brand new, white summer camp teeshirt, preparing to go get splattered with substances of all kind, he was understandably upset and asked me to change. It wasn't that he was upset over my choice in clothing. It was that I had totally disrespected the point of the teeshirt, which was to commemorate summer camp and, more importantly, show the world that I was part of a youth group that loved Jesus, and be proud of it.

I don't want to be just another divorce/unhappy married couple statistic because I cannot (or will not) get my head out of my own behiney. And I don't want to be just a fan of Jesus because I don't trust that His will for me is far better than anything I could ask or imagine. I want to be a follower, a person who is truly committed. A person who can give up the things I want with the understanding that an abundant life awaits.

And that's my opinion.


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