Praying More and Criticizing Less

I’ve often been accused of holding people to too high of a standard. Usually that’s followed up with an apologetic smile and a caveat of  “But as Christians, we SHOULD be held to a higher standard.”

But somehow it feels like a character flaw…holding people to too high of a standard.

Sunday afternoon was a great teaching moment for that. I was highly irritated with my husband for not keeping a promise he made.

It wasn’t a big promise.

If I had reminded him, he would have immediately dropped what he was doing and kept the promise.

But I chose to stay silent and inwardly stew. Because I shouldn’t have to remind him. I keep my word. Why can’t he?

I did mention that the promise wasn’t a BIG one, didn’t I?

Usually when I have a beef with the hubby I speak up. But this time I didn’t. I couldn’t figure out how to do it without sounding like a teacher, a nag, or his mother (For the record, I love his mother. I just don’t believe a wife should play that role in her husband’s life).

So for the first time ever…I decided to be quiet until I could figure out what to do.

I sat at my desk and stewed.  Then I calmed down.  Then I prayed for wisdom and patience.

Then I got an answer to my prayer.

Why aren’t you praying for Rick?

(crickets)

Why aren’t I praying for my husband? The guy works two jobs, volunteers at church, keeps the vehicles running, pays the bills and is gearing up for his next semester of Master’s classes and if that wasn’t enough, he just spent every night this past week and all day Saturday working on the plumbing in our laundry room. The man works an awful lot.

So I prayed for him.  I didn’t pray for God to fix him. I prayed for God to give him the energy he needs for all of the “have to’s” on his list. I prayed for him to stay healthy. I prayed for opportunities for him to take care of himself and to spend time with our boys. I prayed that when challenges came his way, that God would provide Rick with the wisdom he needs.

What was I mad about?

Out of the Mouths of Morons (A Shocking Discovery of What I Actually Believe About God)

I don’t feel like we’re suffering. Something must be wrong.

Those are the words that came flying out of my mouth when my husband came home with everything he purchased to start doing some home improvements. He assured me that he did not use our credit card, our checkbook balance could handle the heft of the purchase and even though I’m not bringing in any income yet…we’re fine.

And then those words came flying out of my mouth.

And then I saw that all too familiar look on my husband’s face that says “Are you crazy?”

Yes, honey. I really think I might be.

I haven’t brought in a steady income in two months, our standard of living has not changed and my husband says we’re fine. He’s either lying to me or our math is wrong.

He’s not lying and our math is accurate.

We have made some significant changes around here since I left my job. No more daycare expenses. Reduced our grocery spending by half and we are not eating out. Those changes pretty much sum up my old paychecks.

But somehow I equated that making changes that would be good, even great, for our family must equate that we are going to…must…suffer for it. God answered a two-year long prayer and I’m concerned that we’re not “paying” for it.

It’s moments like this, when the rubber meets the road, where I come face to face to what I REALLY believe about God.

I falsely believe that if God answered my prayer about staying home with my family, I’d have to pay for it by suffering in some way, shape or form.

(facepalm)

Thankfully there are Bible verses that combat my false beliefs. I just need to take the time to look for them and learn what’s true about God.

Like these verses from Luke  11:

9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

God knows how to give a gift and He gives them without conditions, strings attached, or a price tag. He does it all out of love.

All I need to do is accept.