My Failures, God’s Inroads And WW Linkup!

Competitors

I’ve been studying in 1st Samuel and God has been bringing to my attention all the times that people either wrongly let pride overtake them or rightly let humility be their response to circumstances.

In fact, humility is one area where God has worked in my heart the most to move me away from making messes in my marriage and toward learning the lessons that help me to be a gracious and a less mess-making spouse.

That’s why I’m beginning a new series on the power of humility that I’m calling, “My Failures, God’s Inroads” . . . because I believe every time I admit and accept my failures and repent of my sins, God is able to gain a crucial inroad into my heart for His grace and forgiveness to enter in. Yay, God!

My plan in this series is to share some of the more obvious failures I’ve had in my marriage and how God has used them redemptively and for my and my spouse’s good!

First of all, let me clarify what I believe being humble involves, since I know there is much confusion on the subject . . .

Being humble is not about seeing yourself as inferior to others. It is really not about comparing yourself to other humans in any way. After all, every one of us can find someone who is much worse or much better than we are! That’s not a reliable standard or measuring rod for our view of ourselves.

Humility is also about realizing and accepting how far you fall short of God’s goodness, perfection and power.

It is what you might call having a “sober view” of yourself.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” ~Rom. 12:3

One of the failures that I recall and still sometimes fall back into is a competitive spirit with Gary.

This almost always tripped (still sometimes trips) both of us up big time!

I think we are both driven and perfectionistic people. He was an only child and I was “essentially” an only because I was born so much later than my two older siblings—who are 14 and 9 years my senior. If you know anything about birth order, you know that “onlys” can be a wee bit entitled and selfish! 😉

I also got distracted in the early days by the fact that my hubby would often start us on the competitive merry-go-round. He would throw down the gauntlet and instead of remaining humble and secure in God’s love, I would fearfully and pridefully take up that challenge. #Iwillshowhim!

I did not see the fact that I had just as much of a competitive and critical spirit as my hubby did. And that pride-fueled denial would give us yet another direction and “surface issue” to argue over! #madness

However, God began to reveal to me how very much I was being like my fellow-offender in this and how this kind of attitude was very unlike Him—my humble Lord.

So I stopped comparing myself to my hubby and started comparing myself to God and His grace and humility.

You can imagine how convicting and perspective-shifting that was! And as I did this, God created an inroad that not only convicted me of this offensive sin, but began to develop in me the very humility that I lacked! Imagine that?! 😉

Next week I’ll be sharing about my failure to release control in marriage—the kissing cousin of “competitiveness!” I hope you’ll be back!

What is one of your failures that God has used to strengthen you in your marriage?

 

What is one humble act that you need to practice in your marriage/life this week and beyond?

 


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.

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Messy Marriage

  • Oh my goodness… Yes! So much YES!! And my marriage isn’t the only relationship this applies to for me.

    • Ha! Yes, I could say that this has applied to some other relationships in my life as well, Beckey! Wherever I go, there I am! ha! Thanks for your enthusiastic encouragement, my friend! Glad to have you in the linkup!

  • Hi Beth! I’m so looking forward to your “My Failures, God’s Inroads” series. What am I going to learn now about my rotten self in my marriage? But the time your series is done I’l have to run and hide under my bed! Or maybe I’ll just be a better wife? :o) Have a blessed week and thanks for hosting.

    • You are by no means rotten, Tiffiney! And I know you know that and said that only in jest, but I thought I would say it for you! You are a sweetheart and I’m so glad that you are humble enough to look at yourself when I talk about my own failures. It helps me to not feel so alone in this messiness!

  • Hi Beth!
    Competitiveness is definitely an area in our marriage that was pretty yucky at one point. I’m so thankful we have come so far and it only rears its ugly head once in awhile now! I love my time here each week. You keep me reflecting on our marriage in such a healthy way!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    • I think anyone who is a leader or strong and independent struggles with competitiveness, Lori. I’ll be unpacking that a bit more next week on “control.” I’m so glad that you and your hubby realized this awful tendency and brought it under the Lord’s control. Thanks for your kind words and encouragement, girlfriend! Always glad to have you in this space. 🙂

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    You’ve really helped me understand some of the difficulties in my marriage, Beth. My wife is an eldest child, and while I was an ‘essentially only’ (brother 13 years older) the situation behooved me to be inconspicuous…and to literally live wild in the hills for as long as I could stay out. I got used to being invisible.

    You can imagine the tension – a beloved eldest paired with someone who’d grown up wanting to be a ghost.

    Thank you for illuminating this, Beth. There’s a lot to think about (though perhaps not much time to do anything)…but just knowing is good.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/05/that-little-voice-story-of-viet-nam.html

    • I’m glad that you’ve found MM to be helpful with your marriage, Andrew. I really appreciate your affirmation. And yes, an eldest child and something of an “only” do have challenges. I was like you in many ways, Andrew. Psychologists call it the “Lost Child.” I tended to be overlooked and often tried to hide my pain because I didn’t feel like my parents cared. It makes for a very challenging dynamic when my hubby has abandonment issues. He was always feeling triggered by my “escapist” tactics. I totally understand that your marriage is more in survival mode as you try to survive each day. But I’m glad to give you some food for thought. Hugs to you!

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Beth,
    Humility…sober judgment…not only in my marriage but in all my relationships. I struggle with my perfectionist tendencies. I’m hard on myself and then am hard on my spouse. I’m not perfect so I can’t expect him to be either. Seeing each other through God’s lens of grace is a daily commitment. Looking forward to the series!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Yes, that word “sober” is so often used in relation to drinking, but I love the way God’s word uses it. I must take seriously my attitude about myself. Thinking too highly or too poorly will mean I miss God’s work in and through me. I must look to Him to correct my view. Perfection is another “failure” that I’ll be unpacking soon in this series. Thanks for your transparency, Bev! Always good to hear from you!

  • Beth,
    Once again…seriously, how’d you get into my marriage? My hubby and I are both oldest kids, both stubborn, he’s a little more competitive ;-), but we’re equally prideful, and I ALWAYS rationalize my behavior (at least the poor behavior) by comparing mine to his…
    I have to share this: It’s kind of becoming a joke between me and God. I pray “ok, God, let’s see if You have anything You want me to deal with (via Beth), and…” so far, you/He’s 3 for 3!
    Grrr…. Guess I’m gonna have to tune in to your series!
    Hope to see you over at Coffee and Conversation later, friend :-)!

    • Little do you know, Pat, but I’ve got your home bugged! 😉 No, I just think so many people struggle in these ways. It’s sadly part of the human condition and I’m always so tickled when someone, like you, is humble enough to admit it here in the comments. That means you are more humble than you might realize–which is often an indicator of humility (not knowing how humble you are!). Is anyone else’s head spinning?! Thanks for your encouragement, sweet friend! I truly appreciate it and YOU!

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  • Thanks for clarifying HUMBLE for us, Beth. It doesn’t mean doormat.

    And your authenticity is always refreshing … it shows how far you and Gary have come that you’re able to share your story with truth, grace, and humor.

    I so appreciate you both …

    • Oh no, Linda! You and I know that our Savior was the personification of humility and He was NO doormat! He gave of His life for us. Yes. But doormat? Never! Thanks for your sweet face showing up here in my space, my friend! I do hope that cute coastal house of yours is looking cuter and cuter!

  • Beth, this is such an important subject. There are so many ways pride reared its ugly head in the early years of our marriage (and, of course, still wants to!). Since you’re going to do a series, you might enjoy a little booklet by Stuart Scott entitled “From Pride to Humility.” It is packed with great information on the subject. Blessings on your new series. I look forward to reading more.

    • Yes, it is so important, Donna. As I said in the post, it was where God worked the most in my heart because of its poisonous impact on my marriage and testimony. I’ll have to check that out, Donna. You always know what the best resources are out there, my friend! Thanks for stopping in to encourage me. 🙂

  • Mary

    I have a competitive streak in me that can get a little obnoxious. Now I tend to be most competitive with myself. I appreciate your definition of humility since I’m not sure I have had a clear one before. I do know that I seek humility often in my own life. Next week’s topic of failure to release control will hit home I’m sure. Looking forward to it.

    • You, Mary? I can’t even imagine that! You seem so gentle and kind. However, it makes sense that you would be hard on yourself–competing there and probably never really feeling like you can win! I do hope that you and I both can find that humility that is based in our understanding and fear of the Lord. When we get that straight in our hearts, we won’t be caught up in prideful competition with others or ourselves. Hugs to you, my friend! I’ll be emailing you about our roadtrip in May this week.

      • Mary

        I should clarify that this happened more when I was younger-remember I have four brothers!!! 🙂 But I also am passionate about my college basketball! Enough said!

  • Oh, goodness, I could fill up every comment block with my mistakes. Pride is definitely a huge problem in every marriage, not just mine, right? 🙂 Humility is a virtue that is the foundation for the rest of them. Thanks for this series, Beth. I’m reading “The Blessing of Humility” by Jerry Bridges so this post is right on target.

    • You are a lot like Mary below in my mind, Lisa–gentle and kind. So pride just doesn’t seem to be a very obvious struggle for you. But perhaps, like you said, in your marriage it is showing up in some way. I think our mates often bring out the best and the WORST in us! ha! I’ll have to check out Bridges book. I’ve enjoyed his writing and insight in the past. Thanks for sharing!

  • Beth, my first year of marriage was challenging. I brought in lots of unrealistic expectations for both of us. The book of Galatians set me free. I gave up the foolish activity for trying to sanctify (prove) myself through my works.

    • I’m glad that it only lasted for that first year for you, Debbie. You must be more humble than I was at that time. It took probably 10 years for me to realize my pride problem. But yes, Galatians is a great resource for kicking our pride to the curb. It truly is “foolishness.” Praying for you in your present health crisis. Please keep us informed of how we can pray more specifically as you learn more as well. 🙂

      • Other things came in, like cross country move and unexpected pregnancy, and I moved on to other issues! 🙂

  • Susan

    Oh Beth, I see many marriages that are competitions not relationships. It is a destructive thing. Thank you for the linkup…appreciate you.

    • Yes, Susan. I think it’s a breeding ground for that kind of attitude since we live so close and see our mate’s failures and sins so glaringly. No one else has that kind of insight into the truth of our hearts other than the Lord. It’s a lot of power to wield for humans who are way too weak to manage it! Thanks for your kindness to me, my friend! Always glad to have you here and in the linkup.

  • Raising Samuels

    Hi, Beth! I’m stopping by from Sitting Among Friends Blog Party today. My husband and I did this for probably the first three years we were married. God also humbled me, and in turn it also humbled my husband. God is so good! Thanks so much for a great post, and for hosting! Hope you have a wonderful day 🙂

  • bluecottonmemory

    Your definition of humble is eye-opening: “Humility is also about realizing and accepting how far you fall short of God’s goodness, perfection and power” – you’ve cut out the excess and got the the heart of it! My husband and I are competitive – right now we both have this word game on our phones – and we each try to pass the other; however, when we get stuck, we still help each other. However, one area we don’t compete in is each others strength/gift areas. Our areas are such complete opposites that neither of us step on toes there. I’m looking forward to this series:) I always look forward to your series!

  • Mary Flaherty

    wow, what a humbling post…pun sort of intended. To turn and compare ourselves with God? That’ll humble us real quick! I wouldn’t say I’m so much competitive with Hubbles, but critical, yes.Ugh. I hear stuff come out of my mouth and I say, “Why do I keep doing this?” Marriage, like life, can be so much more relaxing when we just stop all the games! I once heard a joke about how the most humble man in church was given a pin to wear–it said, “Most Humble Man.” But he wore it, so they took it away. Har, har!

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