Plank Hunt – My Unforgiving Ways And WW Linkup

Submit to GodI’m excited to get back to the “Plank Hunt” series because it’s so important to realize the power we have to impact our marriage for the better by taking responsibility for our “planks” (see Mt. 7:3-5). I’m sharing today about one of mine that I found in doing the “Character Flaw Inventory.” If you didn’t see or use the inventory in my last post on “Plank Hunting” then you can snag it here.

Ironically, for me, my number one plank is an “Unforgiving and Critical Spirit.” It’s ironic because as a life-coach one of my niches or specialties is helping others to find “forgiveness.” 😉

It really isn’t a surprise to me that I have this “Achilles heel” in my life. I have this doggone tendency to analyze over-analyze everything and everyone. So when someone has hurt me or failed me, I have a tendency to take that hurt too personally—ultimately because my faith in God is too small.

Now, you might want to write me off as irrelevant and/or a hypocrite when it comes to forgiving others because I struggle with this issue. But I would like to make the case that …

That’s because I know what it is like to carry a grudge. I know the slippery slope that leads to hardening my heart. And I’ve come to know many of the lies that a person swallows when he/she lets their heart grow harder and more calloused.

I also think I’m qualified to talk about this because of what God has taught me in my struggles, as well as, what He’s redeemed through my surrender. Yay, God!

Sin Trigger
One of my triggers goes back to my childhood—being left out. That’s because when I was young, I was left out in several critical relationships, which created great insecurities that Satan has capitalized on throughout the years. So whenever I feel as if I am being “left out,” I have a greater tendency to allow bitterness to bubble up from my wounded past.

Btw, I am not saying that having a “trigger” absolves me (or you) of the responsibility to deal with my (your) sin, nor that this is the only trigger that plays into my sin. I just want to point out that there are triggers that we must recognize and acknowledge as we “Plank Hunt.”

1st Step – Surrender
I must keep James 4:7-8 in mind and surrender that temptation to the Lord every time I feel the urge to ruminate on the injustice in the heat of the moment—submitting over and over, if it reemerges.

Whenever I do that I am resisting the devil, who then leaves me to go find someone else who will listen to his lies (See 1 Peter 5:8). So watch out, you might be his next victim!

But the best part is …

That’s when the real healing takes place and Christ strengthens me in my weaknesses (see 2 Cor. 12:9).

2nd Step – Rest in God’s Embrace

Resting in this case is not passive but active because I am engaging my faith by trusting that God’s got this!

3rd Step – Renewing My Mind
There are many ways that I’ve allowed God to renew my mind over the years. I’d like to unpack that a bit more next week, because I don’t want to condense it down into a brief word or two here. Besides, this one action step has positive implications for all types of planks!

So next week, I’ll be sharing the specific ways I renew my mind and then I’ll continue to unpack other “planks” in the “Plank Hunt” series in the weeks that follow.

What’s a “trigger” that contributes to a character flaw or sinful tendency in your life?

 

What’s a lie that you’ve embraced, making you weaker and more vulnerable to a particular sin?

 

If you have a particular “plank” you’d like me to address, please feel free to let me know. I probably won’t be addressing each one, so your request may be what I’ll use to determine the next “plank” in the series.

 


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Wifey Wednesday, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart and Wholehearted Wednesday.

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  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    What a wonderful – and brave – post, Beth. Awesome job! It takes courage to step out an to be the example. I know this will help a lot of people.

    As things have developed, I’m too tired – and in too much sheer physical pain – to think back on the triggers, and to the lies I may have embraced. They were surely there.

    But part of being ‘here’ is that I let go of slights pretty easily. It all boils down to ego, and ego just doesn’t seem that important now.

    Of the lies, there is one I embraced – that of my own importance in a relationship, in a marriage. I’m expendable, and easily replaced; that’s how it should be. Far be it for grief to dominate my wife’s life after I’m dead. She has to move on, and that process has to be in place now.

    This doesn’t diminish my importance to God, by any means. It’s a separate issue. I’m no nihilist concerning my own individual worth to the Almighty. But for the survivor, life and its duties have to be met with one’s full faculties, and that is not served by sentimentality.

    http://www.blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com

    • Thanks, Andrew! I don’t know that I’d classify it as “brave” but I’ll take your kind words as a good sign that I’m going in the right direction. I simply want to be an encourager of this kind of self-evaluation in marriage. For too long I focused solely on my husband’s flaws and couldn’t understand why things were only getting worse!

      I totally understand that you are fighting a battle that takes up all of your energy. And it seems that you have found some really crucial ways to bridge the gap with your dear wife, Barbara anyway. Humility, as you’ve illustrated above, can be demonstrated in more than self-examination or confession. It must be lived to really change us–and that’s what you are doing, my friend.

      I think that Barbara will have a harder time replacing you than you think, Andrew. We all will have a very hard time replacing you. You have a very rare heart that gives and sacrifices in many ways. She will have a hard time finding someone as authentic and sacrificial as you–though I’m sure that will be hard for you to accept.

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  • stasia08

    Thank you for this! I am definitely going to take the character flaw inventory!

    • You’re welcome, Stasia! I do hope that the inventory is helpful to you. We all can use a little help in figuring out our flaws.

  • Mary

    Thank you for always taking us a little deeper so we can understand ourselves in relationship to others. The biggest lie I believe has always revolved around not feeling good enough or being the most qualified for something I am doing. This translates into lacking self worth and self confidence. Now even though those are the lies, God is working with me to combat them daily. I need to choose His truth over the lie which is not easy somedays. Glad to be here and for your weekly linkup. Love you friend!

    • Yes, they are similar to the lies I’ve believed in that they do not trust that God’s the One in you to write that book or minister in a variety of ways. He is the BIG ONE in your life, Mary! So kick that Accuser to the curb! You are going to make a huge difference for the Lord, my friend. I see it already!

  • JosephPote

    Triggers, huh? I have several…more than could be listed in this space. 😉

    One area though, that I have learned to watch out for is being overly tired. When I am rested and alert, it is much easier for me to recognize when I am over-reacting to a situation, and to take corrective action. It is easier for me to realize that the emotion I feel at the moment may not be completely justified…or the person who has offended me may not have intended to.

    When I am overly tired, I lose all perspective. I become almost incapable of seeing a differing viewpoint. Which means it is not unusual for me to go to bed mad as all get out and just sure everyone is out to get me, then wake in the mroning wondering why I was so upset the night before.

    Recognizing this allows me to compensate. If something upsets me when I know I’m overly tired, rather than react I make a conscious decision to lay it aside until morning and see how I feel about it after a night’s rest.

    Still far from a perfect system…but knowing my limitations does help me to better compensate…

    Thank you, Beth, for this Plank Series. It’s a good one! 🙂

    • That’s a great insight about your limits, Joe. I don’t think we take that into consideration for ourselves or others most of the time. So I do hope that extending grace to yourself in those moments helps you to avoid the need to “power through”–which is really “walking through in weakness” more than power. For those of us who struggle with the plank of “Pride” or “Perfectionism” this is especially challenging–recognizing and accepting our limits. I don’t know that you struggle with that, but that’s why I bump up against that “trigger” more times than I like. Thanks so much for joining the conversation. It’s always an encouragement to me … “Rodeo Dad!” 😉

  • Looks like our triggers match each other, Beth. Could we somehow have been separated at birth?

    ;-}

    • I wouldn’t doubt it, Linda! I don’t know if I told you or not, but I did Ancestry.com and discovered that Gary and I are very distant cousins! Oh my! We share the same grandfather, Moses White, who lived in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s. Once I found that out, it sure explained a lot of things! But our poor boys! They’re getting it from both sides. Eek! Thanks for coming by, “long-lost sister!”

  • Pat And Candy

    Ugh…THIS post hit a little too close to home…
    OK, one plank I struggle with is the “but HE…” plank, where I rationalize something I do by pointing out a corresponding issue my hubby has (does that make sense?) (and maybe that’s not a plank…).
    Anyway, thank you so much for the post, even if it IS a little uncomfortable for me… 😉
    AND thanks for stopping by Coffee & Conversation today – I always look forward to your posts AND your comments <3!

    • The inventory I developed is mostly based upon the sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-20, so it’s not an exhaustive inventory, Pat (or Candy). I’d like to expand it and include some other “planks” like you just mentioned. If you do the inventory, it probably would show up under “Unforgiving/Critical” but I do think “blaming” is so prevalent and important that it deserves a category all its own! I hope you don’t feel bad, because I’m right there with you though! I tend to blame too much and God is teaching me to point that finger back at myself first and foremost! Thanks for your encouragement, my friend! I always love seeing you in the comments and linkup!

      • Pat And Candy

        Just printed out a copy of the inventory and will do it in the car on the way up to my daughter’s wedding!

        I’ll “report back” next week…
        Thanks for putting it together. What a blessing for our marriages!
        ~Pat

  • foodfashionandflow

    What a great post and one that I can relate to. The inventory is so helpful and I have so many triggers, but God is faithful for creating a clean heart and giving us the mind of Christ.

  • Very nice post!

    I have learnt James 7-10 (at least 7, 8a and 10) and it’s very nice to hold on to.

    Surrendering the /temptation/ to the Lord is an interesting idea. That’s a bit what it feels like when I notice a temptation rear up and watch myself steer away from it. Thinking of it like that explicitly will help.

    I love the idea that if I step towards God, he will return the favour and step towards me.

    For me the biggest trigger at the moment is hearing a particular pair of high heels in the car park outside the office LOL but I’m working on it.

    More a worry than a lie perhaps but the feeling that what I’m currently doing is not the most interesting or important thing – so I fret that I should be doing something else – so that breaks down my concentration and attention – and when attention is drifting it’s “easy” for it to “drift” towards temptations.

    David

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