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Relationship U-Turns
My favourite Bible verses are Hebrews 12:1-2. They come right after Hebrews 11 (isn't it neat how that works :) ?) But that's actually important, because in Hebrews 11 God talks about all the heroes of the faith in the Old Testament.

And then the writer to the Hebrews says this:

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (meaning these Hebrews 11 people), let us throw off every weight, and the sin which so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith."

When I speak, those are often the verses that I frame my message around.

And here's why.

In those verses, do you notice what you're supposed to throw off before you run the race? Two things: weight and sin.

Now that's interesting. Because it means that there are things (weights) that are keeping us from running the race that aren't, in and of themselves, sin.

When I first noticed this it was revolutionary for me. I always thought that if I couldn't feel God, or couldn't get anywhere, it was because there must be some major sin in my life.

But I've started to realize that often it's because we're focusing on the wrong things. They're not sinful; they're just not God's best. Or we're going through life without understanding what God wants for us.

So I think some of those weights are wrong ideas and attitudes we have about our lives: what they're supposed to be about, what our roles are, and what our goals are. It can even be about our motivations in the family: too many of us do things to try to gain love, rather than to give love, simply because of the hurts we've suffered in the past.

We have to see things with God's eyes.

And that's what I tried to do in Chapter 5 of To Love, Honor and Vacuum: Relationship U-Turns.

Heart of the Matter Online has been studying the book this fall, and today we're going to look at how to change our attitudes in our families.

If you don't have the book, or you haven't been following along, don't worry! You'll still get a lot out of this. I promise!

Lori, who has been writing the study, summarizes chapter 5 like this:

In order to grow we have to resist the temptation to blame our unhappiness on others. We will at some point be standing completely alone in front of God explaining our choices and decisions to Him, it’s time for us to take responsibility for these decisions. It’s only in the stripped down honesty with ourselves that we can see where we need to make changes. Romans 14:12 and 2 Corinthians 13:5 are wonderful verses to reference and pray when in this phase of change. (pg 88-92) We MUST face our past choices and come clean in order to stop the pattern of poor choices. Sheila also addresses fears and the importance of examining these fears in order to become completely responsible for our decisions.

*A servant attitude
We all know that as Christians we are called to lives of servant hood, but let’s be honest, it’s not a culturally popular! Being a woman with a servant attitude does not mean that we “lose ourselves in the process.” “That is not Christlike servant hood,” states Sheila. Perhaps the best illustration was that of Jesus, when he washed the feet of His disciples. He was not serving them out of anything but LOVE. Jesus lost nothing by serving them, he instead taught them LOVE. Those men loved and respected Him and it was in his servant hood to them that he taught them.

There is a significant difference between being subservient and having a servant attitude, and that difference lies in mutual respect. In families where mutual respect and responsibility are found, then everyone would adopt a servant attitude, wouldn’t that be a wonderful world? We have to again take responsibility for ourselves. We have to learn to live with this servant attitude that has us doing the things we do for “free.” In a world that tells us that you should be rewarded for “doing,” this can be a trap we fall into. Coming to a place where we model the servant’s heart that Christ had is the path we need to follow. We learn to “give” love rather than “gain” love. (page 100) ...

There's lots more, and you can read it here!

But for today, I want to focus on that idea that there is a difference in subservience and servanthood.

We are called to serve. We are not called to cater to anyone's whim or every desire. If your son comes in the door and puts his backpack on the floor and his coat on a chair and goes and plays Xbox, and you pick up that backpack and pick up that coat, you have taught him to treat you with disrespect. You're moving him further away from Christ, not towards Christ.

We don't do our families any favors if we constantly do things for them they should be doing for themselves. If we allow people to treat us with disrespect--including our husbands--how can they grow as Christians? How can they learn to show love?

This doesn't mean we stop doing things for them. It does mean that we watch our attitudes and theirs.

Often I think as women we serve in order to get people to appreciate us and say thank you. And when that doesn't work, we serve even more, because then SURELY they'll notice, right?

Wrong. The more we do without demanding anything in return the more they will learn to disregard you. That doesn't mean that we should be tyrants. But we need to teach our children to say thank you. We need to show them what cleaning is like so they appreciate it when you do it. We need to talk to our husbands if they ignore our contributions. We can't just keep pouring more and more of ourselves out and expecting others to love us for it. Too often the exact opposite happens: they start thinking of you more like a maid. And that's not good.

Of course we're going to clean. But let's do it with the attitude that we are creating a home of mutual respect and mutual service. And it needs to start with you. Are you ensuring your kids respect you? Are you acting in such a way that your husband does?

And if you're not, and you don't know how, don't worry! To Love, Honor and Vacuum has tons of ideas of how to model respect in your home. And it even addresses the thorny relationships when you feel like your husband doesn't respect you, either.

Here's my book trailer for To Love, Honor and Vacuum:

If you've wanted the book for a while, but you haven't bought it yet, today is a great day! Give yourself a Christmas present.

And I'm going to give you one, too! When you order To Love, Honor and Vacuum through me, I am going to give you, for FREE:

1. Charts, Lists and Checklists to make your cleaning go faster and get your family to help

2. A FREE 45-minute download of a talk I gave on To Love, Honor and Vacuum! It's nearly the cost of the book, and you get it FREE if you order, but only until tomorrow at midnight! Hear this hilarious talk filled with practical advice on how we can change our attitudes, clean faster, and get the kids involved!

And you get all this for $11 + S &H, $3 off what I usually charge!

Thanks for reading! And now share with us, is serving your family a challenge for you? Do you feel like maybe you don't point them to Christ? Or have you figured this one out? Tell me!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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