“When you’re awake at 4am and the chorus from “Get Low” by @liljon starts to plague your mind which you then combat with “Redeemer” by @nicolecmullenofficial – it’s time to get out of bed and exercise your thoughts. I can’t make this up!
I did just that and I feel so refreshed. The devotional I read this morning encouraged me to pray prayers that God can answer (that’s why we pray, isn’t it?). Instead of just listing requests, I should ask God “what can I do for You?” He wants to work with me and through me to answer all of my prayers and that’s pretty cool! It’s a true reality check. I know I am equipped to work alongside of God to answer my own prayers, but I say “amen” and expect a guardian angel to do the work…”
Talk about your past coming back to haunt you, did I really think that was a catchy song? LOL. In all seriousness, I wake up in the early morning hours pretty often, at least more than I’d like to. Usually if I get out of bed it’s to raid the refrigerator and scroll through Instagram, but this morning I had so many thoughts rolling in my head that I knew I’d better serve myself by taking the initiative to do a devotional and spend some time in prayer and writing. After reading the short and sweet devotional for today (from Joyce Meyer’s ‘Trusting God Day by Day’) I started my prayer with “God, what can I do for you today? I apologize that at times I ask for so much, yet offer so little.”
I began to lift up my marriage – NOT because it’s in trouble, but because it’s one of the best marriages I’ve ever witnessed! I know, I know… what a bold and braggadocios statement for someone to make. Let me explain: I am a very spiritual person. If I couldn’t openly talk about God to my husband, if my husband didn’t regard God as the head of our marriage, if my husband and I couldn’t sit down and pray together – I wouldn’t make that statement. The reality is that I can do all of those things, we do believe those things, and it isn’t only on Sundays or before dinnertime. For me, this is one of the best marriages I can imagine. Can Chris and I improve and grow? Oh my gosh, let me tell you. YES. YES WE CAN. Which is another reason I pray for my marriage even when things are good. Because you know what, our relationship can always be better. Good will always be great’s biggest enemy.
As I finished up writing my early morning shout-out to God I felt the need to do some sort of exercise that helped me understand why I just prayed what I did. If I’m going to be serious about asking God “what can I do” to answer my own prayers I definitely need to spend a little more time investigating my emotions and intentions when it comes to what I’m asking. If you have a prayer in your heart or one that you’ve already written down today I encourage you to grab a blank piece of paper and write this down across the top of it:
“I LIKE I LOVE I DISLIKE”
I started with aspects that I like, love, and dislike when it comes to my relationship with my husband. I chose two positives and one negative because this isn’t supposed to turn into a list of complaints. My ‘dislikes’ are not the most prominent thing in my marriage and even though at times I like to pretend they are, I have to be more honest with myself if I am expecting true breakthrough. Even as I was writing these things down I had to admit that I’m sure my husband feels the same way and I don’t always treat him the ways I like or love; more importantly, the way he likes and loves. Marriage takes two sinful individuals giving 100% of their best and it’s not easy.
When your marriage/relationship is fully charged the battery life should read 200%.
[Ask yourself honestly: what percentage am I adding to my relationship’s battery life?]
So my first one was
I like: when you show me off.
I love: when you put me first (priority).
I dislike: feeling like I’m nothing new.
I think that’s pretty valid, right? Chris and I have only been married for almost 4-years, but dang, we’ve known each other for fifteen. I’m pregnant for the first time and I know there are women out there looking fresh and much easier to deal with, but I want to feel new. I want to feel brand new in my husband’s eyes. When I wrote this down I visualized my husband greeting me after work every day. Wow, he does treat me new in those moments. If that’s the only time of the day he does it, I need to be all there. I need to stop bringing a work-day attitude in the door with me and absorb that moment where my husband is trying to make me feel brand new. DULY NOTED.
The next one I wrote was regarding tones, words, and attitude. Nothing new there. Ladies, we all love to dish that “I am your WIFE!” *hand aggressively placed on hip* attitude but we cannot believe when our husband serves it back at us. To save my ego a little I wrote what I felt Chris’ attitude reflects at times: “unhappiness/meanness”. I am never trying to be mean or unhappy with my attitude! My attitude is CUTE. Oh Lord, what does my attitude reflect? Entitlement, total disregard, bossiness… yikes! Let me move on.
After one more regarding my relationship I moved on to my personal likes, loves, and dislikes! I’ve found that when I struggled the most in life was when I understood myself the least. I didn’t know why I did what I did or why I felt certain ways and I didn’t even care. That has changed SO much and it’s helped me tremendously. It’s a really good way to follow up your relationship exercise, too. How can I expect my spouse to understand these dislikes of mine if I don’t even take the time to understand myself? Our spouses did not marry us to read our minds! Take the time to study your emotions and intentions and then speak up out of LOVE! You’re still on the same team even if he doesn’t always know the game-plan and likewise for you. If your husband is trying to open up about something, hear him out first, absorb it, and talk about it later. Way later. A day later. Let it marinade.
I like: feeling good.
I love: being clean.
I dislike: being the only one.
Simple enough. I’m giving birth to a son in a couple of months and let me just have it in writing that I do love cleanliness even if my house is trashed, my hair is greasy, and my husband is perfectly content when you come over for dinner. Thank you for understanding! (Yes, I did throw that ‘dislike’ back at my husband for no reason at all. You see, I need forgiveness just as much as he does.)
I’ll do one more and then SERIOUSLY the rest are for you to do.
I like: quiet (ooh), calm (aah), collected (yasss), positive (ok girl), genuine moments (preach).
being living intentionally and striving to be better.
I dislike: losing my grasp/center.
There is something satisfying about writing out personal likes and dislikes. Number one: nobody can tell me any different. You can’t tell me what I like or dislike! Hey, maybe you don’t think I’m a quiet, calm, collected, positive and genuine person perpetuating those kinds of moments, but I WOULD LIKE TO BE, OK? Number two: positive reinforcement. We will never become the best version of ourselves if we aren’t actively clearing the path. Writing it down is like weeding a garden. Get. That. Negativity. Out. Of. Here. Number three: just being honest helps. I look at what I wrote for like and love and I smile. It makes me feel good because I believe in it. I look at what I dislike and I’m like “oh, yeah. That happens. I lose it sometimes. I lose my cool completely.” That’s okay – just refer back to what you like and keep moving forward!
Okay and speaking of being honest, I lied. I’m going to do one more because I feel the need to explain myself in the event you are zooming in on these photos and reading all of my answers.
I like: keeping God in my mind/decisions. (Do I always? No.)
I love: knowing I’m doing right by Him.
I dislike: not knowing if my husband likes/loves Godly discipline.
Yeah, that dislike sounds weird, huh? The idea of obedience in today’s world, especially when referring to grown adults, is a bit foreign. “Godly discipline, what year is it? Ew.”
Here’s what I meant: Doubt will creep on in and tell me some CRAZY things. I have, for the most part, released Chris to God. He’s much better off in God’s hands AND I can’t deal with all that mess! As I go about my day intentionally eye-dodging young men and keeping my thoughts pure (literally I fought off Lil Jon with gospel music this morning) do I stop and let doubt tell me that Chris never does the same? Absolutely. And do you know what not only having doubt in my mind but letting it STAY there does? It removes God from my mind and my decisions. I start to treat Chris as though he’s done something wrong. I do not do right by God.
By writing this like, love, and dislike out… I legitimately zeroed in on one of my flaws! If I love keeping God in my mind and doing right by Him sooo much, what’s that got to do with Chris and God’s relationship? I just understood MYSELF better. I pray for my husband’s mind out of FEAR. I ask God to protect his thoughts out of DOUBT. And the question begs itself: do I actually trust my husband? Oooooowww-ch. I can’t take any more self-discovery this morning. THESE PRAYERS WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT MY MARRIAGE FLAWS AND NOT MY OWN.
I asked God “what can I do for you today?” and He asked me “what percentage are you giving your marriage?”
I apologize that at times I ask for so much yet offer so little. Thank you for loving me when I don’t deserve it! I’m going to go make you coffee and breakfast. See you soon 🙂