In Part 1, we talked about
- the Frustrating Quiet Phase
4. SEEKING GOD FIRST – THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST
We must tear out the idols (video) and dig out all of the sin. We allow God to reveal to us more and more sin and we shovel it out. We lay still on the operating table as He does open heart surgery on us and searches the deepest, darkest corners of our souls for every trace of ungodliness and gangrene so that He can remove it.
This is PAINFUL!
Many times, it happens in layers. As we continue to go, God reveals deeper and deeper layers of sin. It is where we begin to DIE TO SELF.
This is where we lay down all of our dreams, plans and goals for our lives at the feet of Jesus and seek only Him, His glory and His will.
This is no quick and easy process. It is us willingly allowing God to completely tear out all of our old sinful nature. The sinful nature does NOT want to die. It is a battle. It is PAINFUL! We dig down to the foundation of Christ and get rid of everything else we think we know about God, about ourselves, about being a Christian, about godly femininity, about godly masculinity, about romantic relationships, about marriage… and we rebuild on the truth of Christ and His Word alone. It is a total regeneration of our hearts, souls and minds. The tearing out of the old sinful stuff comes first. Every idol has to go. “The human heart is an idol factory.” We often don’t even realize what we are doing or what our true motives are. This is a time of deep self introspection so that we can see all of our sin as God sees it.
We must identify our idols, things we have been cherishing more than Christ. Sometimes we can identify them by looking at our deepest fears. Our idols are often the opposite of our greatest fears.
For me, some of my idols were:
- SELF and being in control – I trusted myself, not God. To get rid of this idol felt like I was flinging myself spiritually off of a cliff. It was terrifying to feel like I was giving up control to God. Of course, now I know that I didn’t actually have control. It was all an illusion. The only power I really had was to destroy my fellowship with Christ and my marriage. But I had been living as if I was in charge of my life and circumstances and other people’s lives since I was about 5. I didn’t understand the sovereignty of God. So it was scary giving control to God at first. But trusting anything other than God leads to depression, anxiety, worry and fear. Only when I trust God can I have real peace. It was terrifying to begin to trust God’s sovereignty – but it was the path to the greatest fulfillment and peace I have ever known. I want that for each of you, too!
- feeling loved by Greg – I had to decide to find my contentment in Christ alone, not in my feelings or in Greg or anything else
- my husband – I wanted him to be responsible for my happiness and if I wasn’t happy, it was his fault. I expected him to meet needs for me that only Jesus could meet. I drowned him with my neediness. He could never do enough to satisfy me. Eventually, he stopped trying. When I idolize a person, I become a black hole of need to them. I repel them. Only God can meet these deepest needs of my soul for purpose, value, identity, acceptance, security, feeling loved and only He can give me real joy, peace and contentment.
- romance – I personally had to stop reading all romance novels, even Christian rated G ones, and stop watching romantic movies because they created false expectations in me for what I expected Greg to do and they helped to create a spirit of discontentment in me. (breaking the romance addiction)
Seeking God first requires much TIME in God’s Word, much study and much prayer.
It also requires us to humble ourselves before Him and open our hearts to everything He wants to show us and say to us. It requires my willingness to acknowledge that God has wisdom, I do not.
To tear out all the idols, we must confront our deepest fears. I personally had to write down my deepest fears and then wrestle with whether God is really who He says He is in the Bible or not and is He able to handle my fears or not. And if He is really sovereign, and He were to allow me to go through some of my biggest fears – can I trust Him? Will I be ok?
- what if my husband dies?
- what if one of us got a terminal illness?
- what if one of our children died or got very sick?
- what if we lose our jobs?
- what if the government collapses and the nation is destroyed and we are living in ruins?
- what if I accidentally kill someone when I am filling RXs as a pharmacist or when I am driving?
For you it may be:
- what if I never get married?
- what if the guy I like doesn’t want me?
- what if he doesn’t ask me to marry him soon enough?
- what if one of us dies before we can get married?
- what if I can’t have children?
- what if I end up alone and unloved my whole life?
- what if I choose the wrong career?
- what if people get to know the real me and they reject me?
- what if I can’t get a decent job and can’t afford to live on my own?
- what if I get really hurt or sick?
- what if someone I love gets really sick or dies?
- what if I marry the man I love and he turns out to be someone I can’t respect?
- what if I never find a man to marry and stay single my whole life?
Is God big enough and sovereign enough that He can take care of me even if He allows one or more of these things to happen?
These are questions we each must wrestle with and decide if God is who He says He is or not and if we believe His promises to us or not.
Then, we submit ourselves fully to Christ as Lord. We get to the place where we can say sincerely about every part of our lives, “Not my will but Yours be done, Lord!”
5. GIVING HIM SPACE (if you are in a relationship right now with a man)
Giving our men more space is not usually a permanent phase in some ways. It is possible it could be a long term thing if you have really been smothering and controlling and clingy, but once your man begins to approach you and close that gap – then it is time to find a new balance and level of connection. Remember, I am assuming you are only dating a godly man who sincerely desires to submit to Christ first in his life and who wants to obey and honor God in everything.
- The permanent part is that we don’t make them (or anyone else) into idols again – as soon as we notice we are feeling disappointed in them, we check our motives to be sure we are only seeking our contentment in Christ, not in our husbands.
At first, we may give a little “too much space” – but that is ok. It is important for us to do this, in my view, as we spend more time with God and try to learn and figure out how to stop disrespect and control and how to begin to be respectful and learn to be godly followers.
Giving more space is part of tearing out the idols of “trying to control our men,” “wanting to feel loved” and “wanting them to meet the needs we have that only Christ can meet” as well as our idols of “romance.”
If you had been smothering your guy, constantly calling/texting/emailing, expecting him to call/text/email/pursue you… if you have been pursuing him constantly and are being rejected often – then you may need to give him space so that he can breathe and begin to hear God’s voice himself again and so that you can be sure he has the freedom to make his own decisions.
6. FEELING TOTALLY OVERWHELMED
Eventually, every woman feels overwhelmed in this process – not just once – but many times. This can happen at any point along the way.
When you feel this way. It is actually a good thing! It usually means that
- it is a flag that you are attempting to do this in your own strength
- you may be allowing perfectionism to take over (that is an idol in and of itself, too!)
- you may be trying to tackle too much at once – there is only so much you can learn and change at one time usually
- you NEED Christ to be able to do this!!!!!! Discouragement, discontentment and frustration are signals to set our eyes back on Jesus.
So, it’s time to slow down, breathe, and focus on Jesus.
- You are going to basically have to “eat an elephant” on this journey. You can’t do it all in one day or one week or one month.
- Absorb what you can.
- Allow God to change you.
- Take a nap if you are exhausted
- Take a break from studying about godly femininity for a few days or a week or two as you regroup, but continue with Bible study and prayer and submitting fully to Christ.
- Focus on a few things at a time. If possible, you can ask your man for the 3 biggest things he’d like you to stop doing and the 3 biggest things he’d like you to start doing. Don’t argue. Don’t justify yourself or explain why you were doing what you were doing before. Thank him for his wisdom and insights and then get to work focusing on those things. He may need a few days to think about those things, that is ok. If he can’t verbalize what he needs, you can look at the lists at the top of my home page about what is disrespectful and respectful and begin to tackle those.
- If you are doing this in your own strength or you find ungodly motives or idols, repent and fix your eyes back on Christ