At Christmas my sons opened their “big gift”: a 996-piece King’s castle Lego set, which my husband and I just knew they’d do flips over.
After the gift was stripped of it’s red and green covering, and contents exposed, it became obvious that our middle child was far less excited about his gift than we had anticipated.
Come to find out he had his heart set on a different set.
“Awww man”, my usually thankful 5-year-old exclaimed, “I wanted Lego Chima.”
My husband and I, though a bit put off by his response, patiently reminded him that though it was not exactly what he expected, the Lego set was equally awesome.
He came around.
And after he stopped thinking about what he did not receive, he was able to realize the awesomeness that was his.
I think we all do the same with God. At least I do.
There is an epidemic of perceived scarcity in this country that makes us believe that what we have is not enough.
So we buy more. And we buy bigger. And we buy better.
We spend money we don’t have to impress people who don’t care and pray that God will “bless us” when He clearly already has.
Of the bigger house.
That better car.
A promotion that will take us to that standard of living we think we need and/or deserve.
Begging and pleading for “the blessing” to come…but what if it already has?
Maybe we are already living in it.
Maybe it simply looks differently than we imagined.
So what if our loft isn’t the spacious 4-bedroom house? It’s a roof over our head; a place of warmth, comfort and love.
So what if there isn’t any “fluff” at the end of our budget each month? The bills are paid; all our needs, met.
So what if my thrift-store closet doesn’t look like my Pinterest board? The fact of the matter is that I have more clothes than the majority of people the world.
Are these provisions any less miraculous? Should I be any less thankful?
Do I put off God with my complaints? Probably so. But, even still, He’s there- my patient Father, gently reminding me of the gifts I already possess.
I’m beginning to stop praying for “the blessing” and realize that I am already blessed; I’m practicing the phrase, “I have enough.”
I fight discontentment with thankfulness and find peace in reminding myself that Christ is enough for my every need.
And as my heart shifts from wishful to thankful, like my son, I am able to see the awesomeness that is already mine.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8
Last year, on my 7th anniversary, I blogged about 5 things I’d learned after six years of marriage.
Well, let me just say that it’s been quite a year. Such a year, in fact, that this blog will tackle 5 more things I’ve learned in this past year alone.
So here are a few nuggets of wisdom from my 7th year of marriage- maybe some of it will help you along your journey, too…
1- Anger is a secondary emotion. You’ve got to dig deeper to get to the root.
In the fall I read an incredible, thought-provoking book called Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown. This book was a game-changer for me. The book discusses vulnerability, and its affect on the way we live our lives (or don’t.)
As often happens, one little line hooked me and wouldn’t let me go. It said anger “…is a secondary emotion”.
I had to stop for a while and think on that. I decided she might be right (after all- she is an expert), and determined the next time I was feeling angry that I would stop to test this theory.
Inevitably- she was right. This will sound corny, but as I made it a habit to stop and ask, “What am I really feeling?”, I began to uncover other, deep-seated feelings of rejection, exhaustion and fear that I needed to deal with.
And do you know what? Fights resolve a whole lot faster when you get to the real, root issues. Deep, vulnerable conversations were had, avoiding what I would estimate to be at least seventy-two “merry-go-round” fights that would have led to nothing but more resentment (thank you, Brené Brown).
This leads right into my second lesson…
2- Bare-naked honesty is the best policy
Sarcasm is in abundance these days.
Something simple but powerful I realized this year is that sarcasm is just truth wrapped in humor. It’s a way to take a stab at someone and as long as it’s paired with a sense of “just kidding”, we get away with it.
This year I have begun (it’s a process, people) to embrace the awkwardness of bare-naked honesty. Truthful statements. Straight-forward requests.
If I’m upset- I say it.
If I need something- I make it known.
No beating around the bush. No secret stabs. Just vulnerable (there’s that word again), bare-naked honesty.
Not “Would it kill you to take out the trash?”, but, “Honey, I’m feeling overwhelmed and it would really help me if you took out the trash.”
Save everyone the frustration of miscommunication by making straightforward, honest statements.
3- Marriage isn’t meant to be 50/50- but 100/100
Every marriage has seasons. With all of the change in our family the past year, we endured several. When I reflect back, do you know what stands out to me the most about the best seasons?
They weren’t when things were easiest.
They weren’t when we were religious about protecting our date nights.
They weren’t the times he got a wild hair and brought me home some flowers or wrote a thoughtful card.
No- the best seasons were when I was giving 100%.
(Notice I said I?)
I took an extra minute to text, “I’m so proud of you” or “You’re the best!”
I cooked his favorite meal.
I kept the kids quiet and busy so he could get some much-needed rest.
(This is not to brag about myself. In fact, I think if anything else it reveals just how imperfect and selfish and human I am most of the time.)
These things did not come naturally at first, but the more I focused on meeting my husband’s needs, the less I focused on getting mine met. More selflessness meant less discontentment. Meanwhile as I was meeting his needs he was more enthusiastic about going the extra mile in return.
Marriage is best when you are focused on out-serving one another.
4- He doesn’t see what I see.
My husband doesn’t see all the faults and imperfections I see when I look in the mirror.
This lesson- yeah, it was a BIG deal.
It may seem simple and stupid, but the revelation hit one night while sitting on the couch. I was massaging my husband’s hands (see lesson #3) when I noticed a blemish. When I asked him about it he said, “Oh yeah- that’s been there for a long time.”
I don’t know WHY, but it was in that instance that I realized something: If I didn’t notice that, he probably really, honestly doesn’t notice all of the little imperfections on me either!
After more conversation I began to realize that I’m way more critical of myself than my husband will ever be. As it turns out, my husband hasn’t been lying or exaggerating all along…
He really does think I’m beautiful.
He really does think my body is perfect.
He really does believe I’m “sexy.”
My husband isn’t lying.
Ladies, your husband isn’t either.
So let’s stop bringing up all of our perceived faults and flaws, and justflaunt it, girls.
5- Go AWAY.
It had been nearly three years since Craig and I enjoyed a vacation sans kids. So when some friends approached us about taking a cruise, we were “all aboard” as you could say…
I’m not going to lie, though- It was tough.
As excited as I was about the time alone, I was equally anxious about leaving my kids- most especially my one-year-old.
But do you know what? My kids had the week of their life. They got to spend time with Pap and Nana who love them to pieces. They had a vacation of their own and, in the end, I think it made us all appreciate each other a little more.
Meanwhile, my husband and I were like teenagers again- just hanging out, talking and having the time of our lives.
After this experience, we’ll definitely be making a greater effort to get away on a more regular basis, even just for a few days.
Having fun together is such an important key to a good marriage- but we tend to move away from that truth and forget about it over time. It’s important to get away and be reminded of the many reasons why you fell in love in the first place.
Well, that’s a wrap, folks.
I just turned thirty this week and it seems the older I get the wiser I become, so you can look forward to next year’s blog:
“80 Things I Learned in My 8th Year of Marriage”
Oh- and Happy 8th Anniversary to the love of my life. Craig- I love being on this journey with you!
A little about me...
Hi, I'm Katie!
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.
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