Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Trading Death for Life

If I complain about a problem at least I am attempting to control the problem by voicing my opinion. Maybe I can bring said problem into my realm of control and fix it there.  This is my most used strategy for fixing problems.  If I do not like something, well then, I either change it or move myself away from it. Control. That is my pet sin.  I do not even look at the behavior long enough to recognize it, let alone replace it with something else to stop it.  But I keep subconsciously feeding it until I am torn apart by the urge to control every aspect of the issue.  I am so hard-headed that I haven't caught on that I cannot fix any kind problem, no matter how forcefully I fling myself into it. 
My problem that I have been consumed with lately is learning French.  Oh no, Mon Ami, not my learning French.  I am happily stringing sentences together and talking to my African friends.  Not my French, but someone else's. 
How pathetic is that???
I am attempting to control and fix someone else's inability to learn a language. Not my problem to fix, yet not something I can move away from because of the situation.  Chris is still attempting to pronounce words in French while I am sitting there wishing I could either run away screaming or tattoo the phonetic spelling onto his face.  I love grammar. All grammar. I love syntax, phonetics, accent, and pronunciation.  Any language that has ever been spoken, I am fascinated by picking apart and building sentences and conversation.  I love to talk. I love to learn more ways to talk and communicate.  Chris really struggles with the new language.  If anyone has ever seen me play a game of baseball, that a physical manifestation of how fluidly Chris speaks French. Here is how I am feeling about this today.
In Roman times, if you were depraved enough to murder someone, you would have a most grisly punishment.  No bodily harm would come to you, technically...
The murderer would have the dead body of the person that they killed tied to their back.  Imagine the stink, the disease, or the certain ostracism.  The thought alone would make me never want to squish a spider to avoid having anything dead tied to me.
I feel like I have a dead, stinking problem tied to my back.  I feel like I am walking around in anguish because of the rotting sin that I have committed.
Okay, so I am being dramatic, but my point is, I caused the yuckiness to be in my own life!!!!
The rotting corpse is no Chris, don't get me wrong.  Not everyone has the same passion for talking like I do.  Chris is learning at the pace that he needs.
The dead, rotting corpse is my desperate need for control.  I tied it to my own back. 
I carry around the anxiety of needing to help him learn at my quick pace.  I only need to practice patience with him, not clever teaching strategies to bring him to enlightenment of all things French.
The feeling of learning patience is painful, but not anywhere near as destructive as my anxious need to control tied to my body.   Proverbs 15:18 shines a little light on my French class problem.  "A hot tempered person stirs up conflict, but one who is patient calms a quarrel."  My patience, if practiced will keep me from struggling with Chris over French.  "Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick tempered displays folly."  How good is it to trade in anxiety of control for wisdom? Awesome!
It wont be easy.  The problem will still exist while I fight it.  Sue Metcalf, a friend of mine, gave me a book by David Crowder titled, Praise Habit.  This book is humorous and insightful.  The main idea is that God is in all things and glorified by all things.  We as the creation are made to praise the creator, but we fall short because of sin and have an ugly habit of praising the creation.  David talks about his own journey to finding a way to praise God in every situation.  This is a lovely book, but if I am not willing to put it into practice in my life it is totally useless to me.  The idea here is that  praise is an action as well as a song.  My action of praise will be to kill the anxiety because my control is my pride and love Chris with patience.  "The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride." Ecclesiastes 7:8. 
Pride was the beginning and patience is the end.  Good trade-up, huh?
I prayed to God this morning to show me some kind of comfort from this problem.
Here is my answer. His word is alive and comforting me.
His word is alive in scripture.  His word is also alive because I am living out His word.


  1. It is humbling to see so much wisdom in someone as young as you, Sarah. How wise that you recognize your own contribution in this frustration. I had to go to counseling with my husband to have my problems of trying to control his behavior pointed out to me. I always said to myself that I was just trying to help him improve himself! - After all, with this "two becoming one" thing, isn't he and his actions a part of myself!?! But really the problem was I saw flaws that needed to be fixed & I was trying to get him to change to please me. And that is certainly not the way a wife is suppose to "help" a husband.
    John 21:22 helps me: Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” But I read it like a fill-in-the-blank sentence: Jesus answered, " If I want him to _________, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
    It helps me remember that God is working in my husband (and everyone else) just like He is working in me. I know God has a plan for my husband & part of that plan is for me to be his wife. So that is all I need to know - just be a wife! Not a leader, a teacher, a constant reminder of his short-comings - so many things NOT to be. It is when I try to be those things that troubles start.
    Of course you are not a wife, but a good friend. If you didn't care so much about Chris this wouldn't bother you so much! He is important to you, and that is a wonderful thing! Just don't let anything distract you from doing what God has sent you to do. He has big plans for you! <3

  2. Hiya, honey! So glad to find your blog, will comtinue praying for you, and look forward to lots of pics and stories!