This year my husband has been on a journey to understand the significance of remembering the Sabbath day. He, along with some others from our church, are in the midst of a two-year program which teaches and equips a person to develop the spiritual discipline of choosing a day of rest.
This program requires quarterly retreats, weekly homework, and supplemental reading. Jason, who strives to do everything well, has battled discouragement about not establishing a weekly Sabbath. And while I observed his frustration, I was doing nothing to help him achieve his goal. Until I read this in his journal:
My life is incredibly “noisy”and I have no margin for silence or solitude at all. Even my ‘down times’ are filled with, “Daddy, daddy, can you play with me? Daddy, daddy, will you color with me? etc.” or even worse: “Daddy, Daddy, he stole my crayon and stepped on my foot!” My home life is constantly noisy. Constantly.
I found that the only silence & solitude moments that I have already integrated into my routines is when I’m on my tractor, mowing the grass. Oddly enough, it’s a loud tractor… but I can sit out there for hours in a silent posture. I really do feel some strong communication with the Lord during those times. No hurries. Few distractions. Alone with God.
How can I make that posture happen more regularly in my life? I don’t know how to do with without leaving my house and family completely. Honestly. I just can’t do it at home in this season of life. And that’s a struggle for me.
His words stung even though they are truthful. I don’t want our family to be his reason for not being able to succeed in a spiritual area. The Lord prompted me to offer Jason time to devote to a Sabbath. Out of obedience (but not without a chip on my shoulder), I began scheduling a weekly Sabbath for him on our family calendar. For the past three months, he has had one day a week to spend with the Lord intentionally. And that sounds great on paper, but the truth is I have not been honoring God in my attitude.
My motives were self-serving.
I was hoping he would reciprocate. If I’m giving him one day “off” shouldn’t he also offer to provide me with a day of rest?
Because my selfish motives are going unmet, I inwardly complain about his weekly meetings with the Lord. I am my husband’s helper, so spiritually aiding him is part of the job description. Jason is God’s ordained leader of our family, and if he is strengthening his connection with the Lord, it will positively impact our whole family. But that will only happen if I keep my motives in check.
He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. ~1 Corinthians 4:5
When selfish gain silently motivates me, my actions displease the Lord. Walking in true obedience is doing what the Lord asks with the right attitude and for the right reasons. Looking at life through a “what-can-I-get-out-of-it” lens prevents me from freely loving others. Jesus never once experienced motives that didn’t mirror the heart of God.
When my motives are pure, I can love Jason in a way that reflects the Lord’s love. If I’m being transformed into the image of Christ, the reason for anything I do can be traced back to Him. Providing Jason with a day of rest, writing blog posts, teaching my children their school lessons, having conversations with friends, or whatever else I do every day will be more about serving God and loving the other person that it will be about my needs or wants. My ulterior motives will die when I expose any self-seeking attitudes of my heart. I want it to be my joy to provide a day of rest for my husband, and not something I use to keep score or ask for demands.
What hidden motives do you struggle with in your marriage?