When a grain of sand gets into the soft tissue of the oyster it covers it with a layer of calcium. Years later, the oyster has relieved itself of the irritant by creating this perfectly round smooth object that mankind has come to treasure and calls a pearl.
When you have a “life irritant”-a situation that’s causing you grief, pain and regret; it’s causing you to harden your heart, be like the oyster my friend. Use your energy to transform it into something that you are proud of.
For years my financial situation was an irritant for me. It was a source of contention in my marriage. My husband’s and my differing opinions on spending, credit cards and paying bills got us deep into debt and destroyed my A1 credit rating. I was livid and felt powerless.
There’s nothing worse than being LIVID with anger and feeling POWERLESS to change the events that have you emotionally livid!
Once I became honest with myself I realized that my anger was really about me giving up my power. And the feeling of powerlessness was also about me giving up my power.
Like many Christian women, I have had to find balance in the idea that the man is the head of the household and has the final say WHILE married to a man who had NO training on how to handle certain situations. But he too, like many Christian men, have had to find the balance in the idea of BEING the head, the leader and not faltering in his leadership role by admitting that he didn’t know how to do something that he was never taught to do.
So we had a mess.
And even though we were in it together, we both had to admit to our responsibility and then MAKE A DECISION to change and grow. Neither can make the other change or grow or admit to their shortcomings. Everyone is responsible for his/her own mess even if you SAY it was created by someone else.
I could say our financial woes were created by my husband and it was true…in my mind.
But my angry, sad, bitter, resentful powerless feeling heart was created BY ME!
For a period of time I stopped my public speaking gigs and stopped giving presentations because I couldn’t find joy in it and I didn’t want to be a “phony” If you had asked me I would have said that it was because I was busy tending to the children-and it was true,,, partially.
I would have told you that I’m “too busy” to come to your location to do a Women’s Empowerment Seminar. In my mind it was very true. I wasn’t lying. Homeschooling, pregnancies, breast cancer diagnosis, moving across 5 states in 7 years with children in tow, going to court to get custody of a nephew, along with money issues were all very overwhelming, time-consuming experiences!
But also overwhelming me was the hardening of my heart and the feeling of powerlessness as I was going through this.
If you had asked me I would have told you that I was honoring my family, my children and my husband by committing all of my energy and time to their development and growth. I was willingly sacrificing my needs (emotional, financial, social & intellectual) for them. And this was VERY true. I willingly sacrificed my time and energy….because I didn’t know any other way to give to them without being the Christian female martyr, just the way the world describes.
But because mommy martyrdom is not what GOD describes, I could only do that for so long without becoming overwhelmed, resentful and angry at giving up so much of myself. My power.
Over the last 10 years I’ve learned how to do it better. I’ve taken responsibility for my role in our money relationship and I’ve learned how to balance my God-given power as a mother, wife, leader and educated woman in the most powerful industrialized nation in the world.
Like an oyster I’ve learned to cover my irritant-not with denial, half-truths and resentments-but with patience,forgiveness and grace. Heres how:
PRAYER: As you are learning to live this life you have to remember that you are LEARNING to live this life. That means ask God to order your steps. To cover your mistakes with Her Grace and to give you eyes of understanding. To send help even when you don’t know that you need help. And above all cover the children so that they aren’t ruined by your issues & ignorance. My conscious everyday prayer! So far God has proven faithful.
FORGIVENESS: Remember that everyone is doing the best that they can, with the mind that they have at that time. There are times when you want to write a person off because, “he knows how to do better. I’ve told him a thousand times, so I know he knows!” Even when you tell someone, the fact that they don’t follow through says that they are missing something within themselves. Even when the person decides not to change simply out of spite, that tells you that they are fundamentally missing something. Sometimes that something is LOVE. Which means that they “are doing the best that they can with the mind that they have at that time”.
PATIENCE: Be patient with yourself. The statement, “everyone is doing the best that they can, with the mind that they have at that time” also applies to YOU! Be patient with Time as it chugs along to heal, change and recreate situations. Nothing stays the same and this too will pass. Utter those words to yourself regarding your circumstances and your limited mindset.
OPEN-MINDEDNESS: Be willing to change your MIND! We are ALL products of our society and our society is built on some old traditions. Our Biblical traditions are based on a Middle Eastern culture that subjugated women (it still does so today). These traditions don’t work in our current culture and much of it doesn’t even make sense with current technology. Yet, because we are clinging onto the structure that tradition creates we aren’t being honest about the things that don’t work. For instance, we would never force you to marry your husband’s brother once you’re are a widowed but how easy it is to tell you that you have to submit to a husband who dishonors you with veneral diseases and verbal abuse because he’s the “head” of the family. In order to stay in that relationship you would have to go against everything in yourself just to stay there (and then take prescription drugs to make yourself happy).
Be open-minded and honest about what’s not working for your relationship. For me, I had to “go against” my husband and take on the role of paying the bills. He felt it was his role as a man (and not-stated is the fact that money is power). We had to have our counselor/Pastor intervene (several times) before my husband finally “submitted” and gave up his role as the bill payer. Today we are stable financially and my husband is much happier.
Cover your irritant with prayer, forgiveness, patience and open-mindedness and let it grow to become your treasure. Be like water my friend…well… like the oyster in the water.