As we continue to walk through our True Woman 101 study in preparation for the True Woman 2012 Conference in September, we are sharing our reflections each week here at Intentional By Grace. There is far more in depth study and discussion taking place in our private Facebook forum – you can ask to join here. But for now, here are my reflections from this week’s study on Biblical manhood.
Guilty. No, scratch that. Convicted.
Yes, that is about right.
As I soaked in the words of our True Woman study, I pondered things such as:
“Does my husband fall into the mold that is set before me as a Biblical man?”
“Are there characteristics listed within these pages that I should bring before him?”
“What of this ‘manhood’ chapter can I share with him so he can see what it means to be a real man, according to God’s standards?”
Oh Sister, please do not go there. I had to pray fervently as I was reading this week’s study. Let’s take a moment and pray as I share with you my prayer to Him:
“Lord, please allow me to embrace these definitions of what a man, divinely designed, looks like. I pray that I use this as a means to pray specifically that my husband (father, brother) can find his place in Your divine plan for his manhood. I pray with incredible humility and a desire to fully reflect you, that I would not dare to judge, mother, or criticize my husband (father, brother). I cannot change him. I can embrace who he is and love him. I can respect him. I can encourage him. I can pray for him. Let me leave it at that Lord. Let me not stew on what I think he should be. Oh Father please let me not compare him to other husbands (fathers, brothers). That will only take away my respect for him and Lord, that is something that is truly detrimental to our relationship. Understanding your divine design and praying that my husband can embrace it is my role. Trying to “get him” to understand that is not. No Lord, I cannot be his Holy Spirit, nor do I want to be!”
You see, when we (women) read something like this (a guide to how a person should be) we immediately want to see how we can get that person to realize what we have just learned. Might I challenge you? I only ask because I have been so greatly convicted on this very thing. So pray about it and then decide if you are ready to ask your Father to show you something.
Understanding the role of a man is what you need to focus on. This lesson is for you, not your husband. Please note, Nancy and Mary did not say, “Ladies, please give this book to your husbands and fathers this week. Make sure they give it back to you once completed so you can review their answers and prepare to move on to week 3.” Nor did they say, “Now go tell your husband all the character traits that are at the core of being a man so they can start working on them.”
Here is a prayer for God (if you are ready, because Friend, He will answer your prayer!):
“Father, how is this week’s lesson written for me? If I am reading something and feeling as though I need to go tell this person what I have learned so they can change and become who they “should” be, I realize that it is likely directed more at me than at anyone else. Please show me what it is You are working on in me. That this might bring me closer to You, rather than trying to force others to fix their ways.”
Please know that I was able to write that prayer because this is a daily struggle for me. The snare to compare, the desire to mother those around me to make them “better.” Isn’t this so sad? I realize now what the Lord is showing me. Instead of wasting time focusing on what he (whatever man you and I are thinking of) should change to better fit this example, I should focus on how I can better complement him. There may be some character traits I exercise on a regular basis that actually hinder him for fulfilling his full potential.
Believe it Ladies, we are very capable of keeping our men, and dare I say children, from reaching their “full potential” because we are so busy trying to micro manage their daily life. We are so busy focusing on what they need to “do” rather than respecting and encouraging who they are all the while praying for who they will become, in God’s plan (not yours!).
The Lord is laying this heavily on my heart and I am wanting to pour my words out onto this paper. Though He is also leading me to stop here.
Rather than soak in my words, please take this issue to our Maker. He, far better than you or I, knows His design and plan for the men in your life. He knows the role you are to play. He understands your heart and that you truly do have the best intentions. He also knows what you are not capable of doing. So please, follow His lead and leave the “hard stuff” up to Him. Pray, study, pray and guess what, love that man of yours the way he is because he isn’t going to be very encouraged to change for the better if he feels disrespected and unloved.
Use this week’s lessons about manhood as a guide to pray for the men in your life. Use this as an avenue to better understand how they are programmed and how you can complement that role. Pray that you do not use this lesson as a checklist that you “wish” your hubby was following more closely.
What is one thing you can change and lift up to prayer as a result of learning about God’s design for men?
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