4 Steps to Take Your Thoughts Captive

4 Steps to Take Your Thoughts Captive
Can you easily stop thinking negative thoughts?

If you're like most people, the answer is no. 

It's not easy - it's also not impossible.

Scripture instructs us to "take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5)

But how do I do that, and how can it help my marriage?

Here are some steps to take:

1. Recognize the negative thought.
Our feelings are a result of our thoughts. If you are feeling irritable, angry, hurt, or sad, notice what thoughts you've been thinking.

2. Once you've identified the thought, ask yourself, "Is this true? Is it factual? Is it possible that this is only my opinion or perception?"
Truth is something that would hold up in a court of law. If it's open to interpretation (e.g. obviously he doesn't care, he's lazy, he's self-absorbed), then it isn't truth. Sometimes we need to ask God for wisdom and discernment to recognize the lies, because the enemy can disguise these as truth.

3. Pray over the thought and release it to God. 
Thank Him for His willingness to take it from you, and for His mercy and forgiveness. Pray over your husband, or whomever else you had the negative thought. Praying for the person who hurt us can change our thoughts dramatically.

4. Replace the thought with something that is "pure, lovely, and praiseworthy" according to Philippians 4:8.
It's not enough to try and just stop thinking a negative thought. We have to replace it with a positive one. Pray over your husband, or whomever else you had the negative thought. Praying for the person who hurt us can change our thoughts dramatically. Consider their situation and view it from their point of view. Offer the same measure of grace you would offer yourself. Seek to assign positive motives for their behavior, such as they were truly trying to help, they really didn't mean to cause harm and just didn't recognize it, or they were so busy and could probably use some understanding and support.

When you change your thoughts, you change your feelings. When you feel more positive, you will treat your husband more positively. It sounds simple, but this can have such a profound effect on your marriage!

We hear all the time that we should take our thoughts captive, but the practical application and how-to are often missing. 

My prayer is that these four steps will be helpful in arming you to battle against negative, false, and harmful thoughts that do not serve you, or your marriage.

Sweet friend, how can I pray over you and your marriage today? Share in the comments or email me directly!

Does your husband find you attractive?

Does your husband find you attractive?
If you're like me, when you first met your husband and while you were dating, you spent an embarrassing amount of time choosing outfits, putting on make-up, figuring out your hair, and making sure you looked your absolute best when you saw him.

Then we got married, and after a while living in the same home where you have every right to feel comfortable, you may have cared less and less whether you were intentionally pleasing him or not.

Some wives make drastic changes to their hair either by cutting it or dying it, without first asking their husband's opinion.

Some wives go shopping for clothes and never think to ask their husband which items they like before they purchase.

I've heard many wives joke about how they don't even bother to shave their legs anymore, because they're married so they shouldn't have to.

After months or years of marriage, while our husbands remain faithful to us - the only women they are truly "allowed" to look at and lust over - we tend to punish their faithfulness by disregarding their opinions about our appearance.

Some women get upset because their husbands don't compliment them anymore or tell them how beautiful they are - but have they stopped to consider whether they are intentional about catering to their husbands preferences?

Here's my encouragement to you today, sweet friend. 

Before you change your hair, or buy that new outfit, ask what your husband thinks

If he doesn't want you to cut your hair, then don't. If he doesn't like a certain outfit, don't buy it.

Relax at home, but make sure to take care of yourself daily with proper hygiene, shower early in the day, get dressed, shave regularly. 

Not out of obligation to do what he wants, but out of a desire to please him, to make yourself attractive to him, to show him that his opinion matters to you because HE matters to you.

Wouldn't you appreciate the same treatment from him?

Let's be wives who honor their husbands and seek to please them in all things, including our appearance.

Have you recently asked your husband's opinion about something related to your appearance? I'd love to hear about how you're honoring him that way - share in the comments!

7 Signs Your Submission Isn't Biblical

7 Signs Your Submission Isn't Biblical
Biblical submission does not mean that you have lesser value, that you no longer have a voice or contributions to make.

There are some women who believe they're being submissive while secretly using their guise to manipulate and control their husbands. This post is not for them.

I was the wife who whole-heartedly wanted to please God, and please my husband. However, in my quest to honor my husband, I found myself leaning too far towards the opposite direction and became the iconic "doormat" most people think of when they hear "submission". 

Below are 7 signs with which I am all too familiar... 

7 signs that your submission is not biblical:

1. You're afraid to disagree

God doesn't expect us to have the same thoughts on every topic as our husband. A lot of the time, you will probably agree. But there are times when you don't, and that's okay. Sometimes, it doesn't serve a purpose to voice your disagreement. It takes discernment to recognize when you should speak up and when you should. If you don't speak up simply out of fear, your submission is misplaced. 

While our husbands are charged with a huge responsibility of leading our families, that doesn't mean their opinions are automatically correct. There are times when they need to hear our disagreements, and the reasons behind them. The submission comes into play when we disagree respectfully, and then drop it after we've said our peace. We don't continue to drive our point home or nag.

2. You're scared to share your own opinions

There were times when my former husband would ask my opinion on something, but I had learned that if I didn't express the opinion he wanted, the conversation (and the rest of the day) would nose dive. I became hesitant to express my own true opinions, and only shared what I knew he'd want to hear. 

Our husbands are responsible for making a large number of decisions, and as wives, our role is to be their helper. We aren't helping them make decisions if we are withholding important information - which includes our opinions. God has given us wisdom, and promises to give us even more wisdom when we ask Him. The wisdom He gives us needs to be shared with our husbands; again, respectfully.

3. You don't ask for what you want or need

A good marriage thrives on open communication. If you find yourself not telling your husband your wants or need, you are blocking this important aspect of a marriage. I do recognize there are some husbands who make it difficult because of how they receive the information, or sometimes they refuse to receive the information. Our job is not to coddle our husbands; our job is to obey God's instructions for us as wives, and build up our home and marriage. Communication is an important way to build your marriage.

There is also the factor of expectations. If we never share our wants or needs, but we expect our husbands to automatically know what they are, we are setting them up for failure. Then when our needs aren't met or we don't get what we wanted, we blame them - but the responsibility lies with us for not expressing it in the first place.

4. You obey your husband when he asks you to sin

Yes, scripture tells wives to obey their husbands...but it finishes that with "as unto the Lord." We are to obey them as we would obey Christ, but Christ would never ask us to go against His word. If your husband asks you to sin, you are to obey Christ, not your husband. 

We must be careful what we consider sin, however. There are some things that are clear cut in scripture: murder, adultery, theft for example. Other things are left to personal conviction, such as whether to drink, the types of food to eat, how much TV to watch. Our convictions could be vastly different from our husbands. We need to discuss these differences, to maintain that open communication I mentioned above, but we have to be careful not to judge, whether consciously or sub-consciously, our husbands for having different convictions than we do.

5. You're afraid to offer gentle correction when he sins

When your husband in engaged in clear-cut sin, we must be able to FIRST look inward at ourselves to ensure we are not harboring our own continued disobedience, and then to gently approach our husbands with loving admonishment in an effort to restore them to right relationship with God and with others.

If you neglect to do this in the name of submission when you actually don't do it out of fear, this is wrong.

6. You allow mistreatment of yourself or others

The greatest commandment that Jesus gives us is to love. It is not loving to continue providing a breeding ground for your husband to live in sin. If we are not setting up boundaries when our husbands mistreat us or others, we are enabling them to continue in their sin. This is not loving, nor does it fulfill our role as their helper.

7. You submit out of fear of your husband, rather than obedience to God

Scripture is clear that we are not to fear man, because "what can man do to me?" "If God is for us, who can be against us?" 

Our submission should be a gift that we offer to our husbands out of obedience to God, out of fear and awe and reverence for His commands, and because we trust that His instructions bring blessings. 

We should not submit solely because we are afraid of our husbands. We need to put our faith, our hearts, our lives, in God's hands and trust Him with them. 

Dear sister, have you found yourself "submitting" in any of these ways? 
Reach out to me so that I can pray with and for you.

Why should I go first?

Why should I go first?
Friend, I have been there before.

In my previous marriage, when I was trying so hard to be the godly, submissive wife, there was still quite a rift and I didn't know what to do about it.

Despite what I felt were my best efforts, it seemed like my husband wasn't trying at all. There would be some good days, when I would thank God and pray, asking, "Why can't all of our days be this peaceful and fun?" Then there would be days when he would come home late and drunk, or wake up in the morning already angry with me.

I was doing all I knew how to do, and I felt like it was just on him at this point. He needed to step up. He needed to make an effort. He needed to love me as Christ loved the Church, the way a godly husband is instructed to love his wife!

God revealed something to me in that season. He reminded me that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Before we even knew who Jesus was, He died for us.

Before we even had the chance to love Him, He died for us.

Even now, when we do know Him and have promised to love Him, yet still reject Him through our sin and disobedience, He continues to pursue us, being faithful, gentle, and loving.

So why should we go first in our marriage?

Because, sweet sister, our goal is to be more like Jesus. Not more like our husbands.

We are not to emulate the behavior of sinners. We are to emulate the behavior of our Savior.

Jesus went first. Jesus continues to pursue. 

That means we are to go first. We are to continue to pursue.

I know it sounds daunting, impossible even, at times. But we know that God equips us when He instructs us. He doesn't expect us to figure it out on our own, nor does He leave us to gather the strength and ability to make it happen. He offers us His strength to accomplish His will.

Our job is to accept His strength and use it.

One thing we can do for our marriages, that I'm sure you're already doing, is pray. We need to pray unceasingly.

Another thing we can do is find a way to show our husbands respect and kindness every day. 

You might be asking yourself how exactly to do that, and I have a gift I'd like to share with you.

I've created a 31 Days of Random Acts of Kindness For Your Husband calendar that you can download and print out. 

You can choose to do all of these, or pick a few, or maybe just allow them to inspire you to come up with your own kindnesses to offer your husband.

My prayer is that this will be a tangible tool for you in your marriage, to strengthen the bond between you and your husband.

You can grab your copy of the calendar HERE.

Tell me in the comments if you find it easy to "go first", or if this has been a struggle for you.

NOTE: if you are experiencing abuse in your marriage, that is an entirely different topic. We are NOT called to submit to abuse. If this is happening to you, please first ensure your safety and that of your children, and seek wise, godly counsel.

Are you waiting for a miracle?

Are you waiting for a miracle?
'Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. ' John 2:7-8
How many times have you prayed for a miracle in your marriage?

How many years have you asked God to do a work in your husband, to fix the relationship, to turn things around to where they were when you first chose each other?

After all of those prayers, what did you do?

Did you say, "Amen" and then wait in anticipation for God to perform His miracle?

Or did you sit quietly and listen for Him to give you instructions on how you could partner with Him to make it happen?

In John's recount of Jesus' first public miracle when He turned water into wine, he notes that Jesus asked the servants to fill the jars with water. They obeyed, and then He asked them to draw some out and bring it to the host of the wedding.

Jesus could have easily filled the jars Himself through a miracle, or He could have miraculously refilled the empty wine glasses or pitchers with wine.

Yet He didn't. He asked the servants to partner with Him in carrying out this miracle. 

We've all heard the story of the loaves and fishes, when Jesus multiplied the small amounts that were given. He could have created a spectacular meal for everyone there by miraculously supplying all sorts of meats, cheeses, fruits, and wine.

But He didn't. He used what was given, and then He used the disciples to distribute the food to everyone.

In almost every single miracle Jesus performed, He didn't simply snap His fingers, or wiggle His nose. He used people that were willing to accomplish what needed to be done.

What can we learn from this when we're praying for a miracle?

  1. We need to be open to allowing God to use us in accomplishing His miracles, not just pray and expect Him to "do His thing".
  2. Our hearts must be willing to obey what He asks of us - including what He's already expressed in Scripture. Are you reading His word daily, taking note of what He's instructed wives to do to build up their marriages and homes? Are you intentional to obey those instructions, even the hard ones like "obey your husband"?
  3. We must have eyes open to see the small miracles He's already performing. The host of the wedding didn't even notice a miracle had occurred; how many miracles are we missing?
It's possible that your miracle is waiting around the corner, and God is simply holding out His hand for you to take and partner with Him before He brings it to fruition.

What miracle are you praying for today? How can I pray for you?
 
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