Words


I want to blog today. The problem is that what’s on my mind isn’t terribly interesting and I’m struggling to write about it in such a way that you will want to keep reading.

You’ve been warned.

Last Friday afternoon my mentor and I talked for about two hours. I did a lot of listening. When we said our goodbyes, T said, “I’m sorry. I feel like I’ve rambled and you didn’t get much out of it.”

“Oh, no! You feel like you were rambling, but you said a few key things that I needed to hear. The Lord was definitely controlling our conversation.”

Today I’ve been thinking about one of her statements: Make sure you encourage your husband in those spiritual things you want him to do, but that maybe he isn’t all that strong or confident in doing. That’s not a direct quote, but that’s the gist of it.

She and her husband recently finished doing The Love Dare. One day’s assignment was to share one thing with your spouse that you wish he/she would do. T told me that one of the things that she always wished her husband would do is initiate prayer just for the two of them. “We do a lot of praying separately and with other people,” she said, “but not as a couple.” So on that day, she shared how she would love it if K would pray with her. She said he has prayed with her every single day since then.

She explained to me that she learned a long time ago that when she praises K for doing the things she wants him to do, then he keeps doing them. So, in this case of praying together, she says, “You know, K, I really love it when I hear you pray for me. I feel so protected and loved.” Just that little bit of encouragement makes him feel good and it encourages him to keep doing it without her reminding him or nagging him.

My challenge this week, in addition to our scripture memory work, is to be careful with my mouth and use it to encourage my K in those spiritual things that I want him to do. For instance, we started reading a book (The Bookends of the Christian Life) and using the study guide together, but we haven’t kept it up. Rather than nagging him about it, I need to find a positive way to tell him that I want us to keep reading and talking through this book together without my words sounding rehearsed and canned, forced.

I’m more comfortable with the straight-forward approach. Nuance and hinting only frustrate me. There are two possible outcomes: I won’t say anything for fear of nagging or I’ll get frustrated with dropping hints and trying to verbally encourage him to do what I want without telling him what I want. And then he’ll wonder why I didn’t just tell him what I wanted.

(Insert big sigh here.)

Instead of the usual, “Hey, do you feel like reading together tonight?” I should say, “Hey, I really love to hear you talk about Jesus and what’s going on in your heart. I feel such a deep connection with you.”

Strategic book placement may help, too.

hint, hint, nudge, nudge, say no more

5 thoughts on “Words

  1. I'm curious how the Lord brought a mentor into your life. Did you ask her to mentor you? Did she approach you? I've been praying for a mentor for a few years now. I'm hesitant to ask someone (big rejection fears), and when I spend some time with women who I think might be someone who I could talk to, it's pretty clear that they don't have time to really talk. (Or maybe they don't want to, see how fearful of rejection I am?!) The interesting thing is God has brought women into my life lately where I've been in the "mentor" role. But sometimes I'd really like some godly counsel from an older woman. And I just don't know where to go.

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  2. I was really struggling, in general, a few years ago. And I started praying for a woman who could help me along. I met T the very day I had prayed for the Lord to send an older, spiritually mature woman into my life. Not only did I meet her, she and her family planned to move into the house across the street. I was thrilled. But so scared to ask her because she didn't really know me. It took me about three years, but couple of weeks ago I made up my mind to just ask her. I decided that the worst thing she could say is no. I have major rejection fears, too, that I had to fight. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain if she agreed. And, in fact, T did kind of reject me at first. She asked, "Well, what kind of thing are you thinking about? You've already read Systematic Theology. I don't know what I can teach you." I actually anticipated that kind of response (because I figured that she knew about a mentoring/friendship relationship I had with another young woman (before she moved) in which we were studying that book together), so I had my reasons ready. One of which is to help me become a better mentor. Since we're actual neighbors, getting together is easy.I would encourage you to pray about one or two people to ask, and then just ask them. If T had declined, then I had one other person I was going to ask. I can't imagine anyone turning you down, Christina.

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  3. I've always found it hard to strike a balance between being encouraging and using words to build up my husband the way all the books tell you to and still be authentic. The way books tell you to do it sound very contrived, but I think just being open to opportunites to be verbally encouraging and keeping my mouth shut when I don't feel that way is good.

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