I continue to try to set my heart on things above. I really am trying…I talk to God more regularly…I have definitely been trying to listen to God more regularly! In addition, I talk to my wife more regularly…and I have been trying to listen to her more regularly! At least that’s my side of the story!
Last week, I was asked to write a devotional. Unfortunately, it was one of those days when I was talking a lot and felt like my wife was not listening, and she definitely felt like I was not listening to her. During one of the moments of “truce” I asked if I could run a few ideas past her for this devotional. She said, that we think differently and try to tackle the same problems in our own way (my way is usually the correct way….just ask me!). After a few minutes, she suggested that we do this devotional together. With the frontal lobe of my brain engaged (the part of the brain that controls impulsivity), and my heart set on things above, a moment of clarity hit me and I agreed. So here we go!
We both started to think about why we had been a little “testy” with each other. Clearly, we both realized that it was the stress. We started searching for scripture on how to deal with stress and these are some of the best ones that we came across (for us). The following are some passages that speak to us differently, followed by how each of our understandings.
John: Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), we were all made different. As a man, I try to worry about everything and then try to fix everything. When the worrying and anxiety get too great (and I see I can’t fix it myself…which is most of the time), then God thumps me in the head and reminds me that he can do everything and anything. However, I have this desire to try to fix or worry our way out of all predicaments. When I finally submit, I realized that I should have talked to God sooner and listened/submitted to him sooner….but that’s the way he made me, and I’ll try to do better. Luke 12: 25-26 and Proverbs 3:5-6 help me focus on the God who can grant all things…if I would only listen.
Jennifer: While John and I are made different, I am probably also made different from the stereotypical woman. I spend less time in the “worrying” and more in the fixing. While John is a more “big picture” person, I am more detail oriented. While John wants to talk about the stresses and problems, I want to know the options, weigh the options, think about the worst-case scenario and then try to manage what I can. This is my coping strategy, to put my head down and place one foot in front of the other. So similar to John, I am sometimes too slow to “look up child” (Lauren Daigle) and invite God into my struggle. This is why I like the passage from Philippians; it is my to do list: 1) don’t be anxious, 2) pray to God, and 3) present my requests to God. When I am feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, and to be honest that is happening lately, I pray all of Psalm 91, but verses 14 to 16 are the heart of it. I have to remind myself that God has got me and got whatever I am struggling with.
Concluding remarks: So many of these devotionals have talked about how to help our neighbors, and how to help ourselves. As the quarantine continues, we may have to learn to love and help those in our own household. God is good. He made each of us different. As we reach out to help others, I invite all of you to LOVE your spouse today and thank God for the wonderful gift that he gave each of us in our marriage.
John & Jennifer Tetnowski