Happy birthday to me! There, got that out of the way. Today I turn 58. Never imagined that age when I was eight. I thought of eighty or even sixty – but never 58.
It is not that big of a deal. I feel the same as I did yesterday or the day before that.
So what is my big birthday confession? It is not that I am 58. It is that I made a foolish declaration last week that I now rescind.
Last week at my friends home I declared that I was done cooking and shopping and meal planning. For the past 38 years of my marriage, I have cooked almost every meal. Granted McDonald’s, Burgerking and other convenient fast food places have helped, but even then I was the one to make the choice and make the food run. I was tired of it all.
Not just tired, but bone-deep heart sick tired. The thought of cooking one more meal, made me want to cry. And at the center of it was resentment toward my husband. In my independence speech, I declared that Randy would now be responsible for all the cooking, shopping and meal planning. I was done. I spoke eloquently and with great force as I stood upon on my proverbial soapbox at Cheryl’s house. My friends applauded. I was eloquent and passionate. My husband just smiled. He didn’t believe me.
That only made me more frustrated and a great sense of being “put upon” overcame me. For the next several days, I began to wallow in self-pity. Poor me. My husband doesn’t understand. He doesn’t care. Or so I would whisper to myself. I was enjoying my pity party. I was the guest of honor.
Fast forward to this morning. It has been a week, and for the most part, I have stayed firmly committed to sticking to my plan to stop cooking starting today. Today was the day I was to pass the spatula, so to speak, to my husband. Until this morning, that is.
Today as I spent time with the Lord, I read John 3. It is the passage where Nicodemus sneaks into Jesus’s camp at night to ask him questions. Nicodemus was pretty sure Jesus was sent by God, but he was still struggling. Jesus didn’t fit his expectations of what the Messiah would be like. He was asking for clarification and got a strange answer that he had to be born again. Jesus was talking spiritually. Nicodemus needed to have a spiritual rebirth and a change in perspective. He needed to let go of all his beliefs that he was depending on and take a huge leap of faith.
Nicodemus had to let go of his traditions, his opinions, and expectations, and embrace Jesus as he was. You don’t come to God on your terms. You come to Him on His terms. Afterall, He is God.
You are probably wondering why this passage shifted my position I so staunchly declared last week. It was the starting point. After reading the passage and thinking about it, I asked Jesus if there were any traditions, opinions, and expectations that I was holding onto that was getting in the way of really knowing him more. You see, I want to know Jesus more. He loves me. He “gets” me.
And lovingly, gently and kindly he answered me with more scripture. 1 Cor 13: 4-7 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Wow! Gently, yet firmly Jesus corrected me. There was no, “Cut a switch and meet me at the woodshed” type of fear or guilt. There was a simple conviction.
If I truly love my family, and if I truly love my husband, then I would serve them without complaint. I had been dishonoring to my husband, complaining loudly to our friends that he never helped me. I was tired of the whole meal process, because somewhere deep inside, I was expecting something in return. Whether it was thanks or the offer of sharing the load, I don’t know. But it was there. I was doing things not just because it was expected of me, but because deep inside I was looking for some kind of payback.
But that wasn’t all. I was keeping a record of wrongs. I was holding a grudge, and allowing my expectations to take root and give birth to bitterness. And that bitterness spilled out like a waterfall last Saturday night.
I needed a perception shift, and my loving savior was there to help me. So here is my confession to everyone. I was wrong; deeply wrong. Tonight, when I am at my friends home again, I will apologize to my husband and to them. I hope to be as eloquent yet tempered with humility as I make my confession.
Why? Because bottom line, if I truly love Randy and my family, then all I do for them should be out of love – not out of a self-serving motive. No matter how thankless the task is, I express love to Jesus, by how I love my family.
So how much do I love you, Jesus? Do I love you enough to continue to shop, plan menus and fix meals no matter how tired I am or if I am never thanked or helped? To not just do these things, but to do them as if I was doing them for you, with Joy and thanksgiving?
Yes, I do love Jesus, and I do want to express my love to him. And the best way to do that is by loving everyone around me. So, I leave you, dear readers. I need to plan tonight’s dinner and do some shopping. And later tonight – I get to eat crow. 🙂