Thursday, September 13, 2007

Knowing when to give counsel and when to be quiet

In the recent weeks of making decisions about moving and Steve taking the new job, I realized how much strength and power my words had.  As Steve struggled with the decision, I saw the things I said leading him one way or the other.  When he doubted, I'd just build up his resolve again.

But then I wondered, what if I'm wrong?   What if the choice that seems obvious to me is the wrong choice? I don't want to push Steve into making the decision that I want.  I want him to make his own decision, and hear God's voice, not mine. 

So I stepped back, and tried to say less, listen more, ask careful questions, and pray.  I prayed that God would guide Steve, and Steve would follow His leading. 

I waited, and listened to his back and forth conversations.  We'd fall asleep with him saying one thing, but the next morning he'd seem firm in the other direction.  I continued to wait and trust and tried not to let my own discomfort over not knowing begin to push Steve again.  Steve became frustrated by me not wanting to offer my thoughts and opinions, so I tried to carefully share them without pushing him one way or the other.

Even now, he's still wondering if he made the right decision, and if there's time to change it.  Last night I was trying to encourage him to stick to his decision and dissuade him from back-tracking.  Then I realized I was doing it again ... pushing him to do what I thought he should do.

I don't want this change to be based on my thoughts and desires ... but on God's leading of Steve.  I don't want to push our family in the wrong direction.  So I strive to find the balance between offering wise counsel when my husband asks for it, without pressuring him to do it my way.  Offering my thoughts in a way that still leaves the leading to him. 

A woman could push or pull her husband in the guise of wise counsel, and many do, I'm sure.  Subtly leading their husband by pushing them toward one decision or another.  I've discovered this can happen even in well-meaning situations. 

Submission isn't just following your husband's lead, it's also letting him make the decisions in the first place, and trusting him to make the right decision.  It's learning to wait quietly, without impatience.  It's self-control.

Blessings,
April

2 comments:

  1. That is very wise of you. It is so hard. I've seen the same struggle in my husband as we have changed churches this summer.

    Jenn

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  2. Why is it that we women tend to want to know that everything is under control? The Lord has been teaching me the same thing over the last few years, and my husband never ceases to amaze me with his wisdom. I am always so glad that I didn't step in!


    Great post! Thank you!


    ~Andrea

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