Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and grab his woman tight, and the two shall transform into one another…thus sayeth my broken experience.
August 6, 2014
In my years of serving in leadership roles in ministry and being a part of church bodies, I have never formally been introduced to my spiritual gifts, until recently. My family joined our church, Covenant Glen UMC, earlier this year. A few Sundays ago, as part of our new membership process (#yesittooklongerthan3days), my husband and I took a spiritual gifts inventory. This experience was refreshing. It was eye opening, of course, but it brought a sense of relief and reassurance that was, well, multi-layered and unexpected.
My highest ranking spiritual gift, according to the inventory, is (drumroll, please)…singing. Who’d of thunk it? Just joking, it is compassion. Compassion? While I consider myself a generally “nice” person, this result was surprising. It affirmed and confirmed so many things for me. The epiphanies popped into my head like hot kernels of corn.
“So, that’s why I play ‘angel’s advocate’.”
“Oh, now I see why forgive so easily.”
“That is why I am moved to nearly empty my bank account by ‘Feed the Children’, ‘Add PBS and NPR to your will’, and ‘Save the Hump Back Whales’ campaigns”
And the BIG one, “My role in my home and marriage is valid and important.”
Eh? Wait, Brooke, what does that have to do with the price of bacon? A lot.
See, I am the proud wife of a man who focuses, quite intently, on bringing home the bacon. All who are in our circle of family and friends know that my man goes SO hard (in the paint), and is relentless when it comes to the financial provision and security of his family. He go’ to work! Atop it all, his inventory showed a fine proclivity for administration. So, when we are operating in the flow of our spiritual gifts, this often puts us at odds. Frankly, his cause often wins out over mine.
But, it’s not his fault. Our, now seven, years of marriage have travailed against layoffs, three children, career changes, and, of course the normal wear and tear of marriage life. Over the years, money, provision, and work have become increasingly important to me, especially when considering the financial needs of successfully raising children. That compassion is not a gift donned in dollar signs. And the ever looming clouds of feeding, grooming, entertaining, childcare, dance, sports, music lessons, college…have rained down feelings of doubt and insecurity on me, melting away the value of my compassionate heart. Yes, I have downgraded and devalued the intrinsic gift of exceptional empathy my creator has so graciously given me. I began valuing my spouse’s perspective over mine. In part, because of my journey as a mother and wife, but, moreover, because I am so filled with, well, compassion for my husband and his perspective.
Ironically, our good couple friends preached on two becoming one this same Sunday as our inventory. And amidst struggling with a sleepy baby, corralling antsy children and gleaning as much as I could from my friends’ sermon, I realized that I was not on a path toward becoming one with my husband. I was, in some ways, becoming my husband – no surgery involved. I was becoming more emotionally and mentally invested in money and seeking ways to add more monetary value to my household. The heart God has given me to bring healing, love and His provision to his people became a nuisance. My compassion became a cast appendage, preventing me from posting pictures on FB of my kids in private school uniforms and tutus and of me and hubby snorkeling off the coast of Costahitamaicabora (or something like that). And amidst all of that, I forgot that, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a, eh-hem – care. (Not to say, I don’t want those things. IJS) But, I forgot that, at the core of who I am, my deepest desire is to make people’s lives better. And if that don’t bring a dime, I’m fine.
See, when two become one another, both miss the mark and become devoid of their high calling and purpose. When our aim, intentional or not, is to be more like our spouses, we fail to contribute to the health and vibrancy of our marriage. I am reminded of what a preacher once said, “If you’re so busy being someone else, who in the world is going to be you?” Sheesh!
What that inventory showed me is that God values me, my perspective, my personality and inclinations. Who I am, my #instincts, desires and outlook have ETERNAL implications. Being ‘nice’ is important, darn it! Not only is my compassion meant to serve God’s people, but it is meant to provide a beautiful balance, a harmonious way of operating in my home.
So, what does this mean? Stand firm. Don’t allow any relationship, be it a friendship, parenthood, or marriage, to discolor and fade the gloriousness of who God designed you to be. AND, don’t try to change your spouse. There may be a higher purpose to him not rinsing out dishes before putting them in the sink. It only takes 45 seconds, max. I’m just saying. (But that’s another editorial, to be continued…) #richwife
1 Corinthians 12:14-26, The Message