Kings and Queens 2

Okey dokey. Obviously, this is the promise continuation of my previous post. Quick review that’ll help with understanding my post today: “The Queen was in charge of the castle. She supported him and offered him wisdom and counsel when he needed it. If the King was away at war, SHE was the one who protected the castle. She was supposed to be just but strict. She raised their children (with help from the maids sometimes). And, perhaps most importantly, she submitted to her husband.”

Let’s translate that into today’s terms. A Queen is in charge of doing her part to keep the home looking good and functioning well. Does this mean a guy isn’t supposed to, say, do the dishes? Fold laundry? Cook? Not at all! But it also means that some days, when he is too tired or too busy, it is the job of the wife to do all of it. Yes, all of it. Sometimes, taking care of the house means doing the taxes or doing manual work. It means you work to keep it running smoothly and your husband will help because he loves you. And even if he doesn’t, ladies you are still responsible for YOUR actions, not his. Support and wisdom. Yep, that falls on the ladies too. Sometimes, your husband will not know what to do. Yeah, he’s supposed to lead the house, but he’s human too. There’ll be times when he feels absolutely overwhelmed. These are the times when the ladies – the Queens –are to speak wisdom into their husbands (or boyfriends – the responsibilities don’t begin when your married) lives. They are to be walking close to God themselves, so that when this happens they can speak God’s wisdom into their lives. Sometimes, this can be as simple as saying “There isn’t anything you can do. Remember that great and powerful God we serve? Yep, gotta leave it up to him.” (Sorry, those of you who like to problem-solve. Good luck). Sometimes it might just mean reminding him that you (or God) love(s) him. Sometimes, this is where you have to be walking close with God so that you can say what God is trying to tell him. Or maybe, if God is being silent, it’s just speaking Godly truth into his life.

Next! Defending the castle. Sometimes, in a kingdom’s history, there were wars. And sometimes this called for the King to go off to war. Sometimes this was to defend his own kingdom, and sometimes someone else’s – yes, boys, you are called to help defend other’s kingdoms as well as your own – but while he was gone, it was up to the Queen to defend the castle in his stead. If all went well, she wouldn’t need to. But as we all know, stuff goes wrong. Life isn’t perfect. And so, even if the Queen didn’t know how to fight (although knowing how to fight was always a bonus), she had to know how to lead. She had to sit in on meetings and participate in them. Where was the castle weakest? What where the enemies troops? Where did her people stand on supplies and manpower? What did they do with the village people? What equipment did both sides have? What was morale like? If they needed something, how could they get it? Maybe there was an unconventional idea that she had to push through. The Queen was in charge of this and so much more. Have you ever noticed that any of the queens you hear of in the distant past you hear of because they did something? Ladies, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that sometimes we  are underestimated. It irritates some of us. But personally, I like it! Let the enemy underestimate me! It’ll make it easier to kick them to the curb. As Queens (or future Queens), we are powerful. We’re not always called to show that power, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The Queens are the ones to defend the castle when the King is away.

The Queen was also supposed to be just, but strict. I’m gonna add some stuff to this: the Queen was supposed to have grace and wisdom as well. Tall order, huh? In reality, the just and strict is usually applied to Kings. But Queens are also supposed to be just, and they do need to know when to draw the line. However, the Queens are ALSO supposed to sometimes give second chances. They are supposed to love. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the bible verse, but the Bible tells husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. This shows a key difference between guys and gals: guys run on respect. It’s important to them. They need to feel needed. It’s how God wired them. Gals, however, run on love. They need to feel cared for and respected. Not helpless – they aren’t – but cared for and protected. This also means that guys and girls have different strengths and weaknesses. Often, ladies find it easier to express love. They are often quicker to come together in a community for help and support. Guys (to many ladies’ exasperation ;P) have pride (ooooh, I said it). All joking aside, they are less likely to automatically go to someone else and instead often try to figure it out on their own. However, their protective instincts are (or at least should be) off the charts. Personally, I think if the guy isn’t 1) Ready to try and work things out first and 2)Ready to fight in a heartbeat if working things out is impossible, then he probably isn’t ready to be a King. If I ever get married, I want my husband to be the type of man that, if he sees a woman getting harassed or attacked on the street, jumps in ready to do whatever is necessary to protect her. Sometimes, though, that just might mean giving up his pride to avoid bullets flying and potentially hurting someone. And I hope that if I ever get married my husband will be ready to do that too, because priorities. So, to get back on track, Queens are supposed to extend love and grace. However, they are also supposed to know where to draw the line.

Raising the children. In actuality, this is supposed to be a job for both the King and the Queen. They are supposed to raise their children well, in a Godly manner. They are in charge of teaching their children how to be Kings and Queens when they grow up. This includes looking for a King or Queen as their partner when they’re old enough. Teaching patience, wisdom, hope, love…the list goes on and on.  Sometimes, they might need help. Like it or not (usually not), sometimes kids don’t listen to their parents. Sometimes, they just need to hear it from someone else. Here’s the thing. When you’re a King or Queen, you don’t just speak truth into the people right around you. If you aren’t ready to speak truth in unexpected situations with people you may or may not know [well], are you really speaking truth to those around you?

And last (at least for now), Queens are supposed to submit to their husbands. Some ladies might not like this. Don’t take it from me, take it from God. In the bible God sets the husband as head of the house. This means that, yes, the King’s decisions overrule the Queen’s. You can discuss things with him, of course. But if, ultimately, he decides on something else, he is the head of the house. What he says, goes. And now is where, Queens, you want to make sure you are looking for a King and not settling for anything less. If it is a partnership between a King and Queen, both partners will be listening to each other and to the Lord, and often they will come to be on the same page. And here’s something that I think often gets in the way when a Queen has to make the decision to follow her King even when he does something she doesn’t like or doesn’t follow her advise. It’s Faith. Queens are supposed to have faith in their Kings. It’s not comfortable – but then again, is following God comfortable? Marriage is the closest thing we have to the relationship between God and the church. It is supposed to mirror that. And so Queens are supposed to have faith in their husbands. Of course he will make mistakes. He isn’t perfect (surprise, surprise). You make mistakes too, and you are also not perfect. But will yelling at him and getting on his case make anything better? No. When this happens, I can guarantee you he knows that he messed up. You will BOTH benefit more from supporting each other than from tearing each other down.

And of course, your job is not only to look for a King or Queen as a partner. “Why are you waiting to be treated like a Queen when you don’t know how to treat him like a King”. YOUR job, ladies, is not only to look for a King (if he’s a King, he will treat you like a Queen), but to be a Queen. You are ultimately in charge of yourself.

So, I’m thinking of making this a series (possibly featuring a guest King to speak to any guys out there). Let me know what you guys think! I know my thoughts were kind of disjointed both this post and part 1, so I apologize for that. Feel free to offer suggestions or ask questions, too! Thanks for reading!

I’m Not Good Enough

Let me jump right in here. If you’ve read any of my previous posts from months ago, you know that I struggle with masturbation. So this post is largely about some wisdom that was spoken into my life regarding that lately.

I’ve been struggling with masturbation for over a year now. I go through cycles – long period of time with no masturbation, then a short period of time with lots of it. Semi-recently, I’ve come to a spot where many of you may or may not have been – I’m not good enough. I’m not good enough for God’s love. I’m not good enough for His forgiveness, for His grace. I keep sinning! And (if you remember my post about rebellion a ways back, or if you want to go read it) not only do I just keep sinning, I rebel against him. Most of the time when I masturbate any more, I send up a prayer ahead of time apologizing for what I’m about to do. So I keep sinning, and keep rebelling, and then I don’t want to pray. I mean, why would God want to hear from me? I can’t expect him to magically fix it if I’m not willing to put in work as well, and obviously I’m failing in that area. I’m tired of saying sorry and then going back to do it again. At this point, I felt dirty. I felt absolutely disgusting. And eventually, I put it at the edge of my mind because I was tired of considering it and not getting answers. But this past weekend, someone spoke some immense wisdom into my life.

David. David was wonderful, wasn’t he? We, as Christians, look up to him. Sure, the man had some flaws, but he was a man after God’s own heart!

Exactly.

God called David a man after his heart, knowing full well that David would commit adultery in the future. And not only would he commit adultery, he would then commit murder to cover it up. And still God said something that praised David so highly. This wisdom that was spoken into my life meant something to me. It wasn’t a life-changing, earth-shattering thing – you rarely know when those are going on, they usually seem super little at the time – but it meant something. What matters, Wisdom (I’m going to start referring to this person as Wisdom) told me, was where my heart was leaning towards. Was my heart following God?

Soloman was wise. He was blessed by God, he followed God, right? Well…until he fell into idolatry (1 Kings 11). God knew that Soloman would do that far before it ever happened.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a thing on Facebook (amazing, right? I saw a thing. Excuse me, I’ll continue now). This passage that someone wrote spoke about the disciples. It’s message was about judging people who may cuss or do other things that don’t seem Christian after they were saved, and their points apply here as well. (By the way, to give credits, this was by Preston Sprinkle on faithit.com)

We all admire the disciples, right? Especially Peter. Well, he had that one bad stint where he denied Jesus (I’m sensing a pattern here…) but other than that, he was pretty close to Jesus! In Luke 9, he was the one who recognized Jesus as the Son of God. Peter denied Jesus and even cursed himself to prove it (Matthew 26:74). Also in Luke 9, James and John wanted to destroy a whole village because they did not welcome Jesus. Simon “the Zealot” (according to Preston Sprinkle, I have not checked this information) and all the other zealots were basically “Jewish jihadists” who killed people. And Matthew was a tax-collector. I like how Preston Sprinkle described this; he said it would be like “you found out that your childhood friend was making a living…funneling money to ISIS” (side note, if you can look up this article, you should. Preston Sprinkle does a good job putting this information into modern, easy-to-understand terms and the whole article was really good thoughts). That’s five of the disciples right there who would be the LAST people you’d imagine being great Christians, and Jesus chose them as his disciples. In Luke 9 (again) it says that the disciple argued about who was the greatest at one point. Can you imagine that conversation? “Murderer!” “Backstabber!” “Hotheads!”. I can’t help but remember when Jesus said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the ill”. There are times I almost wish I didn’t grow up in a Christian family, that I knew the dirt of the world, because then I’d be able to understand God’s grace so much better. But I wonder how much harder my life would have been.

So, yeah, I’m not good enough. But Jesus didn’t associate with those who were “good enough” (we see the pharisees as prideful, bad people, but in that day they were the people who were “good enough”). Jesus associated with the people that would make many Christians today recoil. He associated with the people whose faith would be questioned in today’s world. He associated with those people. So the biggest thing I should worry about is whether or not my heart is chasing God.

You’re not good enough either. That’s okay. Neither were the disciples. Neither was David. Neither was Soloman.

Am I Rebellious?

Rebel. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear this word? Maybe it’s disgust (in which case, I advise you think about what God says about love). Maybe it’s that idea of a cool kid. You could imagine fear, terror, suppression, excitement, energy, life. But can we really think about this, just for a moment? In our world, the word rebel can have all of those meanings, or none of them. Being a rebel can be good – the apostles and Jesus himself were essentially rebels. But it can also be bad, like when a school kid flaunts the rules simply because they’re rules. But here is the difference – when you are rebelling against something, in order for it to be good it has to line up with God’s heart and will. If it doesn’t line up with his heart and will, it becomes rebelling in a bad way. While I could apply this to all sorts of situations in today’s world, I really wanted to talk about something else.

I just got back to my dorm room. I’ve been watching anime pretty much all day, and my Bible has been sitting beside me – open – all day. I got back from picking up supper, and this verse I skimmed yesterday popped out at me. Hosea 14:9, “The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” This kinda hit me. A few posts ago, I posted about a certain sin I struggle with. My first thought went to that, especially because I have failed in that recently (transparency, people). Then I started thinking more…in the post before that one, I had mentioned how I hadn’t really sat down with God recently.And you know what? To my shame, I still haven’t. So while I think about these things, I realize…am I being rebellious? I know all the blabber about how we’re human and of course we rebel, it’s natural. I covered this is an offhand way my second and third posts. If it’s mainstream, it doesn’t often affect me. Heard that, been there, moving on. And, as I mentioned in my third post, if I said that stuff I would be making excuses. So let me pound this into my brain for a few seconds: I am rebelling against my Lord, my God, and the one who saved my life every single time I don’t live in Him. Every single time! I’m not just failing, I am rebelling! And I can understand it. Before I failed last time, I could think stuff through. I knew I should direct my thoughts elsewhere. I felt like God was with me, almost a holy feeling, and I knew that if I did it anyway that feeling would go away. I purposely chose to disobey my Lord. How often do we do that? How often do we lie to ourselves about it? The old pastor of my church had a message once, probably when I was in sixth or seventh grade. He was asking people how many thought they were a good person, or okay. A lot of people raised their hands. Then he asked how many of us thought we were “bad” people – I don’t have a way to explain what he meant right now. There were much fewer hands raised, and mine was among them. It’s something I struggle with that causes me to pull away from God – the knowledge that I am an ugly sinner and I can’t seem to do anything about it. I know all the stuffing about how of course that’s true, we can’t wait until we’re good, that’s why God sent his Son – but it still kills me often. Then my pastor said something else – he said that those of us in the second group were…closer to God or something, I don’t actually remember. My hand shot down. I’ve always had this impression about people in the church that they’re better Christians than I am. I see someone obviously failing and I struggle with pride – in case that phrase alone didn’t tip you off – and I look around at others and feel like they’re on a level that I can never reach and that they’ll all be better Christians than me forever. Saying it now I think How stupid is that? but it’s still not something I’ve conquered. Maybe I never will. But how often do we lie to ourselves? How often do we say “I don’t struggle with that“? I can tell you, ’cause this applies to me to…if you’re saying that, you probably either do or will soon. I think of it like an invitation for satan to come mess that up, because if nothing else there’s pride at work there. It’s hard. Where do you say “I need to understand that I’m human and make mistakes” versus “I am rebelling against God”? How often do we look at people who do drugs and feel pity for them and thank God we’re Christian? Especially lately, I’ve been wondering…isn’t my sin like a drug? Maybe it’s better, maybe it’s worse but…one of the reasons it’s hard is because it feels like it helps me. It feels like it relieves stress. And, perhaps more importantly, is the other stuff. It satisfies cravings and desires and alleviates doubts and insecurities that I don’t know would be satisfied/alleviated otherwise. I have plenty of self-esteem. I know my own worth. But sometimes… We lie to ourselves. We rebel against God and lie to ourselves about it. We aren’t just failing no matter how it seems like it. We are rebelling. Actively rebelling. But now…think about how God must feel. Oh. My. Word. I know how frustrated I get and how much pain I feel when a younger child or a friend does something I told them not to because I was trying to protect them. How must God feel? We fail him every single day, and sometimes we don’t even realize it. And it’s not just one or two of us…it’s millions of us! I recently had my mom tell me that she didn’t think I had enough self-confidence for something, I forget what. I was confused. But her response…she wasn’t sure what else it could be. She felt that I put her and my best friend – the one I call a sister – down. Often. I don’t want to think about that. I don’t want to have to wonder if I do it. I thought I tried to go out of my way to avoid hurting the people I cared about. I’ve been working on holding my tongue. But now…how many times have I felt the tiniest, tiniest wiggle of unease as I mocked my mom in front of my grandparents? Telling myself I was teasing her? Which to an extent is fine, but…have I pushed it too far? I recently had a conversation with my friend where I admitted that – during a conversation she thought I was insulting her intelligence in – I had just realized I’d felt threatened by her desire to get in advanced classes because I had always been the smart one and she had always been the social one. She attracts people like moths to flame. But to think that I might have been putting them down

I don’t know. Have I been lying to myself? Just how rebellious have I been? I don’t even know. But I think, tonight, that I will be doing a lot more praying and thinking than I had originally planned.