Song of Solomon 2

Song of Solomon 2:3-6
Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. 4 Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. 5 Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.6 His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

Mark 12:31
“And the second, like it is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself”

Do we ever view our husbands as our neighbor?  The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as yourself?  I mostly think of the irritating people that use to live next door who would park in my driveway, in my pathway up to my front door, and even had their car in plants, which pulled off my Christmas lights.  I had to jump into action to love them. Convince myself I was doing my best to love them. Make them cookies, bringing them a hot cooked meal, and passing my boys clothes onto their younger ones and smile and wave when going out to my car.  They were not ever giving back to me what I believed I deserved yet through much prayer and the supernatural love God poured into me I could love them.

What if I asked you to forget about what you need from your husband? Or forget about what you deserve from him.  Would you be mad at me? Think I am losing it?  Grumble?  What if I asked you to focus on your heart for just one week, and not his, would you grumble some more? What if I asked you to not say the word “I”? Even if it was on the edge of your lips could you stop cold mid-breath?  Could you do that?

I have needs. I need help. I do not want to do this by myself.  I deserve more of this, that, time to myself. I have worked hard all day. I don’t have anything more left to give. I need to run errands alone. I need to take care of me first.  I need you to watch the kids for a while. I need help with the dishes. I really need to take a nap. I need you to get this done for me.

When I was 18 years old I was running along a little village street, in the wee early hours, in Lucerne, Switzerland. I was running with a family friend. Father Rock.  What an honor to run with a man who loved Jesus passionately and spoke boldly of that love.  I was always one to observe the behaviors of others, especially a godly man such as Father Rock.  I loved watching him talk with people. He had this way of making the person he was speaking with feel like they really mattered.  I asked him a question while out one of our early morning runs.  “What are you thinking about when you talk with people?”  I went on to explain to him that I wanted to be able to have others feel loved and cared for in the way he did.  He went on to tell me that he started, years ago, practicing not using the word “I”.  “I” meant that the focus would be on me, rather than the person I am with.”  If he removed “I” it meant he had to learn how to ask questions about the other person to take the focus off of him.

This past week I have been taking inventory of the use of the word “I” from my own mouth.  “Can I get some help here please?”  “I could use some help with the dishes.”  “I want to tell you about this new sweater.” (Really I have a good sweater story.)  “I am not ready to go yet.”  “I am so cold, can you turn up the heat.”  I think you get the picture.

This week, take inventory of where your focus begins and ends.  How often does “I” come before asking a question, or offering a helping hand?  It’s our natural sin nature to think of ourselves first.  It’s hard when we are inundated with messages that say it is all about me.  It is hard when we have put in a full day just living to not take that important person in our lives and asking for what we believe we need or deserve.

For the past week I have been practicing and praying before the words leave my lips.  Removing “I” from my dialogue with my husband.  Even asking him “what are you ordering?” rather than just saying “I am ordering the phili cheesestake.”  Asking him questions.  Being mindful of him and not me.  Here is how some of my “I’s” have changed this past week:

1. How was your workday, that meeting you were talking about? (Rather than talking non-stop about how “I” spent my day.)

2. Calling him at work and asking if he has a big appetite for dinner. (Rather than talking about how “I” am making this amazing dinner.)

3. Asking how he thinks we should handle a situation with our boys. (Rather than speaking up and saying “I” think…..)

These are just a few examples and yet as the week has unfolded it has become clear that David has a lot to say on many of these matters.  I find that I am learning more about his internal process and his heart on these matters.  It takes me taking an active step of self-control to begin to put David first and before me. It’s a special way of honoring him. If I can love my neighbor as myself I am better equipped when I walk out my front door to do the same.

Our neighbor, our husbands, that special person we rub shoulders with, share a bed, with and are commanded to love as we love ourselves. How can we begin to live this out daily.  I simply state and ask that you actively think first of your husband.  This week, try practicing a conversation without using “I”.  And then in a lovely fashion, when you have asked some questions, listen and then go and French kiss that man of yours.

Love and Blessings, Elizabeth
A French Kissing wife to David

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