I still do this. I love to read and my Amazon cart gradually fills up about once a month. Learning is great. Acquiring knowledge is fun. But every so often I hit a wall and realize that I am just totally dry. I've learned a lot but all that learning has gone nowhere. I may have read 20 books about parenting but I'm still frustrated and clueless. I may write a marriage blog but I am baffled about how to handle the latest little misunderstanding. I recently realized that I was forcing myself to follow a checklist to read through the Bible in the year but all that Scripture reading wasn't affecting how I spoke to my kids (i.e. not yelling).
Sometimes it is possible to get puffed up on knowledge without ever putting it into practice.
It will never help our marriages if we study Ephesians 5 to death and pick apart what it actually means to respect our husbands and submit to him but never actually respect him. It will never help us if we read lots of books about how to have great sex if we're always "too tired" to make love. It does no good for us to feel guilty about neglecting our friendship with him in favor of spending quality time with the kids if we never make an effort to change it.
In fact, James 4:17 says, "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."
Whoa. Sin. To know what we're supposed to be doing and then not doing it.
We all do this. For several months after our third child was born, Dave and I really struggled to bounce back into a normal sex life. After the first two, it honestly wasn't that hard for us, but the third one? Totally different story. I was struggling with postpartum depression (also new the third time around) and I just really didn't want to make the effort to make love. There were many tearful conversations...a few arguments...and at least one, "You write all these great things on your blog, but we're not having sex!" from my husband. Now you could argue that I was tired...depressed...physically drained and that would be true. You could assure me that it was understandable that I wasn't prioritizing sex. You could even tell my husband that he should back off and not pressure me (and he really didn't, but that doesn't mean he wasn't hurt and frustrated). But the problem in my heart was that I knew I wasn't trying. I knew all the Scriptures about not depriving one another and about God's purpose for intimacy in marriage. I knew I was ignoring him. I knew I needed to find some way to prioritize and enjoy a sex life again. But I was choosing not to. For me, that was sinful. It was an attitude that I needed to repent of and pray hard about. In fact, without prayer, there's no way it could have changed. I literally had to pray myself back into a sexual wife. I had to trust God to work in me and also choose to act differently.
We all have different areas in which we know the right thing to do and then don't do it. What is it for you? Do you know you have a snotty tone of voice when you talk to him? Do you know you're critical? Do you know you're ignoring his desire for you to consider a job outside the home or quit your current job to stay home? Do you know you're choosing to dress like a slob when he's expressed that he'd love to see you in a pair of jeans once in a while? Do you know you're always thinking negatively about him? Do you know you've neglected him in favor of your kids?
What are you going to do about it? If you're being convicted, you cannot ignore it. You can't stay where you are. If marriage is, as author Lauren Winner calls it, the "School of Sanctification", we have to realize that God wants to transform you into the likeness of Christ. God will work in you to change you, but at the same time, you have to cooperate in that work.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13)Let's be the kind of wives who are willing to do some self-examination, acknowledge where we are falling short but refuse to stay at the knowledge stage. Let's get down and dirty and put in some hard work participating in our own sanctification.
Sharing with: Thought Provoking Thursday, Thoughtful Thursday, Hearts for Home Thursday, Raising Mighty Arrows,Christian Mommy Blogger, Missional Women, T.G.I.F @Bible Love Notes