Chambersburg, PA

Sacrificial Love – More of You and Less of Me

Hilltop Dreams by Benjamin Random, edited

Hilltop Dreams by Benjamin Random, edited

Loving sacrificially is the ultimate goal I aspire to achieve in all that I do, however  . . . one thing continues to creep in and hinder this holy objective . . . “ME!”

For years, and when I say years I mean my whole marriage, I have lived with the mindset that a husband and wife should make their expectations clear and commit to fulfilling them. As long as both agree to do this, both will continue to have those expectations met, and “feel” happy and loved. (Just so you know, this is NOT an example of sacrificial love! This is some crazy concept that I conjured up in my controlling mind.)

At the time this sounded reasonable in theory, and yet over ten years of marriage it somehow failed at being properly executed. “Feelings” of happiness and love frequently eluded us, and instead frustrations and resentment became familiar fixtures in our home.

Day to day, life generally played on very nicely . . . that is until we would bump into one of these rigid fixtures. It typically looked something like this:

“I made the dinner, so you should do the laundry.”

“I filled the trash, so you should empty it.”

“I put the kids to bed last night, so tonight is your turn.”

I kept trying to work under this theory that everything should be equal.  That all things should be done to what my standards and expectations dictated.

Whenever that didn’t happen, whenever “I felt” I was fulfilling my half of the unspoken arrangement more than he was . . .  I would go on strike.

I would refuse to make dinner, I would let the trash overflow onto the floor, and the kids could just go to bed when they got tired. (Totally pathetic. I know!)

As if that wasn’t enough to express my deep displeasure, I would also withhold my love. I made it very clear that he was not to talk to me, shouldn’t dare look at me, and if he wanted to continue to live  . . . he best not try to touch me until he met all of my expectations!

This cycle repeated for years.

Then one day after displaying these behaviors, I felt the Lord speaking to me and He asked, “Is that how I treated you? Did I wait till you did everything my way, and then I loved you and meet your needs?”

My answer was a resounding “No”.  That “no” began to echo off the hardened interior walls of my heart, loosening the calloused layers as the fullness of my first, sweet encounter with Christ replayed in my mind . . . afresh and anew.

No . . .  no . . .  that was not at all the way Jesus treated me.  In fact it was the complete opposite.

He pursued me, even as a sinner that was violating His ways.

He helped me, even though I gave Him no thanks.

He accepted me, even when I rejected Him.

He loved me. Right were I was.  Just as I was.

When I was a disobedient mess.  A hopeless cause.  A shame filled, broken nothing . . . He loved me.  And that love is a transforming power that set me free . . . and forever amended me.

That love, in the bible, is referred to as “agape love”. It is an unconditional love, a sacrificial love, that is always giving. It devotes total commitment to seek the highest best for another person, no matter how they may respond. This form of love is totally selfless and does not change whether the love given is returned or not, merited or not, requested or not.

From this a familiar verse took on a fresh meaning to me. “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

This command includes me loving my husband. I am to love him, as Christ has loved me . . . sacrificially.

That means with out expectations, regardless of his responses, and even on days I don’t think he deserves it . . . I am to love him regardless of how “I feel”.

As I began to listen to Christ, and place this command into action, something changed.

Within me.

Within my husband.

A brand-new level of freeness was born into each of us. I saw how that same sacrificial love that first transformed me all those years ago, was now flowing through me again, refashioning me more into His image, while remolding my marriage as well.

This type of love, this sacrificial love has to be the most powerful force in the world. It took Jesus to the cross. It sets sinners free. It restores broken souls, and even broken marriages.

But we must first be willing to deny our own wants at times, set our needs aside, and live as Christ.

We have to get the “ME” out of the way.

Whether this is something you are struggling with in your marriage, with a family member, or even a coworker, the bottom-line is all the same.  We must be willing to lay down the “ME” and be filled up with the “JESUS!” Only then will we be able to love sacrificially, and see the true powers of our Great Lord!  His ways will always be exceedingly better than any crazy concept we conjure up in our minds.

I want to see His amazing powers alive in our lives and relationships, and if you do too, let’s pray for this together.

Dear Lord Jesus,

The prayer of my heart is to be filled with more of you and less of me. Help me everyday to live as you have commanded me. Help me to see and understand your love on a deeper level, and fully receive your love, just as I am. Help me to let go of my ways, my hurts, and my frustrations so I can fully walk in Your ways, Your love, and Your peace. Lord Jesus, I bring my broken life, my broken pieces to you, and ask to be a vessel that you pour your love through onto other people. May your powers and ways be alive in my life.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

This is the seventh post in a series on becoming “Spirit Led Wives”. If you have been following these posts we have dove deeper into understanding more about our role as wives, and how to actively live and love as Christ.  These past seven weeks have led us right to Valentine’s Day.  In honor of this day that we celebrate love, here is a chance to receive some love from me in the form of a giveaway.

couples giveaway(Kit includes: Super soft throw blanket, two coffee cups, scented candle, “The Five Love Languages” book, and some yummy dark chocolates)

To enroll to win this “Coffee Cuddle Kit” all you have to do is first leave a comment below about someone you love (it can be anything about anyone you love) and second share this post on your Facebook page. (For easy access go to Seven Swans Ministries Facebook Page and click share under this post.)

Wednesday I will randomly select someone to win and message you through Facebook.

Praying all you Ladies feel the love of Christ this week and show His love to others!

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: [btn text=”Facebook” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”https://www.facebook.com/sevenswansministries.org?pnref=lhc”] – [btn text=”Twitter” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”https://twitter.com/sevenswansmins”] – [btn text=”Pintrist” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”http://www.pinterest.com/sevenswansmins/”] – [btn text=”Website” tcolor=#008000 bcolor=#FFF link=”http://sevenswansministries.org”]

12 thoughts on “Sacrificial Love – More of You and Less of Me”

  1. nancy allison says:

    As we share what we have learned it helps us and others grow too. Thanks Diane for helping marriages!

  2. Jada Hines says:

    Well I choked up halfway through because I too struggle with those types of expectations you once had in your marriage. I have been convicted of those ways in the past and did set out to change my ways. Its definitely a struggle when you have little ones, and both people are tired. Everything I say and do should honor God. This is a good reminder to keep loving without expectations…and out of sacrificial love for the man God blessed me with. That being said Jonathan is my husband and is the love of my life. Thank you Diane for being open about a struggle in your marriage.

  3. Anita McIlveen says:

    After 44 years of marriage I am still learning and God is still helping me. In our marriage it somehow became a little contest to see which one gets the other a card for special holidays. I must say, my husband wins more often than I do!

  4. Stacey Zimmerman says:

    Diane,
    Your blog has become a regular on my reading list. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  5. Denise Ramirez says:

    Wow out of all the 7 blogs through this series, this has touched me the most. Believe it or not, I was that same type of wife who had lots of expectations for my husband and I wanted to change my husband to be who I wanted him to be. But God spoke to me very clear one day and basically told me to focus on myself and my relationship with Jesus and the things that I needed the Lord to change in me!! Thank God for God and thank God for sisters like you!! Diane, you truly inspire me!!! Keep allowing God to use you to reach so many women!!!! ♡

  6. Desiree Smith says:

    This post was just what I needed to hear today. Sometimes its “easier” to just get angry or frustrated with your partner then it is to do what God wants you to do. Like you have said before, I need to keep my eyes on Jesus and obey God. Diane im thankful God has placed me on a path where I could meet you. In just a short time, I have learned much and been able to focus on what really matters.

  7. Tiffany says:

    Darn it, Diane, you’ve got to stop hitting the nail on the head so often. Another ouch post… I am totally guilty of these expectations and have even reacted in many of the same ways. It was much easier to love sacrificially when it was still a dating relationship, but doing so 24/7 is another story! LOL Thank you for another honest and convicting post!

  8. Danielle Cool says:

    Wow. Powerful. Absolutely powerful! It’s amazing how just a simple post on Facebook will lead you to the Words God wants you to hear (read). This post is definitely something God wanted me to be aware of. Thank you!!
    And the comment about anything I love about anyone..I could be a typical teenager and write about my boyfriend. But I think I’m going to stand out this evening. The anyone I want to write about is..my dad. He’s the first guy I have ever loved. He’s the only guy on earth who won’t break my heart. He’s my hero. We haven’t always had a stable relationship in the past. But through the years we have done so much to make the relationship between us worth cherishing. I love my dad!

  9. Emily says:

    I was up in the middle of the night (because of a certain someone snoring) thinking about how I do “everything” around the house….having my own pity party as I do often. I know that I am to love my husband as God loves me. It’s a choice that I don’t always make the right choice. My “what about me” mentality gets in the way way too often. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement.

  10. Laure says:

    this was definitely an “ouch” moment but much needed. I’ve always thought that I loved Bob and my kids as much as I could but this makes me come to realize, yes! Many times I put conditions on that love. I too want to Love as JESUS loves!! Thanks for your heart!!

  11. Kristy says:

    I love my daughter and how her love at such a young age is so powerful. She is one of the many blessings God has given me. This was an eye opener and I can remember specific times even this morning when I was so caught up in myself when my little girl just wanted to enjoy breakfast time with me. Thank you for this opportunity to be more aware of “me.”

  12. Christa says:

    Diane,
    Shew girl… What a beautiful, insightful, and spirit-led post. Lots to chew on here! Thanks for being so open and transparent!

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