It’s Never Your Turn

I got a phone call yesterday, Sunday afternoon, from one of our daughters. It has become somewhat of a pattern to talk to each of our daughters on Sunday afternoon and I look forward to it, even though I often talk to them three or so other times each week. This daughter told me about taking the ferry to Seattle to visit a friend from DC days. My daughter told about riding the ferry BY HERSELF, taking a book and actually reading for 40 minutes uninterrupted! She then ate with this friend, BY THEMSELVES, visited for a while and then returned on the late ferry, BY HERSELF, with a chance to read once more. When telling me about this opportunity, she sounded a bit apologetic, as though she really shouldn’t have done it, or at least not enjoyed it so much. “Yes, you should enjoy it!” I told her. “How nice of your husband to facilitate your chance to meet your friend for dinner.”

I did not say, “You deserve a chance to get away.”, or “You’re at home with those three little boys all the time, it was your turn to get away.” It’s never our turn. A precious young lady shared that bit of wisdom at a bridal shower I attended Saturday as a bit of advice for the bride-to-be. It sounds so old-fashioned, out of date, doesn’t it? Yet it is the key to contentment.

What is in our child’s heart when they feel they have missed their turn? They fuss, cry, or throw a fit. What is in MY heart when I feel I have been overlooked or left out? I feel hurt, angry, spiteful, all ugly words that describe ugly feelings. When something special happens and I don’t expect it or feel it’s my due, I am  pleased, blessed, happy – all nice words that describe pleasant feelings.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 2: 3-8

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

 6 Who, being in very nature God,
   did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
   by taking the very nature of a servant,
   being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   by becoming obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!

Jesus is our example. If He humbled Himself, I must do likewise. I must not keep count and demand my turn. These verses say “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. ”

That does not mean we never get a night out, or a special time with other adults. When possible, a date night is especially nice. Yet these should not be events that are dictated by “turns”, but by a humble attitude of service. Then the enjoyment is a blessing to ourselves and an honor to God.

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4 thoughts on “It’s Never Your Turn

  1. Deanna says:

    Thank you so much for this post (I clicked a link Miss Hannah provided on Facebook). Yesterday I was visiting with my newlywed sister-in-law about some financial arguments her and her husband have been having. And honestly, they really boil down to the belief that her husband has that things should be “fair”. And I keep trying to tell her that marriage is not at all about fair. In fact, my husband said it best when he told me marriage is about giving and giving and trusting that your partner is doing the same. This post hits the nail on the head and I just so wish they were Christ-followers and I could appeal to them on this level. I’ll keep praying that God might just use this situation to grab their attention towards Him and His better way for us.

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  2. Hannah says:

    It’s really hard not to feel selfish and jealous about my husband getting to go to work, about him getting to eat out when he travels for work, and for not reading the boys a bedtime story because he was outside mowing- which just happened the other day for the first time. Thinking I am jealous about these things makes me feel awful and not at all supportive of him! Matthew works so hard for our family- and yes, he says I do, too, but thinking about how Christ was a servant REALLY puts this in Perspective! My challenge this month is that of the 30 days of June, Matt has to work 28 of them- 3 weekends. I am going to do my best to be really supportive and NOT resentful, have the house picked up each evening so he doesn’t get irritated, and just love on him for working so hard! Pray for me!

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  3. I do pray for you, Hannah, and for myself as well. I want to have a servant’s heart that will bless my Heavenly Father.

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  4. Abigail says:

    I definitely have the mind set that Greg and I should trade-off and take turns doing stuff. Not fun to read a reminder that I have a selfish attitude! The difficult and wonderful thing about marriage and family is that we learn to sacrifice self and give, give, give without expecting anything in return. It’s just so hard not to expect anything back! I must believe that God will recognize my heart and bless me when I feel unappreciated or resentful.

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