Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Women Living Well book study: Chapters 4-6 discussion + study guide

This is the second week of our Women Living Well Study. You can find all previous study posts here.

How was your second week of studying? I loved reading all of your discussions last week! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!! It's so fun to discuss this together! :D

I really enjoyed this week's reading, but it was definitely a hard week of facing the truth, wasn't it? ;)

Let's go ahead and dig into chapters 4-6...

Chapter 4: The Effects of the Media Revolution

Oh, this chapter steps all over my toes in a good way. :) I love how Courtney starts with this:

"Media is amoral. In and of itself it is neither good nor evil. It is our use of it that determines its morality." {p. 37}

Media isn't my main problem. :) I'm my main problem. I love soaking in everything the internet has to offer- keeping up with friends, interacting with other women, instant knowledge of every kind {I don't even have to remember anything anymore!}, ways to do anything and everything... it could go on forever. I could spend every waking hour in front of the computer and still have more to look at or learn.

It's so good, and yet so bad for me sometimes, because not only does it take my mind to other places- it takes my attention off of God and my husband and family the most. And while my intentions are good, it can easily take my thoughts to envy and coveting what my neighbors have. Spending time on the internet gives me more knowledge like Courtney mentions, and yet it divides my attention and focus at the same time.

Blogging presents a whole new world of issues for an internet/knowledge lover like me. "I want to" turns into "I have to"- and I find that because I blog, I need to be even more aware of how the computer pulls me in. I have legitimate reasons to be online, but I don't want to live my life out in front of a screen. This week, it's hit me that I need to become more intentional about what I do online. Mindless window shopping or Pinterest surfing might not be the best thing to wind down when I spend so many hours online each day already.

Not only that, I realized this last week that I've fallen into a very bad habit of checking my email on my phone first thing in the morning before devotion time. Nothing online is that pressing, you know? It can wait. When I do check my phone first I notice my anxiety level goes up, and I keep thinking of what I need to respond to in my prayer time. That's not good for staying focused on Jesus.

In the past, I've shut down my Facebook account completely for weeks and I found I had so much more free time and I hardly missed anything that was going on. Can you believe it? If you want to do it- you can deactivate your account and it will save your information for when you decide to re-activate it. I can tell you firsthand, freedom from checking Facebook is a wonderful thing!

I've also done the 12 hour challenge since I started blogging. For a few weeks I turned off the internet for 12 hours each day, and gave myself two 15 minute check-ins so that I would stop feeling so split-brained and unfocused from multi-tasking all day long. And oh my, I was so shocked at how hard it was to turn off that silly computer! It's become such a huge part of my day that fasting from it was actually difficult!

This week my goals have been to leave the beeping phone behind while I do chores around the house, and to avoid looking at my phone until after I do morning devotions {which I started doing again this week for the first week since the baby has been here!}. Both of these have been so good for my brain and heart this week already!

I want to be able to hear THE Voice before any other voice. I want to hear His voice instead of listening to what the world says I should have or do or want. You know what I mean?

I want to remember this quote from Courtney as she closed out the chapter- I think it's such a great reminder to help me monitor my time and thoughts as I go online:

"Information is a cheap substitute for the wisdom that comes from God."

Chapter 5: Never Walk Alone

Going it alone is, without a doubt, one of the most common and effective strategies that Satan uses to discourage moms. A woman alone in her home with her ideals eventually wears down and becomes a perfect target for Satan to discourage. Sally Clarkson, Desperate  {WLW, p. 45}

Do you have a Titus 2 mentor in your life? We had a Titus 2 panel at our women's event last month and it was incredible. We only had 45 minutes of listening to 4 ladies answer questions, but it was such a gift to hear wisdom from those who've walked it before. I felt encouraged to know these Proverbs 31 ladies had been through some of the same things I am, and they'd made it through! :) Seriously though, it was wonderful.

I think one of the reasons I wanted to do this study here on the blog was that it is so good for us to walk together in community through some very practical Titus 2 advice from Courtney! I love that we all get to be online together and get to know each other and answer each other's questions. What a blessing it is to live in a time where we can meet together from thousands of miles apart! :D

You can also join a GoodMorningGirls group for a semester online and walk through a study with a group of ladies from all over the world!

Since we started homeschooling full-time again, I've been able to go to another Bible study with girls from my church- and again I can't tell you how comforting and encouraging it is to be in community and learn with other sisters in Christ. If you have a chance to meet regularly with other women who love Jesus, try and do it!! :D

Chapter 6: The Time-Warp Wife

Being a helper to your husband is not embraced by the world, but I love how Courtney addresses the role of women with these Scriptures on page 57:
  • God created wives to be helpers to our husbands (Gen. 2:18).
  • God commands wives to respect our husbands (Eph. 5:33).
  • God commissions our husbands to be leaders of the home (Eph. 5:22–24). 
It's so good to be reminded of what the Bible says, and I love how she mentions that every marriage will look different, but she also says to remember that "you were created specifically to be the helper of your man."
God gave you this ministry! It is a ministry specific to you- a job no other woman can do {and not to mention a job we'd want no other woman to the words of Matt Chandler- are you tracking with me here?}. 

You can praise your husband, you can serve your husband, you can meet his needs in ways no one else can and that itself is a blessing because it gives you a chance to show the love of Christ every single day as you minister to him! 

By respecting him, by letting him lead, and by helping him you are fulfilling the commands of the Word of God. I wonder- do we take it this seriously though? I know I don't often enough. In fact, lots of times I can convince myself that I'm "helping" my husband be more tidy {according to my standards anyway} by nagging him to pick something up, but I know the truth. That habit is no good! 

I love the 5 ways to respect your husband listed on page 62. I need to set these in a reminder on my phone every day just as practical reminders of how to respect my husband! 

And then this quote: 

"Oftentimes we disrespect our husbands out of selfishness. We are not getting our way or what we want, so we go the route of criticizing, crying, or pouting." {p. 64}

Ouch again, no? This was convicting! Thinking back to nearly every time I've nagged or criticized or have said harsh, ugly things to my husband, it's been because I didn't get what I wanted. It's pride- it's placing myself and what I want higher above him and what he wants.

And then this:

"But why is it that women tend to cry and men tend to get angry? Because crying is often the result of a woman feeling unloved, and anger is often the result of a man feeling disrespected." {p. 64}

Wow. I've never realized that before, have you? Just realizing that my husband gets angry when he feels disrespected could make a difference in the way I react in the middle of an argument. It's an instant reminder for me to check my spirit and my words and respect my husband.

And another way to dissolve friction in our marriages? I'm sure it won't be easy, but I think it works miracles in our marriages to let our man take the lead:

"Submission is a heart attitude that will be displayed in our actions. We humbly allow our husbands to take the lead. When we allow the husband to take the lead, friction and chaos within marriage are resolved because this is the God-ordained order for marriage." {p. 65} {I love that she follows this with a real-life story of how hard it really is! :D}

God is so good to us- I know that the times I've followed my husband's lead and shown him respect by giving him priority that God has blessed it and my husband has responded to me with love in so many ways. I'm a very blessed woman to have such an amazing husband who loves me so very well- he has been the picture of Christ to me. Seriously. I mess up with the respect thing all the time, and yet my husband is so very good to me! 

Marriage is one of the most challenging places to live out the commands of the Lord, but the benefits of obedience far surpass the work! My prayer this week is that we can live out what God has called us to do in our marriage, and that He will help us respect our husbands as we should and give up our desire to control and criticize them, and that He will bless our efforts to love on our husbands! 

Oh dear Jesus, we thank you for your Word- we thank you for Titus 2 women like Courtney and those in our lives who can model how to walk out the commands you've given us. Thank you for husbands- thank you for allowing us to walk in relationships that model who you are. Please help us to live out what you want for us- please give us strength to control our tongues, Holy Spirit, we beg for your help as you know our weaknesses in our marriages, and in being online. Please change our hearts to want only what you desire for us in every area- and especially in our media time and the words we speak to our husbands this week. We love you and praise you for your marvelous deeds, Father! You are so good to us. In the name of Jesus we ask for help this week. Amen.


Let's discuss! 
Please feel free to reply to anyone's comments below! 
{Oh, and it would be so nice if you leave your name somehow so that we know who you are. :D Anonymous can be a popular name these days! hehehe :)}

Did you make any changes to the way you spend time on the internet this week? 
I stopped looking at my phone until I had morning devotions {which were possible thanks to my husband taking the baby!}

How did you show your husband love this week?

And I'd love to hear what you wrote for this: what does submission look like in your home? How does your husband lead you in your marriage? {and remember, it will be different for everyone, so please be gracious if you have an opinion. ;)} 

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