Week Three - Part II

The World on His Shoulders.

A total of 76% of men Shaunti surveyed echoed this conviction: “I love my wife, but I can’t depend on her to provide. That’s my job. Period.”

Men not only carry this burden but an overwhelming majority carries it constantly. When asked under what circumstances do they think about their responsibility to provide for the family, 71% of men said it was always or often on their minds. There’s no respite; the knowledge of their responsibility is always pressing down on them.

This week, we will talk about how this responsibility must feel for a man—and what it means for you, even if you make a greater salary.

The provider element often leaves a man feeling pulled in several directions. He works hard to provide for his family, but that sometimes means taking time away from those he loves. If he loves his job, he is torn. If he is not particularly fond of what he does, work hours can sap his energy and enthusiasm, but he has to keep those paychecks coming in. All the while, he is very conscious of the family’s happiness and level of satisfaction with how things seem to be going.

This week’s challenge was to keep track of the number of times you show appreciation for all that your husband does in the area of provision. What imaginative ways can you find to lighten his “provider burden” a bit? Begin each day with a prayer that God will help you meet a new challenge. Practice every day. Continue to practice changes you are making form other Weekly Challenges.

How do the following scriptures help you understand a man’s driving need to provide?

Genesis 1 and 2:
God created man in Genesis to work & watch over the garden—Work and providing are the core of a man’s created identity. He doesn’t assume the role of provider. He doesn’t do it if he feels like it. God has assigned him this task and put this compulsion in his heart. It’s not about wanting to be the breadwinner; it’s about HAVING to be!

Exodus 35:
Moses is faced with the challenge of leading the people of Israel to build the Lord’s tabernacle. He had his instructions from God. The people may have wondered how this project was going to turn out, but Moses wasn’t worried. The Lord had given them wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work of constructing the sanctuary.

Proverbs 23:4
Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it. As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes winds for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky.

Can you remember the last time you complimented your husband on one of his God-given talents? What was his reaction?

Listen to the following day in the life of Rob:

Rob sank down onto the couch and rubbed his temples. His thoughts tumbled together. Could this day get any worse? If Elrod takes his account to another firm I don’t know what my boss will do with me. The third installment on Ethan’s braces is due next week! What if I lose my job? What did Martha say about Mandy’s glasses?
His misery was interrupted as his family rushed through the front door. Ethan ran to show him his new video game. Martha plopped down the armload of shopping bags beside him on the couch.
“We found some great deals, hon. I couldn’t resist! Mandy’s growing like a weed and practically needs a whole new wardrobe! How was your day?

Put yourself in Rob’s skin. What emotions are rising up at this moment?
Rob felt anger b/c those shopping bags represented a lack of respect for all he was doing to provide fro the family. B/C Rob knew things about his job that Martha didn’t, he also felt a gut-wrenching horror. He had to take a deep breath before he could answer, “We’ll talk about my day later.”

Just b/c come men are not articulate when it comes to describing their feelings doesn’t mean they do not experience a wide range of emotions. Maybe your man is very stoic. Perhaps you don’t always understand his feelings. Whatever his personality style, know that men experience emotional reactions to their inner fears just as we do!

Martha didn’t mean to be insensitive to Rob. She just took advantage of a good sale for a daughter who was outgrowing her clothes. That was a good thing! Just as our emotions are not always rational, a man’s may not be either.

One guy put it this way, “About sex, men are utilitarian, and women are emotional. About money, work, or providing, women are utilitarian, but men get emotional!”

Providing is a man’s way of expressing love to his family. At the same time, providing for the family may take him away from those he loves. It takes money to provide and it takes time to make money. If you are like Shuanti…she says you may find yourself complaining that the job that takes so much time is more important to him than they are. How can the poor guy win?

What about us (wives)?
As we better understand what is going on inside our men, we often have to make one-sided changes. The one person you can change is you! Shuanti talks about receiving many e-mails telling her about salvaged relationships b/c the woman made a decision to meet her husband’s inner needs, regardless of any changes he made.

Many of us have faced difficult financial seasons in recent years, and obviously it is hard then to feel as sense of gratitude. I understand that it may be hard for some of your to feel supportive of your main in this provider issue. It is easy to get nervous and want to blame our husbands or pressure them to “do something” differently.

This is one of those sensitive areas in which you need to try to make the decision to support him and show gratitude. Remember a man’s need to be respected and affirmed? B/c the role of provider is so ingrained in his inner core; he especially needs your trust in this area. It’s not always easy, but there are some actions you can take to make it more doable.

Read Luke 12:22-26 and notice Jesus’ first instruction to His disciples:

22Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[a]? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

What is God revealing to you about worry?

How can you worry affect your man?

What changes do you need to make?

A man doesn’t need added pressure. Those feelings of failure are never far away. He is already suffering while you’re asking, “What do I do when I can’t see how the bills will be paid or how we will make it in retirement?”

Remember Jesus’ reminder about worry in Luke 12:24?

24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

Shuanti remembers going through a difficult financial season with her husband…..she says the answer is to cast our cares for provision on the Lord rather than on our men. In the end, it is His job to carry the burden, even as He directs us. And He promises He will!

1 comment:

Chelsa said...

thanks again for posting these leah! i'm sure it takes up quite a bit of your time. i really really appreciate it though!