“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:25-30
As I indicated last week, the above passage was what God used to open my eyes to and which delivered me from what I did not know was an ego trip. How?
If you are like my wife and I, you probably have thrown the passage in Ephesians 5 at your spouse a couple of times from a parochial, one-sided, conditional approach. Let me explain. Whenever my wife tried to assert herself or wasn’t budging on an issue, I was quick to throw “Wives, submit to your husband AS YOU DO UNTO THE LORD” at her. Conversely, when it was her turn, she would promptly throw “Husbands, love your wives AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH”.
My immediate answer was always, “How do you expect me to love someone who finds it difficult to submit?”
Until one day when, as I was about to use that line of defence, I was stopped in my tracks by what seemed an audible voice that said, “Read that scripture again, slowly. Where do you find a condition attached to the command to love? What condition did you fulfil before Jesus died for you? Take responsibility for obeying the instruction that pertains to you and let your wife take responsibility for hers.”
I immediately conveyed this to my wife and both of us had a mental reset that straightened out our home. Meanwhile all the time our troubles lasted, we thought it was the devil that was out to scatter our marriage! I learnt through this that great marriages don’t just happen. They are products of two people taking individual and joint responsibility for the outcomes they desire to see.
Every human tragedy is an indication of someone rupturing the responsibility chain at some point. We are 100% responsible for our choices and consequently, our outcomes. According to Dr. Robert Resnick, every outcome we get in life is a result of how we responded to an earlier event or events in our lives. He represented this concept with a formula, E+R=O (Event + Response = Outcomes).
Very often, we blame the events for our lack of results. We blame our limited education, the economy, the government, our spouse, the political environment, social stigma etc. Without a shadow of doubt, these factors do exist and they affect us in some ways but they don’t ultimately decide our outcomes. We do; because we are the ones who decide HOW these things would affect us! Whatever you give as your crippling referenced experience will eventually become your best excuse and your number one limiting factor. While you sit helplessly and moan over the excuses and limiting stories you have told yourself over and over until they became your reality, there are people who forge ahead in spite of those same conditions and become hugely successful. No man has ever risen beyond the best excuses that he gives for his limitation. A man was once asked what they make in his place of work. His answer? “We make a lot of excuses”!
Recession cycles have been known to produce a significant number of multimillionaires. Adversity is always a bedrock for prosperity. If it can happen for some, why can it not happen for you? Begin to take responsibility for your responses and actions in order to better regulate your outcomes. Like an echo chamber, life simply amplifies what you send into it and sends it back to you. The things that actually stop you are from within you, not outside you. You, not the tobacco company, smoked the cigarette that gave you lung cancer. You took up the destructive habit and ignored warning signs. You committed the crime. You wasted time on trivia and idle chatter instead of setting and pursuing goals. You are in debt because you constantly spend more than you make. You told the lie that got you into trouble. You avoided what you should have confronted. You ate the junk food that made you obese and unhealthy.
If you don’t like your outcomes, simply change your responses. You cannot change the events. You have little control over that. But you can change your thinking, your utterances, your mental images and referenced narratives. Old habits that you refuse to kill will only continue to deliver to you the same old outcomes!
Our response to anything is predicated on the choices we make after considering all available options. We make our choices and our choices eventually make – or mar – us!
Two colleagues got a bonus of two million Naira each from their employers (Event). One immediately hit the market, bought new furniture, bought a 72” flat-screen Oled TV complete with Home Theatre and changed the carpet and curtains of his rented apartment. The balance he spent on pimping his car and changing the tyres.
His colleague on the other hand, went to an estate agent and bought two plots of land with the entire money. Same event, two different responses. And the outcome(s)?
Two years later, the company laid off staff and the two of them were affected. Three months into unemployment, the first guy was so broke that he began to pawn some of the things he had acquired, just to feed himself and his family. The other guy who delayed gratification was not fazed. In the space of two years, land had appreciated significantly in the area where he bought land as a result of the location of a few corporate giants in the area. He was able to sell one of his plots for ten million Naira and he used the proceeds to start a business that went ahead to flourish significantly. He ended up employing his former colleague!
If you want to change your outcomes in life, you may need to change your paradigms, your circle of relationships, your thoughts, the books you read, the messages or teachings you listen to. More importantly, you will need a change of habits.
How will this happen? For every department of your life where you want a different outcome, you will need to apply a replacement therapy.
I will examine this in the concluding part next week… continued
Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!
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