The Unbroken Woman blog is hosting The Respect Dare. Starting July 10, participants will be using Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband as a guide, posting about their journey. And I will be doing it with you!
I will need an emotional vacation after the Respect Dare process is finished. Over the past thirty-seven days, I have navigated an emotional landscape within myself that I didn’t know was there. I’ve pulled out memories that I didn’t know existed. I’ve felt broken day after day during some stretches. Then I’ll surface long enough to take a breath and feel on top of things, only to submerge myself again and deal with more of my gunk. And every once in a while, I actually enjoy myself a bit.
I want to invite you into this process with me for today, just so you can see what is involved.
A typical Dare begins with a story that shows us a woman who faces some aspect of what we’ll be asked to tackle. Then we have questions to journal about, followed by the Dare. I’m including a screenshot of today’s questions and Dare, just to give you a peek into how this process works. I have been good about my journaling. After all, I enjoy writing. Some of my journal entries are more substantial than others. Some are nearly incoherent. I always start out trying to answer the questions, but sometimes I end up with something completely different. I figure my mind goes where it needs to. My journal for today’s Dare is fairly typical, I think:
- The greatest challenge/progress I have made has been learning to separate my past from my present. I’ve glimpsed this a few times so know it is possible—but it isn’t yet comfortable. I’ve become more aware of times when my response is based on the past. I’ve been more open to hearing God throughout this process as well.
- The most rewarding part is that I feel God more. And that I have been able to actually stick with it. I’ve had doubts. If I hadn’t announced it on my blog, I would have quit on July 11. The embarrassment of giving up kept me going. Another reward has been hearing God in my heart in ways I rarely have before. I’ve been given some very clear and strong messages throughout this process: Rest. Let Jesus bring you to Me. Let go of the past. Be married to the man your husband is and can be.
Have I pleased God? I don’t know. I somehow can’t ever think in terms of whether I’m pleasing God. I think the fact that I’ve even tackled this is pleasing to God. You know, this question just feels unnatural to me. I’ve never, ever thought of being pleasing to God. I didn’t grow up with this. When I did hear phrases like “pleasing to God” or “what God wants,” I would roll my eyes and think of the speaker as brainless or sugary or holier-than-thou. I simply had no framework for understanding this in a positive way. Asking myself if I have behaved in a way that pleases God takes me so far outside my comfort zone that it’s a whole other world. My mind doesn’t know how to live in that world—but somehow, I know that my heart does.
Part of me recognizes that asking myself about whether I have pleased God challenges me to step away from who I used to be. I see with my mind that this is a good thing because of how much I let my past drag me down. I know with my heart that I have already stopped being that person in many ways. But I struggle with making the decision to actually choose to step away. If I step away from who I was, I have lost my identity and I don’t know who I am. Didn’t I deal with this in the early Dares? Isn’t this my biggest fear? At the same time as I feel tears that want to well up, I feel calm and know that I can probably figure out how to do this. I’m not ready just yet. But I think I’ll get there.
One of the struggles I have is figuring out what God wants. How do you obey when there are different ways of understanding scripture? Well, I know the answer to that one . . . I pray, because prayer doesn’t seem to lead me astray.
I know I have pleased God because I have prayed and have been sent a holy peace. I have grown in several ways that all move me closer to God.
- Um . . . I don’t know how to answer that without imagining I am God—but every area of growth has moved me closer in relationship with Him. Is that what He wants from me?
- I feel at peace.
After I respond to the questions in my journal, I move on to the Dare, which I also write about in my journal.
So I need to pray to want to please God and have Him help me do this, read Deut. 28, ask God for clarity about consequences, relate it to my marriage, and write down what comes to me. That’s a big order.
. . .
Okay, so, about Deuteronomy 28 . . . there’s a lot more about disobedience than about obedience. Why is that? Why is the list of blessings more general while the list of curses so long and very specific? This is just plain scary to me. Just looking at that list makes me feel more likely to fail than to succeed. Oh, wait, that’s what The Respect Dare says. Ha. I guess I’m not a very original thinker.
. . .[praying in progress]
Oh, here’s what God says to me . . . “It is because my blessings are so endless that they cannot be listed.” Um, like “To infinity and beyond”?
She says, “One of the few ways we can offer love back to God is by obeying him.” Okay, I get that….but I’m still suspicious. In a few days, am I going to be reading that one of the ways I can offer love to my husband is by obeying him? Because that just makes me nervous.
In my emerging ability to live in the present rather than the past or future, I’m not going to worry about where this is headed. For now, I am able to see that I have God’s peace within me. I know He sees me and loves me. If that is all I take away from this process, I am blessed beyond measure.
Read these other bloggers to learn about their experiences with the Respect Dare:
The Respect Dare Blog (author Nina Roesner)