When discouragement hits me in life and marriage, it’s often due to blindspots and problems I’ve been in denial about in my own life. That’s when it becomes easy to blame my husband for the tension and pain I’m feeling. But that only makes the situation worse!
If any of us want to head in the right direction in life and marriage, we need to stop and take a good hard look at ourselves.
But we can’t do this on our own!
This effort involves inviting God to give us insight into our hearts. He sees what’s lurking down in the depths so much better than we do!
If you’ve not taken my Insight into Self Inventory yet, click the link to evaluate yourself now.
I’ve taken this inventory and am sharing my own results below so you can see how this will work. No surprise to me, I see that I’m rather weak when it comes to how I view and feel about myself, which explains some of my marriage challenges. 😦
Your inventory can do the same for you. It offers coordinates that reveal where you’ve gotten off track, helping you to know where to get back on track.
What Insight into Yourself Reveals
1. I look to God for the ability to love myself, rather than focusing on my accomplishments, attractiveness, or personality to bolster my feelings.
Hover over Jeremiah 31:3 to hear God’s loving words to you.
I gave myself a “3” on this. Because I’m not strong here, it impacts how much I accept my husband’s affirmations about how I look. It also makes me needier—expecting my husband to bolster my fears about how much I’m accomplishing.
If you struggle here, you’ll likely expect your spouse to lift a burden that’s much too heavy for him/her. The good news is that the Lord can fully meet this need and demand easy peasy.
2. I spend more time and effort trying to please the Lord than trying to please and gain the approval of others.
Hover over Colossians 3:23 for the right focus.
I gave myself a “3” because I spend at least the same amount of time trying to gain the approval of others as I do of the Lord.
People, my husband included, are fickle. There’s often an awful lot of wasted energy spent here, leaving us discouraged. But God always responds positively to us when we seek to please Him!
3. When I fail, I am quick to look to God for encouragement and strength.
Hover over Philippians 4:13 to see all that God can do through you.
I gave myself a “5” on this because I’ve learned just how much better I feel when I do this.
If you don’t do this, you won’t be resilient when the blows of life and marriage inevitably come.
4. Most of the time, I feel great joy that I know comes directly from God and my relationship with Him.
Hover over Psalm 28:7 for insight on this.
I gave myself a “4” because, when and if I feel joy, I know it’s because of the Lord. My problem is that I do not always allow Him to give me joy, especially when life is hard.
If you struggle here, you’ll likely be very moody and maybe harder to get along with in your marriage. 😉
5. I rarely struggle with a lack of confidence; but when I do, I look to the Lord for encouragement.
Hover over Psalm 62:5-6 for the boost you need!
I ranked myself a “3” here. Because of this, I tend to overcompensate with arrogance and/or defensiveness in times of conflict with my spouse. You’ll likely do the same if you struggle here too.
6. I accept myself because I firmly believe that God created me skillfully, wonderfully, and uniquely.
Hover over Psalm 139:14 to see how God made you.
I gave myself a “4” here because I’m convinced of this truth! I just need to remember it more often when I second-guess myself.
If you struggle here, you might also have trouble with sex, feeling like your body is not attractive to your mate. This can cause a whole host of other problems in your marriage!
7. I’m aware of and embrace the unique calling and purposes God has placed on my life.
Hover over 1 Peter 2:9 to see some of the aspects of a Christ-follower’s identity.
I gave myself a “4” on this. It might be firmly in my mind, but is not something I stop to think about often enough.
If you aren’t aware of all aspects of your identity, click here to read more. Knowing and remembering these can encourage you when you question your role in life and marriage.
8. I put much more focus on the way my heart appears to God than the way I look to others.
I gave myself a “3” here because I spend way too much time on my appearance. This makes me vulnerable to discouragement as I age. Thankfully, my husband accepts and loves my aging body and face. 🙂
If you struggle here and your spouse doesn’t respond with acceptance, you’ll be tempted to look for someone’s validation—putting your marriage at risk!
9. When others try to condemn and/or shame me, I remind myself that God is for me and forgives me.
Hover over Romans 8:31-34a. But the main point to remember is: “Who then is the one who condemns?”
I graded myself a “4” here because I’m fairly quick to run to God for His forgiveness when I’m guilty, and for grace when I feel condemned by others.
If you struggle here, you’re probably already withdrawing from your mate—never a good move in marriage!
10. When my spouse and others reject me, I run to the comfort and safety of the Lord’s loving embrace.
Refer back to Romans 8:31-34a again for God’s promise.
I gave myself a “5” here because I’m firmly convinced that I’m never separated from Christ and bask in His love and forgiveness a LOT.
If you struggle here, you’ll struggle to remain steady in times of tension and conflict with your spouse. You’ll look for love in all the wrong places.
11. When my spouse or others confront me, I avoid defending myself and prayerfully weigh their words for how I need to change.
Hover over Romans 12:3 here.
I gave myself a “4” on this because I’ve learned the importance of being humble and letting God open my eyes to my sins and faults.
If you struggle here, you’ll remain in denial, likely relating in the worst possible ways to your mate. This could be the kiss of death to your marriage!
12. When I feel anxious and/or depressed, I routinely ask God for His peace to calm my fears and feelings.
Hover over Phil. 4:6-7 to see the choices you can act on that bring peace.
I gave myself a “5” on this because this is my habit. It took me years to develop this, but it has been one of the main reasons my marriage has moved from very messy to slightly messy in moments.
No spouse can shoulder this burden, though he/she can make it lighter.
Your job, however, is to turn your anxieties over to God. That’s where you’ll find the depth of comfort you need.
13. I am aware of and embrace the many positions and facets of my identity in Christ, reflecting on them to define myself.
Reflect again on 1 Peter 2:9. It’s rich with inspiring imagery!
I gave myself a “4” here and my answer and insights under #7 apply here as well.
14. I am very aware of and accepting of my limitations, avoiding the need to appear perfect.
Hover over Galatians 6:4-5 for insight into what your responsibility and limits are.
I gave myself a “4” because I don’t want to appear perfect, but I do expect more from myself than I should at times.
If you struggle to set realistic boundaries on your time and energy, you’ll end up burning out. This can also lead to bitterness—blaming your mate for choices you’ve actually made.
15. When more is being asked of me than I can manage, I look to the Lord for strength and courage.
Look at Galatians 6:4-5 again.
I gave myself a “5” here because when I feel burdened, I routinely ask the Lord for strength to complete the task.
If you’re pushing yourself too hard, trying to do life in your own strength, then you’re heading for a wall! Better to determine what’s truly your responsibility—letting go of what’s not—then trust God for the strength to accomplish the rest.
Be sure to focus in on one or two of your weak areas this week, doing what the corresponding Bible verse(s) encourage as your action point. For example: I’m going to work on #2, focusing on pleasing God whenever I’m tempted to be a people-pleaser.
I hope you’ll join me next week when we’ll be examining “humility” using an inventory to help you gauge that quality in your life. Click here to read more posts in this series.
Given the 15 insights from the inventory, what do you plan to work on and change in your life?
Which one of the insights is a strength for you, and how has this helped your life and/or marriage?
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