Renee and I just finished a little over a week’s vacation together. That is what it was—together time. We purposely schedule alone time together because our fast-paced lives are always around working with people and we are often pulled in different directions.
When we have our alone vacation time, we purpose to capture that quality time together. I’ve noticed something on this vacation. I noticed that I had many opportunities to prefer Renee. By that I mean let her choose what to do and when to do it. When I am going about my normal work day, I am just doing what I need to do; making and keeping my own schedule. I am basically doing what I have in mind to do. When we have vacation together, it’s not just about me—it’s about we! We travel in the car together. We decide where we are going to take a vacation. We decide how we are going to spend each part of our day. There is a whole lot of “we” going on. Consequently, there is a whole lot of preferring going on. Having this much down time together reminded me that our marriage was built on a great deal of preferring to one another.
Prior to marrying Renee, my life was about me, myself, and I. I didn’t know Jesus. I was selfish and my own primary concern. I preferred others if it was convenient and probably if it helped me out in the plan. Learning about Jesus and how unselfish He was and then getting married helped open my eyes to how selfish I was. Having children really opened my eyes to how selfish I was. My life was no longer just going to be about what I wanted. God’s Word taught me to consider and prefer the needs of others before myself. Gosh, that was a long and painful road of learning and growing.
I eventually came to the place where I felt at times like my life was about putting everyone before me. I’m sure that wasn’t true, but it sure felt like it. When you are raising a family and working, those feelings can easily come. That was important for that season of life because as the head of my house and in order to love my family and others the way Jesus did, preferring others and putting others needs ahead of my own helped me mature. But, that season had passed for us because the children are grown and out of the house. Now Renee and I have decided to use this empty nest season to reach more people for the Lord.
That put each of us back in the mode of move fast and independently for a large percentage of what we do. Suddenly being alone together for this vacation helped me remember how important preferring her was. To be honest, it was a stretch. I didn’t get to do just what I wanted when I wanted. I deferred to her desires, thereby preferring her. She knew I was willing to do what she desired instead of just my own agenda. She responded to me in the same way. The end result was a flowing and fun vacation where we both enjoyed what we decided to do and did so unselfishly.
In saying this, I am not saying both of us didn’t feel this tug of the flesh and temptation to have things our own way. I know I did. I guess selfishness always tries to creep into our life at all times. Biting my tongue and the pain of selfishness usually only lasts for a minute unless I decide to sulk. If I do, I realize how far I’ve slipped backward. So preferring is good. It’s just sometimes that it hurts a little, but preferring one another reminds you that life is not just about you. It helps keep you in a healthy place.
Philippians 2:4 (The Message) Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.