from Rachel: The Watchman at Your Thought-Closet Door

Think of a time your emotions got out of control. What kinds of thoughts or actions resulted?Dishwasher incident

  • Emotion: “first annoyed and needlessly hurried, then a little bit cheated, then under attack and angry – rageful – furious”
  • Thought: “He was deliberately being obnoxious and trying to make me furious, and ruining my pre-organization.”
  • Action: “flew from my chair, stomped into the kitchen, shrieked and yelled – probably turned red-faced – and might have slapped him had he not responded quickly with truth.”

In what ways do I think with my feelings?

“I am quick to assauge the first hint of boredom or restlessness with an iPod game or a puzzle or T.V.”

Do my feelings serve me well or am I their slave?

“cheerful, willing slave”

Write on the first stack of bins what God’s wisdom is like (James 3:17). On the second, list the opposite of each.

  • “Pure / Defiled
  • “Peace-Loving / Trouble-Making
  • “Considerate / Inconsiderate
  • “Submissive / Proud
  • “Full of Mercy (God’s fruit) / Merciless
  • “Impartial / Biased
  • “Sincere / Insincere”

Circle attitudes you lack in the first stack. “pure, submissive, impartial” What erosive emotions keep you from those wise qualities? “selfishness, self-importance, self-righteousness”

Describe how these characters showed lack of wisdom.

  • Esau (Genesis 25:29-34) – “traded birthright for food”
  • David (2 Samuel 11:1-5, 14-17) – “committed adultery, then murder”
  • Sarah (Genesis 16:1-6) – “Gave up waiting on God’s timing and enacted her own faulty plan”

What emotions caused each of them to act unwisely?

“greed, lust and fear (respectively)
“also over-inflated self-importance and self-ability to run their lives better than God could”

[underlined for emphasis] A surplus of emotion usually precedes acting without wisdom.

Think of a time you lacked wisdom. What feelings preceded your unwise act? “fear, selfishness”

Have you ever asked God for wisdom? Describe a time you asked and the result of your request.

“I frequently do as I sit down to do a day of Bible study. It tends to help it be easier to understand (Some like Beth [Moore?] remind me by suggesting it)”

Write below next to their names what the potential outcome could have been if they had pulled from their “Wisdom Bin” in their thought closets.

  • Esau – “could‘ve been the patriarch of the nation of Israel”
  • David – “could have spared himself enormous grief, guilt and turmoil – might have been a better example for young Ammon and Absalom
    “maybe could‘ve had her [Bathsheba] legitimately in a few months or years if her soldier husband fell in a fair battle”
  • Sarah – “could have kept Abraham for herself, avoided having a rival, and had a stronger faith in God.”

Dearest Rachel –

It’s yet another reference to our (for all intents and purposes) one and only actual fight. Yes, we raised our voices at each other about getting Daniel to do his homework once in a while, and always disagreed about what constituted a prudent bedtime (both for him and ourselves), but this was the one time we apparently came close to blows about something, however trivial we discovered it to be shortly thereafter. Not that I knew this then, or ever until just now; I had no idea how close I came to you actually hitting me for this.

Thank heavens – however I did it – I quickly made it plain to you about my own ignorance regarding the workings of the dishwasher (and speaking of which, I’ve only a week or two had it pointed out by the girls that the new model has a separate entire drawer above the two main racks specifically for silverware. I wonder what you would have made of this thing), so that, rather than escalating matters, we managed to have a laugh over the situation, and our own ignorance of each other’s ignorance.

As for your reaction to boredom, well, I was never in any position to criticize your choices here; for what it’s worth, I would have – and still do – tend toward the self-entertainment option myself. If nothing else, it keeps things calm between Daniel and myself more often than not. I suppose I’m forced to admit that I am every bit as much the cheerful, willing slave to various diversions – albeit some of them differ from yours (and many of those that we both enjoyed together I find myself eschewing for that very reason – some day, I ought to fill you in on those sorts of changes, but not today). Unfortunately, admitting that I’m prone to many of the same shortcomings as yourself (and thus, probably only served to enable you along such lines) doesn’t really solve much, especially since, like you, I have little desire or incentive to abandon them, in all honesty.

As for the shortcomings you list on the ‘storage bins,’ call me oblivious, but I wouldn’t necessarily have made the same assessment. To be sure, I’m not sure how to approach the concept of ‘purity’ within a marital relationship – like any married couple, we did things together that would certainly not qualify in any other dynamic, but aren’t they perfectly fine between the two of us? I’d ask what you meant, but I know that it’s too late to expect an answer. And regarding submission, there were times when you would appear to wait on me hand and foot, even as you would almost never follow me when I would retire for the evening, so… I think I grasp this one, in certain situations. And impartial? I’m not sure what your biases might have been, unless they were ones that paralleled mine, and thus were essentially invisible to me. But you’d think an outside observer would spot more flaws in yourself than you would.

Then again, I probably have a nostalgia filter cranked on when it comes to my memories of you; most of the bad (or at least irritating) parts of your personality have been glossed over in my mind, and I don’t give them much thought. Who’s to say?

Still, I admire your ability to be honest with yourself about these shortcomings (even if you never expected anyone to go through these assessments after you filled them out); whether you managed to improve on them in the few years after this, I’m in no position to say, but I appreciate your leaving these behind for me to find. They’re the closest thing I have to communication with you – even if it’s clear they aren’t directed at me in the slightest.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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