The righter she sounded, the madder I got. That's the best way to describe what happened whenever my wife, Jane, and I spoke about the investment I'd poured our funds into. When the deal started to sour, I pressured Jane into committing more funds to try to save it.
Jane finally asked if I'd prayed about it. I hadn't. You might say I had an EGO problem — with EGO standing for edging God out. I'd been promoting and protecting myself out of fear and pride, rather than focusing on God as my source of security and self-worth.
As the investment continued to fail, I felt defeated — and isolated from my family. Then I came across Philippians 4:6 — "In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
I realized God wanted to hear about my troubles, including my shaky investment. So I humbled myself and began talking to Him. My investment didn't make a miraculous turnaround, but I regained my peace, and I learned a valuable lesson about trusting God.
What can we do about our EGO problem and the resulting bad decisions that can harm our families? Here are some suggestions:
Identify times when pride and fear are likely to pop up. Both can stem from comparison. For example, at a parent-teacher conference, you may find yourself fearing your child isn't up to the level of other kids. Or you may find your child is a top student — inflating your pride. Instead of allowing emotions to take over, try going to the conference to learn and grow as a parent.
Take the "so that" test. How can you know if pride or fear is motivating your actions? Weigh decisions using the "so that" test to help identify motivations: "We're considering private school so that we'll be respected in our community" (pride); "We want him to do better on test scores so that we won't look like failures to other parents" (fear).
Fathers and husbands who understand the roots of their pride and fear can move from a life that edges God out, to one that embraces the peace that comes from trusting Him.
Adapted from Lead Your Family Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer, published by Focus on the Family and Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2013 by The Center for Faithwalk Leadership/Lead Like Jesus.
This article appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of Thriving Family magazine. ThrivingFamily.com.
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