By Andrea Lennon
Early in my marriage, I learned the great value of lifting my husband and children up through my words. I will admit, this lesson was born out of years of failure, often speaking of my husband Jay and our boys Jake and Andrew with a critical spirit. Thankfully, God had a plan to confront this tendency in my life.
One day I was speaking to a friend and relating events going on in my family's life. I shared with my friend how the things taking place were no fault of my own. The tone of my conversation was critical towards Jay and the boys. My dear friend looked at me with love and said, "Andrea, you make them sound so bad." My friend's statement stunned me and I simply did not know how to respond. I can honestly say that up to that moment I had not realized the power of the spoken word. Specifically, I had not realized how my words revealed the condition of my heart and reflected on Jay and the boys.
Each day you and I have the opportunity to lift up the men in our lives. Lifting up our men involves praying for them, bragging about them, supporting them, and, most of all, respecting them. This list is a tall order for any woman to achieve no matter how awesome her man may or may not be.
At the heart of the lifting up process resides an important heart attitude - an attitude of humility. Humility involves placing the needs of someone else before your own. Without a doubt, I suffered from a lack of humility early in my marriage and parenting days. I was more concerned with my needs and my perception of life rather than the needs and perceptions of those around me.
Philippians 2:3-4 speaks about the great need for humility in our lives. These verses state, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others." (New International Version) A clear instruction is presented in this passage of scripture. Simply put - place the needs of others before your own. One group of people that fits this category is the men in our lives.
If you are like me, you long to lift up the men in your life; however, you struggle with knowing how to do so. Allow me to share a few practical steps that have helped me:
Pray for Them! Pray daily for the men in your life. Pray for your husband to love Jesus with all of his heart. Pray for your son to be a man of integrity.
Brag about Them! Brag about your guys to the important people in their lives. A few examples include your husband's parents and your son's close friends. Don't forget to brag to your close friends and family members, too.
Support Them! Support the decisions your husband makes. Do not undermine your husband in front of your children or wait for the chance to tell your husband, "I told you so." Give your son space to make decisions in his life. Encourage your son in the decisions he has made even if they do not work out.
Respect Them! Men's number one need is respect. Respect involves giving special attention to someone or holding a person in high regard. One way to respect your husband involves making a special effort to meet his needs. As you make this effort, do not tell him what you are doing. Instead, make the effort not expecting anything in return. For your son, respect him by granting him the opportunity to be the person God has called him to be. Do not force your plans, dreams, and desires onto his life. Rather, allow your son the chance to follow the Lord's leading in his life.
Today, I continue to learn the great lesson of lifting up the men in my life. I also continue to mess up in this area of my life; however, each day I long to have a heart that cheers for my guys. How about you? Do you strive to lift up the men in your life? If so, do your words tell others that the men in your family are the best - maybe not perfect, but just right for you?