crooked:  bent or twisted out of shape or out of place; dishonest; illegal

Are you familiar with the phrase, “Bent out of shape?”

That was a phrase that was familiar to me as a child. It was used to describe a person’s mood when they were upset or out of sorts.  That mood was often a result of the person being asked to do something they didn’t want to do.

Unfortunately,  it was applied to me all too often.

As a young wife and mother, I found myself “bent out of shape” {crooked} as I fell into the temptation to believe that I was overworked and under-appreciated.

Because of these emotions, I tried to maneuver my husband, Robert, into doing more work around the house. As you might imagine, this crooked behavior led to disagreements and tension between Robert and myself.

I should have simply chosen to use the time that I felt sorry for myself or tried to manipulate Robert to apply myself to the work at hand.  If I had, I would have been well on my way to having those tasks done without any of the negative fall-out from trying to get him to do it.

God, in His grace, didn’t leave me there too long.  He used this familiar passage, Philippians 2:14-16a, to speak to my heart:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…”  

In these verses, Paul contrasts behavior that isn’t complaining or arguing with the behavior of a “crooked and depraved generation.”

God spoke to my heart concerning my attitude toward work and Robert.  He told me I had to stop complaining and arguing.  The Lord also instructed me to communicate more directly with Robert about my need for help instead of trying to send him not-so-subtle clues like loud sighs, cabinet doors that were closed too loudly, or even just an unhappy look on my face.

When we, as wives and women of God, choose to do the work God has set before us with cheerfulness and contentment instead of complaints and strife, we simplify our lives.

These choices make our relationships simpler and calmer.  Choices like these also increase our effectiveness and efficiency at whatever we set our hands to.  As I have walked this out and have seen growth in myself, I can testify to this.

I can also see the harm I have done in the seasons where I have given in to the temptation to be “bent out of shape” on a regular basis. At those times, I hear the Holy Spirit reminding me of these verses and encouraging me to do what I know is right.

As we continue with our “Simplify Your Life” challenge today, I want to encourage you to seek the Lord concerning this type of behavior in your life.  Ask Him if you are behaving in ways that are crooked.  If He reveals something crooked in your heart, repent and ask Him to show you how to change.  He is supremely faithful to give us the wisdom we need!

Praying for Simplicity,