When You Discover the Problem Is You


Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. —Psalm 139:23-24 NLT

I walk around the house turning off lights. All left on by an errant husband who simply doesn’t notice them. I see that his winter jacket is slung over the back of the dining room chair, and his hat and gloves reside on the table instead of in the closet where they belong. As these offenses are not ones I have committed that day, I shake my head self-righteously and walk into my incredibly messy office without a thought of cleaning up the papers strewn hither and yon. I am oblivious to my own faults and eagle-eyed over his.

It’s Sunday morning. The overnight snowfall needs shoveling and snow-blowing before we shower, dress, and head to church. I ask a benign question. What time do you think we should leave this morning in order to get to church on time? He starts to answer. His reply is still mid-sentence when I cut him off with my own wisdom. He closes his mouth and swallows. Hard. Twice. He becomes quiet and sips his coffee and eats his meal in silence.

At first, I’m confused. He seems quietly annoyed with me. I watch him control his tongue and am grateful, but ponder the need for it. What on earth could I—paragon of virtue that I am—have done to upset him? The Holy Spirit is quick to help me out. You interrupted his train of thought, corrected him before he had even finished a sentence, and acted as if his opinion mattered not at all. I hear this loud and clear inside my head, and I am appalled.

How often do I do this? My quiet man, thoughtful and careful with replies, is married to a quick-speaking, overly energetic. and thoroughly thoughtless wife. And there he sits, eating his breakfast, determined not to break the peace of a Sunday morning with angry words. And I am undone. I am shamed by his quiet resolve.

And then God helps me search my heart and see the depths of my own seismic abilities to annoy in this married life of ours. Perhaps my frustrations over lights left on and coats strewn about are more than matched by his frustrations over conversations interrupted and his thoughts—too often—dismissed. All these years, I ruminate. How many times have I shut down a good man with good thoughts because I could not simply be still?

This ruminating. This listening to that still small Voice is uncomfortable. It’s awkward. It’s humbling. It leads me to repentance. Lord, forgive me! Help me with my quick tongue! Give me a quiet spirit that waits on a full sentence before I barge on in. And here is the beauty of knowing God as my Abba. My good, good Father. He washes me clean. He’s actually pleased with me because I finally heard His lesson and His rebuke. I apologize to Ray, who accepts the apology and holds me closely. I’m undone all over again.

This good man, given to me over forty years ago in marriage covenant, has loved me well. I want to love him in return with more respect for his words and the timing with which he delivers them. And always, always I want God to search me. No matter how uncomfortable it is in the moment. I have miles to go in learning how to live as God wants me to live … to love as He wants me to love. I sit in a settled silence, grateful for a patient God and a patient husband, both of whom love me far more graciously than I deserve.

Father God, whether we are married or single, help us to know when we have displeased You. Give us softened hearts and listening ears. Search us, Lord. Know our hearts and reveal any wicked ways in us. Lead us in the way of growth and goodness and everlasting life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • This totally resonates with me… Thank you for putting into words the cry of my heart! “Search me, O God…”

    • So thankful this was useful, Linda. Oh, how hard it is to learn these lessons as a spouse. I am thankful for God’s patience and longsuffering love for His children!

  • Margaret Fowler
    February 28, 2022 8:17 pm

    I should have written this blog myself., – this is a description of me!
    I see myself in these situations, I am sorry if you inherited this from me!
    Love the message. And I will try harder. Thankful for God’s mercy
    and love and forgiveness.

    • Oh, my sin is my own. Can’t blame it on anyone else. Haha! But it surely is easy to feel like a martyr with one’s husband and to forget that perhaps there are times HE also has to patiently put up with his wife. Love you, Mum. Thankful we both have good men for husbands and that God is patient with us all.


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