Monday, November 3, 2008


Does anyone else struggle with RESENTMENT? I can honestly say it's the single most pervasive negative emotion that camps out in my head! Or maybe its just the loudest one. At any rate, it's been my companion for a long time and the Lord has called me on it several times.

Mostly it has to do with housework and is directed at my family with my husband bearing the brunt of it. I honestly don't know if I would have signed up had I known that being a wife and mother meant that my purpose in life was to be picking up after other people who recklessly take advantage of me, turning me into a ranting, nagging lunatic. I'm being dramatic here and I wouldn't give up my family for the world but this is how I feel at times.

Resentment creeps into other relationships as well. It takes the form of withholding, waiting for others to give me what I think I deserve before I give back.

I have owned it - confessed it - repented of it ......several times. When I harbour resentment, I feel guilty and then I resent myself. It's a vicious cycle!

This summer, I had enough. Why Oh Lord do I struggle with this so much??!!!! I realized that I needed to get to the root of my resentment. It wasn't enough to identify it as sin and be grieved about it, and I have to admit that when it came down to it, I wasn't really willing to give it up. In fact, I felt entitled to this reaction to perceived wrongs against me. Entitled to entertain this insidious relative of unforgiveness. Entitled to withhold until the other party gives something too.

So I sat down with pen and paper, and had a little conversation with God. I find that the answers take form more easily when I write down what I feel God is saying to me.

Why am I resentful? Expectations of others.

What are my expectations of others? Validation

Why do I need to be validated? Loneliness and Isolation (with a picture of me in a deep well by myself)

Why do I feel lonely and isolated?You don't trust people until they prove themselves to you. You don't believe you are valid until someone proves it to you. It prevents you from having a servant's heart.

How do I get a servant's heart? I have chosen you!!! Your name is in the book of life. You have been validated by me!!! For this reason you can die to your expectations of others and have a servants heart towards them.

Yes!! Breakthrough!!!! As these words penetrated my heart - I understood how my resentment is attached to my own need for validation. I keep people on the hook if I don't feel appreciated. I keep them at arms length if I feel rejected. The parable of the unforgiving debtor came to my mind and I saw myself there.

Lord, help me to have a restful spirit that finds its validity in you. Help me to love others lavishly from the abundance of my heart.

Although, the grip of resentment has weakened, I still struggle with it almost daily. I wonder if I will ever be able to die to myself. I long to have the heart of the unprofitable servant, the one who does his daily tasks cheerfully without expecting anything back.

As we sang this song today in church, the words gripped me. With tears streaming down my checks, I knew that this was my answer.

Amazing love how can it be
that you my King should die for me
Amazing love I know it's true
It's my joy to honour you
in all I do.


Erin said...

"I honestly don't know if I would have signed up had I known that being a wife and mother meant that my purpose in life was to be picking up after other people who recklessly take advantage of me, turning me into a ranting, nagging lunatic.

This is exactly me.

I am thankful for your words, and hope and pray one day I will learn to deal with the roots of my resentment. I have tried, and failed numerous times, so maybe I need to look for a root cause, as well.

Ruth said...

Whew Erin! I'm sure glad it's not just me. It feels really good to know someone else can identify. I'm sure that for you living in a house of boys doesn't help matters. I'm trying to be purposeful these days about training my girls to do their part around the house now that they are getting older. I had been trying to do it all myself because it just seems easier. But as I said, I have realized it goes deeper and I ask myself what is really going on for me.

Erin said...

It's not even so much that it's easier to do it myself, as it is that if I want it done right I have to do it myself! My boys are 12 and 8 and are able to do more than they do, but like the dishes for instance, they leave a lake on the counter and the floor and food in the sink.

Sorry, just complaining to you!

Ruth said...

Oh I know all about having to do it yourself if you want it done right. The boy in my house (the big one) does dishes exactly the same way.

But the lie that gets planted in my heart is "if you loved me, you'd do it right.... if you loved me you'd put the toilet seat down." It sounds trivial, but it's not. I'm sure you know.

Erin said...

I get that. I feel the same with my "if you really loved me you'd listen and do what I ask you to do". But they are just I know it's twisted in my mind.

Lennart said...

Ruth....! You touched a nerve. Thank you for your post. I have struggled with resentment many times. Little thing which I keep bottled up and eventually become bottled mountains of YUCK!

I echo your prayer," Why Lord do we struggle with this so much" and "Lord, help me to have a restful spirit that finds its validity in you. Help me to love others lavishly from the abundance of my heart"

Ruth said...

Hi Lennart - thanks for stopping in. You're right about resentment being bottled up yuck! That's exactly how I feel when I let it stay there.

It's hard to speak the truth in love so often we just don't communicate our feelings until it comes out badly.

jON said...

knock, knock.

Valorosa said...

Thanks for this song

It is always love no matter what the situation is.

The largeness of love and forgiveness in our hearts for others is directly proportional to how aware we are of how much we are loved and forgiven.

It is something that took lots of hard knocks for me to understand.

God Bless you for working through this and hearing the wisdom from above and then sharing.


Nate said...

This post is something that I will show my wife. I know she struggles with this. It is the validation thing that I have seen lately on other posts. Poeple needing others to prove their worth to themselves.

I really think this is a big stumbling block to many people. Feeling fulfilled by just being themselves, and knowing it's OK.

By the way, that is my FAVORITE praise song.

Mike said...

Ruth, I also struggle with resentment but a lot of times mine turns into something like grudges and eventually retribution. I totally get what you're saying.

I read a book once that I think you might find interesting. It's called "It Came From Within" by Andy Stanley. I did a book review of it here.

Ruth said...

That looks like a good book Mike. I liked your review of it. I totally agree with your statement.

"We have become much better at monitoring our behavior rather than monitoring what is in our hearts and that is where guilt, anger, greed and jealousy reside"

The book review mentions "tools" to rid yourself of these negative emotions. What are the tools?