What Does It Mean to Be a Submissive Wife in a Christian Marrage?

How to be a submissive wife

 

(This is  the second of a  two part series. In part 1,  I talked  about what it means for wives to submit to their husbands. In part 2, I will talk about what it means to be a submissive wife in a Christian marriage. )

Part 2: What Does It Mean to Be a Submissive Wife? 

 

  22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. – Ephesians 5:22-24

 

This verse often gets a bad rap. And for good reason. It’s easy to  interpret this verse to mean that a wife is to suppress her own thoughts and desires. That husbands are basically granted permission to be tyrants, to only care about their own needs. 

 

 However we know that is does align with the totality of scripture that actually honors women. It also does not align with God’s character that loves and protects women. 

 

So what does this actually mean? And how does this translate into everyday practice? How should you submit to your husband in a way that honors your role as a wife and believer? 

 

Here are some guidelines:

 

  1. Women are to think for themselves.

 

God gave women intellectual capacities and gifts. We all have free will to think and believe as we choose. We have the ability to use our thoughts and ideas for God’s glory. 

 

Your husband’s role as leader is not to dictate what you should do or think. His responsibility is to take the initiative in your relationship. This does not mean he can micromanage you, or make you ask permission at every turn. There is no room for controlling or abusive behavior in a marriage.

 

Submission looks like respecting your husband’s point of view. It means humbly sharing your opinion with him. It means not invalidating him, especially in front of others. It means trusting his decision as a leader, while feeling empowered to give your own point of view. 

 

  1. God has authority over you, before your husband. But tread lightly when you feel there is a conflict between God’s will and your husband’s wishes. 

 

In a healthy marriage, respecting your husband’s wishes should align with God’s will. However, there may be a rare occasion where your husband’s wishes conflict with what God is calling you to do. Ultimately we are to follow Christ. The reason we even respect and follow our husband’s leads is because it is a command from God. 

 

If your husband’s desires conflict with those of God, God’s call is to be given priority. Make it clear that you wish you could follow your husband’s lead, but you must ultimately follow God’s will for your life. Examples of this may be in the case where your spouse wants you to condone or participate in abuse, addiction or Infidelity. 

 

On the other hand, please be careful to not use God’s will as an excuse because YOU don’t want to do something. Make sure you are getting godly counsel before you go against your spouse. (This is not just for wives, but for husbands, too. ). There are many steps to be taken and many different ways to navigate this. So going against your spouse should be a last resort. There are just too many bad consequences that can arise from doing this without proper counsel and prayer. 

 

I see this tricky situation when there is a Christian wife with a non-Christian husband and the husband feels that his wife is spending too much time at church. This is an instance where prayer and much counsel should be exercised when making a decision. 

 

  1. You have a calling to speak into your husband’s life

 

We as wives are not to try to change our spouse’s beliefs or behaviors. However, as a wife, we have a unique calling by God to speak lovingly into his life. All for change and the glory of God. Wives see and know their husbands probably better than anyone else. They see their gifts, their shortcomings, their hidden sins. 

 

There is a time to be silent and let the Lord speak to Him. However, there is also a time for a woman to  be God’s mouthpiece. To show our husband their weak spots for growth, as well as their gifts for encouragement. Oftentimes the only person a man truly trusts and will hear feedback from is his wife. This will enable your husband to grow into the man of God he is created to be. 

 

Again, the key is to speak the truth in love. Many times we either speak the truth in “frustration” or we give up and don’t say anything. Learn to speak up in a way that your husband will listen and you will feel good about. 

 

  1. You don’t have to live in fear.

 

Peter tells wives to “not fear anything that is frightening.” In other words, they should stand strong in the face of any intimidation. They should not worry about the trials of everyday life, but look to their faith in God for comfort. Christian women trust in God, and use that trust as a shield against fear. They also focus on inner beauty and spirituality rather than their looks.

 

  1. You should not rely on your husband for all your spiritual support.

 

In an ideal marriage, the husband and wife would sharpen each other in their walk. However it is not healthy for a wife to rely on her husband for her faith. There is a difference between supporting someone’s walk with God and carrying it. 

 

In a healthy relationship, both parties are working out their own faith. Each person is nurturing their own individual walks with the Lord while still supporting and spurring on their partner towards Christ. 

 

  1. Healthy Submission In Marriage Allows Both Partners To Thrive

 

The scriptures make it clear that men and women each have a unique role to play in marriage. A husband needs to embrace his role as a responsible leader who respects his wife, and a wife needs to honor his position in a loving, supportive way. 

 

This does not mean that the husband is allowed total control over the family. Both husband and wife must admit they make mistakes and need guidance from the other. If a husband is on the verge of making a poor choice, his wife should gently bring it to his attention.

 

Conclusion

God’s word is our blueprint for life. Its words are meant to show us the best path to a healthy and joyful life. Its role in relationships is the same. Submission in its practical meaning – – respecting and honoring your husband– can be joyful and can bring much fruit to a relationship. 

 

About the author: Lia Huynh, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist is a Christian Counselor specializing in Couples Therapy. If you liked this article, feel free to forward it to a friend. And if you are interested in working more on your marriage, find out more about couples counseling here

What Does It Mean To Be A Spiritual Leader In A Christian Marriage?

Christian Counseling for husbands who want to be a spiritual leader

(What is a spiritual leader in a Christian marriage? In the first of this two part series, I’m going to talk about husbands as spiritual leaders. In part 2,  I am going to talk about what it means for wives to submit to their husbands. )

Many men are intimidated about what it means to be a spiritual leader. Many times these men are dating wonderful, Godly women wondering if they can ever “lead” them. 

There are a lot of misconceptions that paralyze these men from moving forward. Many feel that they need to have it all together, or they need to be at a certain spiritual place before they can be a leader. 

What is a leader? 

A leader is someone with a vision. A great leader is someone who is willing to lovingly guide their followers to a goal. Here are characteristics of men who are good spiritual leaders: 

1. A spiritual leader prioritizes his walk with God 

 

You don’t need to be a pastor or elder of your church. You don’t need to be a Bible study leader or pray 10 hours a day or memorize the new testament. 

 

However there needs to be a sense that God is important and it is a priority. A godly woman will not feel safe knowing that it is so easy for you to forego spending time with God and nurturing your relationship with Him. 

 

Many people will not miss a day of work whether they have the flu or have two broken legs (I am guilty of this). But they struggle to go to church if they are tired. There is no judgment here–we all have a right to have whatever priorities we want. But since this an article about spiritual leadership, in order to be a spiritual leader, you need to be prioritizing your relationship with God.

 

2. He puts the needs of his wife and family above his own

 

A lot of the men I counsel are struggling to transition from bachelorhood to husbandhood. They struggle to let go of the 6 days of the week basketball playing, or working 60 hour weeks, then heading to the bar afterwards. Some have very loose boundaries with women (e.g. Social media flirting, blatant wandering eyes, emotional affairs), which hurt their spouse deeply. 

 

Being faithful to church activities and even your own quiet times will not help you be a spiritual leader if you aren’t putting the needs of your wife and family before your own. Your wife will not be able to follow someone she feels is hurting her. 

3. A spiritual leader is mature and doesn’t use his position to lord it over his wife

 

Being a spiritual leader means to protect and build up. This means respecting and loving your wife, helping her to be the best she can be. It means being a good listener and not always trying to be right but being curious about what your wife is trying to communicate with you. 

 

It means being humble enough to learn about what it means to nurture your relationship with your wife. It means being willing to read books, or go to therapy, talk to your pastor, or attend a marriage conference to learn more if you need growth in this area. 

 

4. He initiates, sets good boundaries, and stands firm when he needs to. 

 

While being a controlling tyrant is not a sign of a spiritual leader, neither is a passive follower. Make sure that you take a stand when you need to. Make sure that you don’t ask your wife what to do at every turn or wait for her to tell you what to do. Take the initiative, be aware of the needs of your wife and your household. Don’t agree with everything out of fear. (And again, if you are having trouble with this, get help!)

 

Conclusion

Being a spiritual leader is similar to being a good Christian: love God and love others. Basically, keep your own spiritual life in check. Make it a priority. Keep growing in your walk with God and seek Him just as much as you seek your promotion or your next goal at the gym. And then loving others: make sure you are loving your wife sacrificially, leading her to become her best self, and standing firm when needed.

Being a spiritual leader is something that you practice and grow into over time. Put time and effort into it and you will see rewards in your family and your walk with God. 

 

(Click here for part 2: What Does It Mean To Be A Submissive Wife?)

 

About the author: Lia Huynh is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist serving the Milpitas, San Jose and Fremont areas. Her specialties are Christian Counseling and Couples Counseling. If you are wanting to learn more about how to be a spiritual leader in your home, find out more about Christian Counseling here and Couples Counseling here. 

3  Fun Spots to Build Trust and Closeness with Your Spouse

Couples Trust Building Therapy

Trust Building :

Connecting Is Important

Finding time to connect with our spouse is paramount to having a good marriage. Carving out the space to have a conversation about how you are really doing. 

 

I often recommend couples who are trying to rebuild trust to have these conversations at least a few times a week.  However, it is often the first thing to be put on the backburner. Kids, jobs, chores and other “musts” often take the place of connecting with our significant other. 

 

Planning check-in times

I always tell my clients that they need to build in time to “check in.” Otherwise it will never happen. Take time to ask your spouse how they are really doing. Ask how your relationship is doing and how you can be better as a partner. 

 

Some barriers to finding time to check-in

While some people enjoy having this time, for others, it may bring up some anxiety or even dread. Some people were not brought up in homes where they were vulnerable with each other. 

 

Or they learned as a child growing up that opening up leads to exposure and punishment. So opening up feels scary. Some people are introverted and they just don’t know what to say. Or they don’t know how to articulate how they feel. 

 

Make check-ins fun

I often recommend clients like this to make this time fun. You don’t have to be sitting on the kitchen counter with dirty dishes every night hashing out your feelings. Get outside, get some fresh air, or do something that would be fun so that you naturally want to start talking. 

 

Here are some easy, fun, and cheap ways to have a check-in time. I have put some of my favorite places to connect with my spouse here in the San Jose, Milpitas and Fremont areas. 

 

One tip: 

Remember, don’t just drink coffee and surf the web on your phone. Take the time to really connect. Talk about your day. Talk about how your relationship is doing. 

 

How are you both feeling about each other? What are each of you doing that’s working? Not working? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What makes you fearful/anxious these days? 

 

Some ideas in the San Jose, Milpitas and Fremont areas: 

 

  1. Find a cute coffee shop where you can enjoy coffee and enjoy each other. 

Here are a few: 

 

Community coffee

1000 S Park Victoria Dr

Milpitas, CA 95035

 

Devout coffee

37323 Niles Blvd

Fremont, CA 94536

 

The Grind Coffee House

2050 Concourse Dr

Ste 2

San Jose, CA 95131

 

Hannah

754 The Alameda

Ste 80

San Jose, CA 95126

 

  1. Take a hike and connect with nature and each other to increase trust building.

Some good trails: 

 

 Mission Peak

43600 Mission Blvd

Fremont

 

Ed Levin County Park

3100 Calaveras Rd

Milpitas, CA 95035

 

Alum Rock Park

15350 Penitencia Creek Rd, San Jose, CA 95127

 

  1. Enjoy your dog and your spouse’s company

Some dog-friendly parks:

 

Butcher Dog Park

1782 Lancaster Dr

San Jose, CA 95124

 

City of Milpitas Dog Park at Ed Levin Park

Tularcito Trail, Milpitas, CA 95035

 

Central Park Dog Park

1740 Stevenson Blvd, Fremont, CA 94538

 

  1. Create art while creating connection

Some good art studios:

 

Color Me Mine–Pottery Painting

Address: 5337 Prospect Rd, San Jose, CA 95129

 

Vino Artist–group painting classes

Address: 3777 Stevens Creek Blvd #300, Santa Clara, CA 95051

 

Have fun trust building!

About the author: Lia Huynh is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in helping couples reconnect and rebuild trust in the San Jose, Milpitas and Fremont areas. If you  or your spouse are still needing help finding the motivation to connect emotionally, or if you are finding the time but not connecting, marriage therapy/couples therapy can help. I have helped hundreds of couples in the San Jose, Milpitas and Fremont areas connect again. You can reach out today here or find out more about couples counseling here

 

How Prayer Changes the Brain

Counseling Close By

Christian Counseling Near You

Your Brain On Prayer

For lots of us, prayer is a way to connect with God, unburden ourselves to a higher power, and strengthen our faith. But did you know that prayer can literally shape your brain, help you think more clearly, and give you more control over your emotions?

Prayer Can Help Lift Depression

Between 2005 and 2008, Dr. Peter Boelens, a retired pediatrician from Mississippi, showed that a six-week prayer-based treatment helped people recover from depression. 

Twenty-seven patients, who had all received a diagnosis of clinical depression, were invited to pray with a Christian minister for an hour every week for six weeks. 

Before and after the intervention, the participants completed the Hamilton Rating Scales for Depression and Anxiety. Compared to the control group, they were significantly less depressed and anxious. They also reported more feelings of optimism, and felt more spiritual. These gains were still apparent a month later. 

The results were so convincing that Boelens concluded that “direct person-to-person prayer” could form part of standard treatment for anxiety and depression.

How Prayer Changes Your Brain

So, what happens to your brain when you pray? Thanks to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology, scientists now know how prayer changes neural activity.

In another experiment, 14 people with depression were asked to think about a traumatic event from their past whilst lying in a brain scanner. Following a six-week prayer intervention, the researchers repeated the procedure.

The results showed that regular prayer boosts activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area responsible for emotional regulation and cognitive control. In other words, regular prayer seemed to help participants deal with difficult feelings and memories.

Specifically, the precunus, which is responsible for introspection and self-analysis, was less active after the six-week intervention. This suggests that prayer can help you distance yourself from traumatic feelings, which in turn lowers your distress and makes you more psychologically resilient.

Prayer, Meditation, & Neuroplasticity

Participants in these studies were Christian, but you don’t need to be a member of any organized religion to benefit from prayer-like practices. Other research has shown that secular meditation and mindfulness exercises improve general wellbeing, improve sleep, and lower your risk of depression and anxiety. 

Prayer certainly changes your brain, but so does any activity. Our brains are plastic, and shaped by our thoughts and actions. The more often you repeat an activity, the easier it gets. 

The reason prayer may be effective is not that it’s a religious activity per se, but that it involves training your brain to focus and think clearly. Mindful practices reduce activity in the parietal lobes, which in turn prevents sensory overload from the outside world. These changes can make it easier to cope with negative emotions and difficult situations, which in turn reduces feelings of anxiety and depression.  

Prayer and meditation also have a direct effect on the autonomic nervous system. Mindful activities relax both mind and body, and can lower your blood pressure. They lower the levels of circulating stress hormones, such as cortisol, which promotes a feeling of calm. Prayer and meditation can also trigger feelings of love and closeness, whether those feelings are directed to a higher power or the world in general.

If you can make time for regular prayer or meditation,  you could see significant benefits. They aren’t magic cures, but incorporating this practice can foster a healthy brain and lessen your chances of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. It can also help battle these illnesses as well. 

Prayer, in conjunction with Christian Counseling / therapy, medication (if needed), good support, and a healthy lifestyle can be an important part of any treatment plan for those struggling with mental illness. One can also conclude that it is good for our brains whether we are battling a mental illness or not.

About the author: Lia Huynh, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist serving San Jose, Milpitas and Fremont areas. Christian Counseling Near You: She believes in the power of prayer. She also believes that God can use other people and treatments to heal, like therapy. If you are interested in Christian counseling from Lia Huynh, find out more here

When searching for Christian Counseling Near You please keep us in mind.

 

On Forgiving Your Parents

Forgiveness is a difficult task, but forgiving parents is especially complicated. How do we handle cultural expectations (particularly Asian) to always honor our parents? How about Christian expectations to forgive and “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:38-40) when someone has hurt us deeply? It can be very confusing.

Learning to forgive is important for our well-being and our freedom, and important in our ability to truly love our parents. How do we start this healing process?

Admit your anger

Oftentimes we feel that forgiveness means ignoring what our parents have done. Or suppressing or denying the hurts we feel. There may be guilt for being angry at our parents. We need to first admit that we are angry before we can start the forgiveness process. If there is no debt to let go of, we cannot fully let it go. In addition, denying anger can often mean taking on the blame for what our parents did. This leads to self-hatred. Admitting anger is an important step for healing.

Set boundaries if you need to

Forgiveness does not mean trust. Maybe you shared with your parents how you felt about a situation and they did not receive it well. Or maybe they received it well but nothing changed. Maybe they are continuing to hurt you, or make decisions that hurt you. In this case, it is okay to protect yourself by setting boundaries.

Specific boundaries can look different depending on each person’s situation. For some, it may mean a total severing of communication. For others, it may mean limiting contact or certain types of contact. It can be forever, or it can be for a limited time. It is helpful to process this with someone you trust, like a mature friend, pastor or therapist,  and take this decision to God in prayer.

Note that there is a difference between setting boundaries and taking revenge. Setting boundaries means protecting yourself while not intentionally doing harm to another. Revenge is intentionally doing harm to someone. Revenge will not only hurt the other person but it will hurt you as well, as this can lead to regret.  Take a step back and ask yourself “when my parents have passed away, would I feel at peace about what I am doing?” Boundaries are necessary for self-care and protection–which leads to healing and growth. Revenge is manipulative and hurtful–which leads to regret. Make sure you are setting boundaries, not trying to purposely hurt your parents for what they did. 

Understand your parents’ own wounds

As children, we see our parents as superheroes. They are perfect in our eyes and can do no wrong. However, as we get older, we see that our parents have flaws. They are imperfect. And this imperfection is often a result of their life circumstances, life choices, and their own upbringing. Many of our parents are themselves wounded, without a chance to fully heal. 

If we can shift our perspective from our parents being “bad”  to wounded and imperfect sinners in need of a savior–just like us– we will have more compassion on them. Many of us have heard stories of our parents’ upbringing as we grew up. Remember those and don’t underestimate the impact it had on them. This will make it easier for us to forgive.

Note that our parents’ trauma never justifies any hurt that they caused us. We are all responsible for what we do to someone else, regardless of what we have been through. However, forgiveness will be easier if we can see their own hurts that caused them to hurt us.

 

Reminding yourself that you are lovable

We can also remember that for most of us, our parents did the best they could with what they had. They did love us.  And for various reasons, they were not able to love us in the way that we needed. For those of us who suffered abuse or neglect, our parents’ wounds hindered their ability to love us correctly.  And this is not a reflection of how lovable or worthy we are.

 

Acceptance of the situation

Holding onto hurt is a way to feel power in a powerless place. The irony is, however, that holding onto that hurt will only keep us as victims. Holding onto the hurt demands that our parents change. And until then, we cannot be at peace. It ultimately gives them all the power and disallows us from fully embracing the life that God has for us. We have the ability to break free by accepting our parents–for all that they were–and all that they weren’t. And letting go of their changing in order for us to be happy.

 We can continue to pray that God would heal them and change them. However, our peace and our joy do not depend upon it. This is true freedom.

Letting go of the debt–forgiveness

As you forgive your parents, you release the debt that your parents have given you through their hurtful actions.  You are the one who unfortunately had to pay the debt, but now you are both free. The good news is that the work you put in to pay this debt (forgiveness), will almost always allow you to grow, deepen and mature.

For those of us who are Christians, we have the added blessing of knowing a God who paid all of our debts. Like the parable of the two debtors (Matthew 18:23-35), whatever debt we pay is miniscule compared to the debt that He has paid for us. And when we focus our eyes on God (vs. man), the burden to forgive becomes light.

Furthermore, we know Him as a  God who is in control of all things and allows all things to happen for our good–for the deepening of our character, faith, and knowledge of Him. Oftentimes, it is in these painful times of wrestling with God that we feel closest to Him and receive the most blessing. And it allows us to mature and grow into maturity, peace, and joy.

Remember that forgiveness takes work and is a process. We often have to make a choice to forgive, over and over. But the joy can often be found in the journey, and Christ is found as we walk in His steps and live in His love.

About the author: Lia Huynh is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist serving the Milpitas and San Jose areas. She is also a pastor’s wife, seminary professor, and speaker. Find out more about Christian counseling with Lia here.

 

5 Principles to Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman

proverbs 31 woman

If you’ve looked to the Bible for guidance on how to live as a Godly woman, you’ve probably studied Proverbs 31:10-31. These verses describe a tireless, wise, devoted wife and mother who keeps every area of her life running smoothly.

From what we see in scripture, she gets only the  bare minimum of rest (“She gets up while it is still night”), works excessively long hours (“She sees that her trading is profitable, and that her lamp never goes out at night”)  and earns her children’s undying respect (“Her children arise and call her blessed”).

Taking Proverbs 31:10-31 literally will bound to make us feel inadequate. And living up to this vision of womanhood can be overwhelming and lead to frustration. This is not God’s plan for us–to be tired, grumpy, and burnt out. His plan for us is to be healthy, productive, joy and peace filled. So how do we reconcile God’s plan for us with what this passage is saying?

It’s important to think about these passages in context. They aren’t a rigid checklist, but rather a set of guidelines in the form of a poem written from a husband to his wife. (“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” verse 29)

Yes, the verses are packed with instructions on how to live as a Christian woman, but it’s essential to remember how and why they were originally written. They weren’t intended to be used as a grading rubric.

When we look closely at the scripture, we can see the true intention of Proverbs 31.

 

  1. Caring for your family

Your family should play a key role in your life. There’s no need to set yourself a punishing schedule. If you make your family a priority and try your best to create a happy home, that is pleasing to God.

 

  1. Being sensible with money

Proverbs 31 praises a prudent woman who will plant a vineyard “from her earnings.” In practice, this means having the wisdom to manage your family’s budget and being financially savvy. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to worry about every cent. The key idea is that you make the best possible use of what you’ve got.

 

  1. Caring for those less fortunate than yourself

Verse 20 is clear on this point: “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” A woman who walks with God should be charitable and kind. This doesn’t mean you need to wear yourself out serving others. Or say yes when you really can’t handle any more.  It means that you should support and nurture those who require help as far as the Lord has given you mental and physical capacity to do so.

 

  1. Doing your best to support your husband

Verse 12 makes it plain that a Godly wife is supportive of her husband, and builds him up to fulfill God’s purpose in his life : “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Cherish your spouse. Approach him in good faith when you run into problems.

 

  1. Offering guidance and discipline in a kind manner

Verse 26 states that a Godly woman “speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” When giving instructions to others, or disciplining children, try to remain loving yet firm. No one can be perfectly calm and patient at all times but, as a rule, we should try to be gentle with others and to choose our words with care.

 

We can relax in His love and find blessing in the pursuit of Proverbs 31

God never meant any portion of scripture to be a burden. He knows our limitations. He knows aren’t perfect (which is why He sent Jesus).  So when you see Proverbs 31 as a guide rather than a measuring stick, the verses become a source of life and joy, not a daunting set of standards.

Learning to walk with God is a lifelong journey, and walking with Him reaps dividends. As the final Verse implies (“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate”), walking in obedience to the Lord leads to blessing, both now and in eternity.

 

About the author: Lia Huynh, LMFT is a Milpitas and San Jose Therapist,  pastor’s wife and seminary professor who has a passion for helping others fulfill God’s calling for them. If you are interested in learning more about Christian counseling with Lia, click here.  

How Should I Spend My Free Time?

A woman spending her free time reflecting

Lia,
I feel so overwhelmed with all the things and activities that are on my plate! I don’t want to miss out on stuff but sometimes I feel like I’m just going to activities to “get it over with” and then it’s on to the next!  How should I spend my free time so it’s really “free” and not burdensome?  –Too much to do

Dear Too Much to Do,

Kudos to you for really examining what is going on in your life. You want to live life with purpose and meaning. Right now it sounds like you are just jumping from one activity to the next without any thought about why–and without any thought about if it’s actually something you want to do. Here are a few tips to help you sort through this dilemma on how to spend your free time:

1) Don’t just do what everyone else is doing. Do an inventory of your values, priorities, what you think is genuinely fun. if you don’t like the clubbing scene, but all your friends are going, go once in a while, but pursue your own interests and you’ll make friends who are more aligned with who you are and be happier as a result. If you genuinely like knitting, or water skiing, make sure you are aware of that and pursue that.

2) Be aware of your body. Sometimes we tend to just want to fill our calendars because we don’t want to miss anything. Or maybe we are so driven that we will sacrifice our health for a goal because are young and invincible. But what happens is we end up feeling tired, and not enjoying anything. Or we end up sick and less productive than if we had just paced ourselves. I know this sounds obvious, but when you are tired, rest!

3) Learn to say no. There are a myriad of reasons why a lot of us have a hard time with this. But at the end of the day, we need to be able to assess whether or not we have the capacity to fulfill someone’s request. And if the answer is no, this needs to be communicated. The alternative is bitterness and feelings of resentment. Plus, if you can never say no to anything, you also are saying that you cannot really say yes to anything, either.

4) Ask yourself what gives you life. There are some activities that we do where time flies. Maybe it’s a sport, or a certain friend you spend time with, or a cause that you feel very passionate about. Those are things that you want to really allocate and make room for.

5) Of course, take care of business, but if possible, delegate. Yes, wash your dishes. Take a shower. Go to work. Take care of your business–it’s inevitable, there are mundane tasks that just need to be done. But if you have the means, delegate the tasks to others. Pay someone to wash your car. Don’t worry about making homemade butter (unless you really find joy in it), when you can spend that extra hour at your spin class or out having coffee with a good friend.

6) Lastly, remember that we honoring God with our time is the best use of it. You cannot go wrong walking in His will, doing as He’d do. Jesus seemed to always manage his time well, was always purposeful, and always full of joy. We’d be wise to follow in His footsteps!

 

Lia Huynh is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the San Jose, Milpitas and Fremont areas who helps people find healthy, life-giving ways to spend their time. If you are interested in working with Lia, find out more about it here