Last year, I read Elizabeth George's book A Woman After God's Own Heart. It was recommended to me by a friend who is on the same path that I am on: fighting our flesh nature to become the women that God has called us to be. And let me be frank, it has been hard for me.
One of the points Elizabeth George makes is that choosing God and His ways strengthens and deepens our devotion to Him. One way to do that is to employ the "good, better, best" method of decision-making. Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better best. I'm not real fond of the rhyme, it seems rather first-graderish, but I get the point. Keep striving for God's best for you.
One of the key things I'm learning is that no one is on the exact same path that I am on. Everything is a process of little steps. It takes time to get from good to best and that's being generous in assuming that we are actually at "good". My "good" could be someone else's downright "bad". And sometimes, you may be stuck at "good" because of consequences from previous decisions. Sometimes best isn't available in your area so you have to make due with better.
A friend told me that just because you feel convicted about a certain behavior doesn't mean that everyone you know needs to change, too. (In my defense, she was saying this in general, not specifically to me....) We have to examine ourselves up against what study and reflection reveal God to be telling us. Not just our feelings. I don't think our feelings are necessarily the best indicators of what the right things are.
Lately, I am finding myself a lot more tolerant of other's different beliefs because of the good, better, best comparisons. I see people getting bent waaaaaay out of shape over secondary issues like what exactly constitutes modest dress for women, whether to work or not, whether there should be Awanas or not. It's really not fair for me to judge what might be the "good" in someone else's life. I can only judge what goes on here and believe, I've got plenty to work on without worrying about everyone else, including my husband.
For me to go from a working mother to a stay-at-home mom to someone who is investigating homeschooling options to someone interested in having a larger family to someone who wants to learn how to sew and how to grow a garden....getting there required a ton of tiny steps that took place over a period of time.
You can't undo years of thinking one way immediately. You have to start somewhere with a conscious effort to be different. It is a conscious choice every time. That's the hardest part. If I let myself go on autopilot, then I get the same old results. That's not what I want. I think that steps in the right direction are going to be good. If I can accept Brian's decision one time without arguing or talking back, then that's a step in the right direction. Maybe next time I can do it twice. If I tried to be 100% on all the areas that I needed to work on, I would be so discouraged.
Actually, at this point, I'm not entirely sure that my good is actually good....but I'm trying and still learning. And that counts. Every conscious effort counts.