Saturday, June 24, 2017

Love Isn't Enough

We weren't really seeing eye-to-eye. It wasn't one of those "in-your-face-not-going-down-until-I-prove-I'm-right" fights. It was more like the "passive-aggressive-visible-frustration-over-nothing-big" kind of scuffles. I took my passive-aggressiveness out on the house. It was a silent motivator to get things done. Loads of laundry getting washed, dried, and folded, clean sheets, straightening up flop piles. I made sure to empty the dishwasher EXTRA LOUD. And that's when it hit me. I was being so dumb. What was wrong with me? Did I somehow expect the clanging of bowls and tossing of silverware to justify my pride? The scuffle wasn't over chores or housework. It wasn't over roles or responsibilities. It wasn't about who was right. It was just a simple thing we didn't seem to agree on. A difference of opinions due to differing personalities. I wasn't wrong but I wasn't right either. Neither of us could claim it. In this little conundrum, I realized it was as if I was putting the puzzle together by choosing the edge pieces first but he seemed to be focused on working from the inside out. 

The reality is we don't always agree. We don't always see eye to eye. We don't always approach things the same way. And sometimes that causes tension and friction and a clashing of ideas. The reality is we aren't perfect. The reason is we're made up of two imperfect people. Thank God for His amazing grace and redeeming love. 

Just this week I had two people contact me asking about divorce and contemplating their marriages and pondering their own decisions. It's difficult to know what to say but unfortunately because it happens more often than I wish, I have my patented response. The steps toward wholeness and healing of one's own heart and soul start with a deep look inward. I will never EVER tell someone they should or shouldn't get a divorce. I will never provide justification for someone to decide one way or another what they should do. It is a truly personal and deeply emotional and spiritual decision and varies from couple to couple. No two situations are the same. But in both cases I was just grieved all over again knowing the road that lies ahead. Sympathizing with the heartache they're in the midst of. All of this has come after the devastating announcement from a popular Christian women's speaker and author announcing her own failed marriage and it's caused us to stop and evaluate each and every situation, each and every circumstance, each and every little tiff that could cause us to throw up our hands in frustration or wrap them around the waist of the one we're frustrated with instead. 

So today we didn't see eye to eye. It wasn't the first time and it certainly won't be the last. I'm thankful for the opportunity to share that life isn't perfect despite the picture perfect ideals we post and share. Please accept this as my plea to you today to hug the one you love. To decide, whatever the argument and whatever feelings may be justified, that love and grace are worth much more. There's an internal price to "pay" to lay down our pride, but the price is even greater when we don't.  Love isn't enough on its own. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to be the strand of three cords that cannot be easily broken. It requires His divine strength and grace when our hearts are failing and weak. It requires perspective that goes beyond what we can humanly comprehend especially when our hurt feelings overtake any rational thoughts. 

There is no greater love than the one who lays down their life for another. It may in fact be one of the toughest things to do but thank God we have Christ as our example and help. His grace is sufficient for every weakness and His love knows no limits even when we've come to the end of ourselves. Love by our own might will never be enough but the supernatural Love of a perfect God will always be. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Faith

"During difficult times, your natural tendency is to rely heavily on your own understanding. However, your human understanding is not up to this task; it will fail you time and again. You have every reason to be confident in Me. I am the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and I am in charge of every aspect of your life." - Jesus Today

Do I believe that? One thing I've learned about faith without works is that it is in fact dead. Sure, my head knows that it's true but my actions (and let's be honest, most of the time it's my knee-jerk reactions) say something different. Can I say with full faith that even in the difficult times, I am willing to let God be God and rest in knowing He's in control of every aspect of my life? 

If I'm being honest I have to admit this is an ongoing struggle for me. It's at the core of what I wrestle with in my humanity. The battle to release my inhibitions, fears, anxieties, and allow Him complete control. Truthfully, there's a better chance of Him having to pry it from my clinched-fist rather than my willing surrender. Too often I try to run interference thinking He somehow needs my help. If only I would recognize the interference I am to the plan He has. 

We live in a broken world. Our hearts and flesh fail. Period. We can't get around it. People hurt us. Life happens. Disappointments come. Plans change and hopes fail. There are different seasons for everything. Life, love, friendship, jobs, desires... But only ONE remains constant and never faltering and that is the Sovereign God and Creator of us all. He planned each of our days and set us as living stones exactly where He purposes us to be. My response to His will has to be that of genuine faith. Not the kind that requires action but the kind that believes without reservation or inhibition that God is God and that He is working in each and every single aspect of my life. 

Can I do it... Can I have that kind of faith... Even when my heart is aching and the emotional tug of war causes me to be gripped with fears and anxiety... Even when nothing makes sense and things just don't add up... Even when life throws a curveball that takes me out of the game... 

Jesus asks me to lay down my life for His sake (John 13:38). What that tangibly looks like is walking with Him in the day-to-day, moment-by-moment instances that seek to steal my joy and strip me of my faith. Crawling back on the altar over and over again, each and every time I get off. It's choosing to rest in Him even when things around me are completely out of control. It's being confident of the good work He began and trusting He will see it through to completion. Even when it's hard. Even when what is right before me doesn't seem or feel good at all. Even when my human understanding can't make sense of it. 

My faith needs feet firmly planted in the truth that He is in fact in control of every aspect of my life even when the ground beneath me is quaking and crumbling. This is the kind of faith I want, the kind of faith I haven't yet achieved. But when my feet do give way and my faith falls short, I rest on His infallible grace that holds me even still. 

Increase my faith, Lord. Help my unbelief. Help me not be blinded by my circumstances. Give me eyes to see You.