Today, I began writing some things to myself in my journal titled “Things I learned in 2016” One page down in my journal and I feel completely compelled to share something and be totally be transparent.
I am currently in a space where I am finding the need to pursue my love for God. Not that He has gone anywhere or changed in any way. I am continuing to grow in my knowledge about Him. I have just been, for some time in a place of just appreciating Him and all that He does for me, including pursuing me! I am lucky to walk along side some younger women that have been placed in my life during this season and I am following paths to speaking and leading more, but in my contentment I have found that some of the “feelings” seem to subside and I find myself having to search my heart for them. It may be harder too, because faith sometimes is harder when we can’t physically see what we have faith in, kind of like air, we know it’s there but visually we don’t see it. But I want and need to feel those feelings again.
I know that I have to talk to Him about it and I do. I have to ask him to hold me closer and believe it or not, I ask for Him to protect me from myself! I have to remind Him that I love Him (not that He forgets) and the reasons why I do and that causes me to remember all of the good that my relationship with Him produces. I think of all that we walked through together and the person that I am today is partially because I did my part but I know that it’s mostly because He loved me enough first to not leave me where He found me. I would never want to go back or imagine doing any of it without Him in my life.
In the paradigm of marriage or any other human relationship, I think the pursuit of love is similar. I know that relationships should model Christ’s love for the church on an intellectual level but to put it into practice, well that takes work. It takes commitment. It takes work. It takes choosing and more work. But the work is worth it!
Let’s be honest, we live in a world where it is all too easy to start over when problems get bigger than we can stand. Can we not teach ourselves to contain the problems before we get to the point where we want out because of the pressure? I didn’t. I haven’t. I have learned. I know that there are a myriad of reasons that we don’t mature the way that we should but as we become adults we should continue to learn from others and we can only do that in relationship with others. By finding others who lift you up, who listen to you when you need to talk, and being willing to open yourself up to someone who holds you accountable and who is not afraid to gently call you on your junk…find people who are doing life like you want to do it. This is what helps us to grow.
Lay aside the thoughts of what you think you have to “look” like to others. Just be you! We are all in process. We are more alike than we are not. Learn to look at others who don’t look like you, and enjoy who God created them to be.
On the contrary, if you want to stay where you are and you have it all figured out, blessings to you my friend! You will probably stay where you are. But if we haven’t learned the art of being a good person in a relationship, there’s still hope! If you are teachable. Not perfect, just willing to learn and change the things that you can. I have been around amazing people who navigate the murky waters of relationship with grace, forgiveness and mercy.
I know that there are some relationships that we should never have never entered into and if we are teachable we don’t have to recreate our past mistaken choices. Then there are some relationships where we must establish healthy boundaries and love from a safe distance. We must become wise in this.
Marriage is a chosen commitment and frankly, I don’t know how anyone could possibly do it with any joy and not have a relationship with God. I don’t want to muddle through life and live miserably so I am going to try to choose relationships wisely. I am not oblivious to the fact that there are deep-rooted issues and dysfunctions that I am not addressing here and there are some scenarios where a relationship is just not healthy but this writing is for those of us who can make the choice to pursue and honor a good relationship.
My relationship with God is also a chosen one. He doesn’t make me love him, he doesn’t demand that I have faith in him or make me do anything else for him. I just get to choose Him back!
The parallel is similar when we choose a committed relationship. We are saying “I will choose you” no matter what and if we are not ready to make that type of statement we should wait. Choosing to remember the good things, to see the good that the person has brought to you and to focus more on our own problems and what we need to work on for ourselves, we will inevitably find that we have less time to focus on others issues. God is capable of handling all of us so leave the changing of others up to Him!
I am hoping and praying for each of you to make wise choices that will bless not only you but those you touch everyday. What we choose matters, a lot.
XO, Julie V.
Note: There is absolutely no implication of this to anyone in particular. I facilitate a Divorce and Separation recovery program so I see LOTS of relationships!