Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chasing my tail.....

Going round and round and round.

Always back where I started.

Ever set out in pursuit of change, no what needs to be done, plan to do it, and then do the exact opposite?

Ever pledge to change a behavior, promising yourself that you'll replace it with something more positive, something better, but then fall back to your own ways?

That's me. I can never quite break free of myself and my ways.

I know what I should and shouldn't do, it seems logical/simple enough, but I always end up doing what I was trying to avoid or change. Looks like I'm not alone though....

Romans 7:15
I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate.

Some things are just so hard to change.

Especially where your heart or passions are concerned.

What do you get when you combine jealousy, distrust, anger, and hurt? Me doing things I hate.

Being angry.

Being distrustful.

Being jealous.

Being hurt.

I wish I could say that earlier today an opportunity presented itself for me to put into practice what I've been learning in counseling and in scripture, and I rose to the occassion. But I didn't. I instantly gave way to my sinful inclinations, and before I could do what I know I should have done, I did what I hate, what I should not have done.

I reacted hotly. I reacted based on my fears, and hurts, and reservations, and not on Godly principals. I may have felt justfied, and like I should assert my will, in fact, that's what I did. But that got me nowhere fast. With some reflection and prayer, I immediately knew I was going about it in the wrong way. I was fixated on the wrong things. And I was doing something that would only get me where I don't want to be.

I had to choose to switch off my negativity. Put away doubt, anger and jealousy and bring out trust, forgiveness, love and faith. The biggest thing we've been learning about God's will for us, is that we're to love like he loves.

Specifically in marriage we're learning that we are the people in our spouses life best suited to show them God's love for them. We are to be the funnels God uses to pour his love on our spouses.

How does God love?

He loves always, even when it isn't deserved.

He loves deeply.

He forgives everything.

He is faithful.

His love is unconditional.

And we are called to love our spouses like that.

So here I am this afternoon. Angry, shaken, suscpicious and concerned, deeply, deeply concerned about something. And there I am pouring out negativity, guilt, anger, and distrust all over Elvis. At the time, I felt like I was justifed. I felt like it was called for. I felt like it was productive. But, when that completely backfired, and I went to my room to pray on it, it occured to me, I had it all wrong. Suddenly I remembered the books and the scripture and the advice from our counselor, and I realized, that even though I knew better, I was doing all the same negative things I had set out to change.

So, I prayed for the ability to love like God.

I prayed for the ability to love even when I didn't feel like it.

I prayed for the ability to forgive, everything, always.

I prayed for help banishing anger and jealousy.

I prayed for God to work on my heart and help me be a more loving person in general.

And I prayed that He would be at the heart of our marriage, working all things for our combined good.

Am I still a little angry? You know it! That stuff doesn't go away just because you want it to. God and I are still working on healing that particular wound.

Am I still full of hate towards someone/something? Uh huh. Working on it though. Trying to get through it, past it, over it, whatever, I'm trying to get that hate out of my heart, it feels ugly, and makes me project all kinds of ugly onto others.

Is it hard to "suck it up" so to speak, and love and forgive when you feel like you shouldn't have to? When you feel justified? It is. It's really hard. But whoever said loving like God was easy?

But it's worth it. Especially when you feel God pouring his love right back on you, directly through Him, and through your spouse. It has it's rewards along with it's sacrifices.

I know I'm being vague about the "issue" that brought about this epiphany of mine, but that's okay. It was a marital issue, they happen in nearly every couple I suspect. One of those spats where a wife could become "nagging" or clingy or defensive or pushy. That was my first reaction, but the Bible is full of warnings against this. Particularly good advice in Proverbs I find, here are some good ones...

Proverbs 19:3
3 People ruin their lives by their own foolishness
and then are angry at the Lord .

Proverbs 19:11
11 Sensible people control their temper;
they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

Proverbs 21:9
9 It's better to live alone in the corner of an attic
than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

Proverbs 21:19
19 It's better to live alone in the desert
than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.

Proverbs 27:15-16
15 A quarrelsome wife is as annoying
as constant dripping on a rainy day.
16 Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind
or trying to hold something with greased hands.

Sure, I was trying to defend my reactions, plead my case, make my point. But honestly, my approach, though genuine and heartfelt and real, made me very hard to listen to, and really be understood. In trying to impress my feelings and opinons on Elvis, I was really causing him to shut me out.

We've learned so much, but we have a long way to go.

I have a long way to go.

But slowly, and surely I am learning, that love is an action, and a choice, not a feeling or an instinct.

And I suspect this little lesson is something I will learn and re-learn over and over again througout the course of our marriage.



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