James 1:2-4

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journeyand cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. James 1:2-4D

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Love is....

I sat and watched my ex in-laws yesterday who have been married to one another for 61 years.  Sometimes you look at a couple who have been married that long and you are blessed by the love that has endured for so many years.  You wonder how they could of stay married to the same person for so long, through all the ups and downs and trials of life and still love each other.

Instead, what I witness when I watch them interact is an inability to have a conversation without spewing years of unmet expectations and disappointments onto each other.  A couple who has the inability to share a simple conversation without getting angry at the other person.  I see that life has eroded this relationship and literally driven a wedge between them.  Instead of blissfully enjoying their final years together and showing love towards one another, there are conversations that end in frustration and angry words and ultimately separation.  There is a coldness that exists in the room when they are together.

Don't get me wrong in some odd way I know they love each other and are still devoted to one another. When I watch them I realize I am watching a couple who grew up in the generation that didn’t believe in divorce and who believed you stayed together for the kids and for each other.  The sad thing is they didn’t know the truth that there’s a better way to love and communicate your needs to another person.

They grew up in a generation that really didn’t know how to communicate their feelings in a healthy way to each other.  They grew up learning that you didn’t talk about your problems with anyone. They didn’t learn how to set healthy emotional boundaries and certainly would not have gone to a stranger for counselling to discuss their marital problems.  They just trudged through life, loving one another out of their own neediness and unmet expectations and became unaware that they were using the other person as an outlet for their frustrated desires and unmet needs. 

It reminds me of the movie I watched once called Revolutionary Road with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.  In this movie they struggle with life in suburban 1950’s, when they met and fell in love their relationship was full of hope and promise and many dreams.  She gives up her aspiring career to stay home with the kids and yearns for fulfillment and passion, while he toils at a job he hates.  Slowly throughout the movie their ability to communicate becomes eroded and their dreams die along with their relationship.

I’ve come to realize that human relationships are a gift from God. They exist to help us grow spiritually. Whether it's a romantic relationship, a friendship, or our children; they are given to us to teach us how to love and serve others and how to fully love God.

There exists an enemy of our souls (the Bible refers to it as Satan) who doesn't want us to know this, it wants us to believe a lie, that we need these relationships to define us, tell us who we are. So we get wrapped up in these relationships, we label them; we claim them for our own. We become so focused on the person and finding our worth from them, we forget who we really are and what the purpose of the relationship was in the first place.

Soon, it becomes about them giving us something in order to prove our worth, and no longer about us serving them. We become attached to something which was never ours to own in the first place and this causes us to hold on and control, instead of loving freely.  When that person disappoints or doesn't live up to our expectations, (and they will, because they are only human) we suffer.  We feel lost and unsure of ourselves.

You see when it becomes about what we want; we lose sight of who we truly are and what we are here to do. We are here for only a short time to give, to love and to serve, not to be served...

May these words bless you today and bring you closer to the truth of who you really are and why you were created.

With love ~Laura Sterling~ Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3: 16-18

Prayer for Today:  Lord help us to love the way you created us to.  Help us to remember that you first loved us and that you have given us relationships to help us grow more like you and when we seek to exist in this world for our own good we miss the mark.  Remind us that when we put giving love first and not getting, the love returns to us without strings and expectations.  Thank you Father for loving us and showing us the way to love and be love.  AMEN!

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