The other problem was he was either, not stepping up and fulfilling his role in our relationship, and/or I wasn’t letting him. Either way, the relationship in its current state could only go so far.
Well I want to finish talking about what I meant in that statement. To give a better picture I will give an example of a situation that illustrates what I am going to share.
Not unlike many churches, the church I was attending had a serious gossip issue. I was a single mom at the time so I was the subject of choice often. I hated what gossip did to people so I asked God to help me with it. The bible says to consider that you could fall in the same way, before you judge or bring your issue to the person you have the issue with. So I did. Then I prayed that God would make me physically ill everytime I gossiped so I would be aware of it and could change if I was struggling with it.
I was at a friend’s wedding in my college age years. A group of us were asked to perform a song at their wedding. It was a great wedding and we had a blast!
We were at the wedding reception all sitting at these long tables. I was across from one of our associate pastor’s wives and himself. Down from them were a couple people, then the bride and groom. The pastor’s wife starts in talking about and even going as far as making fun of the bride’s mother. I do not recall what was being said but she just kept going. The beginning of her sentences…”Can you believe she……&…..What kind of person does…….” I could feel my stomach clench up. I was getting physically ill. As I sat there only for a few more moments I watched her husband just sit there and let her go on and on. So now I was sick from the gossip and angry about the passivity. I excused myself and went outside. (I have since grown up a bit and would have no problem saying something directly to her today.)
In those moments being outside I prayed that God would grant me the privilege to be with a man someday who was strong enough to not let me go wildly astray like that. I know this pastor and his wife did not get into ministry because they hate people. They are in ministry because they love them. I know that is their deep heart. But what a horrible assault against the very hearts of the ones they are trying to serve. How could they introduce such poison to the celebration of this couples beginning? I knew with as strong of a personality as I have I would need an incredibly strong man. Then I prayed that in those moments of my man being strong that I would be able to receive that strength even if I could not see, or understand what was taking place.
Well, becareful what you pray for 🙂 I got an incredibly strong man! Sometimes he has to come for me with all the authority of God’s fierce mercy for me. I have learned that if he has to….then I am way out of line. I have also learned…..that in that moment I am where I really did not intend to be or want to wind up. Even though my husband is awesome in these valliant rescues…..it sucks to have to be rescued in this place. I am usually on a role, or in a mode and it is so hard to stop. He is careful with my heart but only after he disrupts my mode. Only after I surrender my mode can he be careful in that he lets me know how much he loves me, but it is because of that love he will stop me from going in a direction he knows is outside of my character, calling or identity in Christ. And really, if I needed that kind of rescue I should have been taking better care of my heart to begin with. I should not get that far from my character, calling or identity. That is my responsibility.
This type of rescue completely mirrors God’s rescues for me. For a simple example, I was always overwhelmed. I had so much going on at home and at church. We were always busy. He would ask me to take some time for myself. I would just laugh or “hmfph” under my breath and say that I did not have time for that. He lets me go further. Now my physical body can not keep up and I have completely forsaken the care of my own heart. Matter of fact I do not even know who I am anymore. Then he says, “Ok, if you schedule one more thing or commit to one more thing please let me know because I am going to go on a camping trip or something. I can not be around this kind of craziness and watch you busy yourself to this unhealthy place and then ask me to rescue you and fight for you. You wont let me. The problem isn’t that I need to do more for you it is that you need to do less.” Wow! Talk about truth cutting through to bone and marrow. Yikes! And of course, I did not go quietly. It was easier during his first few attempts to resign to abandonment. I would justify it by saying that he is abandoning me and now I have to do it all by myself. I would try to go there, it seemed easier. It is something that I can control. I can work harder and do it all by myself. He just doesn’t understand. But the truth he had spoken kept cutting. It had a lot to cut through like a jungle. Finally, I could see that I was trying to get my validation from all these things. People were appreciative and thankful when I did things. Unlike home with four kids feeling like I was in the most thankless job ever! He was trying to fight for my heart but what good does it do if I wont fight for it? In that particular situation I finally surrendered to my own war against myself and let him rescue me. It was so freeing.
I used to fight back. I could and would come up with every rationalization and justification under the sun. I would dig my heels in and be right. I could have scriptures and other information that he did not know about. I would state my case and stand firm. Thank you God that I have a man who is more afraid of His God than his woman. He will not compromise who God has called him to be as a man of God first but also who he is as my husband. He will not compromise who I have been called to be as a woman of God but then also who I have been called to be as his wife.
We did not start out here for sure. We do not get it right all the time. But I will tell you it is harder to go back to those old ways than it is to remain in our truer identities. I hope that can encourage you as you try to take all this to God and find out who you are to him. Ask as well who you are to be to your spouse. Pray and ask God to show you if who you think you are, or the mode you are in, is hindering you or your spouse from being who you have been called to be. I know my controlling, rationalizations, justifications, logical conclusions and even my one-sided emotional view/skew of scripture was hindering my husband from being that man. In that place he was angry and frustrated. He wanted to come through for me and I would not let him. But there was also the passive side of things when I would not let him. A resigning of his heart would take a place too. Then I would find myself feeling unseen, unfought for and neglected. But it was me who wouldn’t allow the rescue. Things were the way I had arranged for…so that is why I was unhappy.