You know, one thing that most people are unaware of – or are told repeatedly before entering – is that marriage is hard. …In the last blog, I established that in general, I try to avoid “HARD” as much as possible. So, if I hate “hardness” – why get married? There are others who, to avoid saying marriage is just plain ol’ hard – will instead say that marriage makes you holy. Well, how does it make you holy? BECAUSE IT’S HARD. =)
…and here is what I have learned in my 2 years of marriage: life is hard. There are circumstances outside of our control that can make life even harder. Don’t be the one that makes your marriage hard. There is a reason why God has given us guidelines for living…and shockingly, abiding in Him by following said guidelines, really does make your marriage easier. Because you aren’t the obstacle anymore.
I am the obstacle. I was making life hard – and our marriage hard – because my heart was hard.
What I have come to realize, via the Holy Spirit opening my eyes and convicting me of my sin and also of Christ’s righteousness, is that for the past 2 years (on and off; but, basically our entire marriage), I have spoken, acted, and reacted as dictated by my feelings and thoughts – completely ruled by the circumstances of myself (feelings) and what I thought ought to be true/right. Essentially, I have been operating as thought I am God – not taking any of my feelings or thoughts captive to the mind of Christ…because, well, I didn’t want to. I valued being right over being…righteous.
What I thought or felt were truer, more correct, and more righteous than any one else – especially Dan. For a long while now, I have been suffering from the Yabbit disease. You don’t know the Yabbit disease? Sure you do: it’s when you respond to anyone, in any situation/conversation with this phrase, “Yeah, BUT….”
It’s an extremely arrogant response. You are essentially admitting what the person has said is true – but you don’t want to accept that truth. Yes, they may be right – but you are rejecting it. …What makes it even more arrogant is that you are doing it right to their face, without even considering, pondering, or letting their thought/idea/comment sit for a while.
Yabbit’s disease was taking over my life. In fact, I was a walking Yabbit. [Note: not the same as a wasically wabbit.] It came to a head when my parents were here helping us move in. I was stressed, trying to take care of everything, yet asking for help and then completely shutting down any suggestions or offers. My dad called me on it. Called to the carpet, I cried…for about 30 minutes straight, completely ashamed that this is who I had become. It certainly wasn’t who I wanted to be.
Shortly thereafter, I began a nine-day prayer commitment (novena) to the Holy Spirit. Each day focused on a different spiritual fruit, and I realized just how far I was from exhibiting any of these fruits in my life. If I were plant, I would have been completely shriveled. One that I probably would have thrown out (I’m not too good with plants – and when they start looking dead, I give them more attention – but it’s often too late). I think that is why I tend to get ‘scared’ when I realize just how far I am from ‘where I should be’ spiritually. I am afraid that God will take one look at poor, shriveled up Jessica, and say, “Well, I tried. Throw her out and onto the next one.”
Thank you, Jesus, that you are not a gardener like me! Thank you that you are faithful to work the soil of our heart, to prune, and to nurture life. It’s so funny to me because at the times when I am most apparent of my sin and feel farthest from God – it is not God that is far from me. I am the one strong-arming Him – believing that He has no interest in a worthless subject like me.
As I examined what thoughts had led me here, I believe that part of my downfall started here: I believed that my sacrifice in this marriage was greater than his. I became very concerned with “justice,” “equality,” “fairness” – tit for tat. I think, subconsciously, I wanted to ensure that he, too would know sacrifice – that he would pay for it. At various times, over the last 2 years, I have recognized that I am just not respectful like I think I should be; or very kind or gentle…but I haven’t known how to stop. …and after the Novena, and spending time in reflection…I saw that my actions were causing me to lose the joy of my husband.
Part of the problem was also the fact that I started viewing God as my boss – and not as who He is. I viewed God as one concerned about my output and not WHO I am; that he was keeping track of whether or not I was doing things…but not concerned with my response or me. Since I was no longer seeking the fellowship of God, I became even more reliant upon Dan to supply what only God can…which, again, leads to unhappiness in the marriage. Dan feels like he can’t measure up – and it’s because he can’t. He’s not God; the problem isn’t Dan, though; it’s ME. I am the one putting him into positions of power and expectations that he isn’t designed to meet.
So, what is different with this recognition? I am committed to NOT letting sin rule in my body, mind or words. Part of my struggle the last 2 years, when I have noticed that I am not respectful, gentle, kind, etc. – is that I haven’t recognized that I have the power to reject sin. I felt like I was just waffling between sin or righteousness (and that sin was winning). As I read Ephesians 2, a couple of weeks ago, I was just so encouraged by this fact: we have been MADE ALIVE with Christ, even when I was dead in trespasses and sins.
I was just so encouraged and moved by that reminder. I wrote this shortly thereafter:
I have been MADE ALIVE with Christ. Sin does NOT need to reign in my body, mind or words. I have been MADE ALIVE WITH Christ. He has spoken life into me. His life IS my life. His heart is my heart. Until I live like He did, I will feel discord. in order to feel alive, I must live as He did. First, and foremost, I must spend time alone praying and communing with Him.
…the tricky thing about the Truth setting you free is that you must first submit to it.