Monday, June 16, 2014

The Futility of Being a Lone Banana

Why has it taken this long to realize some things (many? most?) are what they are. There's no changing or fixing or finagling. It. just. is.

While on vacation last week I enjoyed (not quite the right word, but it sounds spiritual) Elyse Fitzpatrick's book, Helper by Design: God's Perfect Plan for Women in Marriage. And although it's not the primary message of her book, the biggest message I've gotten thus far is this:
Your husband is not perfect. You are not perfect. Surprise! Your life is not perfect. And that's exactly what God intended. So stop trying to fix your husband. Ask God to show you what He had in mind and get ready to love, serve and follow. God created us--women that we are--to love, serve and follow our husbands the same way the Church was created to love, serve and follow her Savior. Oh, wow. That's where the change happens. Right. here. in. me. Of course, I knew that; I just didn't want to hear it.

So it's not rocket science, but I've found life is easier and there's less tension when I admit that some things are the way they are. Yes, it applies to marriage--but I've found it applies to so many other parts of life: wanting to be the life of the party when being the wallflower is a better fit, wanting to sleep in the morning when circumstances prevent it, wishing I had this or could do that... And in the midst of it all, Jesus seems to say, "Peace, be still."

How like Christ to look at my husband who made a wrong turn and say, "We'll get there. No worries." How like Christ to hold and receive a rejected child instead of trying to work change or bring a solution. How like Christ to trust the Father instead of being the hero. How like Christ to hold my tongue instead of correcting or looking important. And how often I fail.

This week, this month, my goal is acceptance. I'm praying for the ability to look at a situation from God's perspective and ask how to respond before I jump into what our youth group calls "Lone Banana" mode. To go it alone, to (in pride and with selfish motives) become the hero and fix the problem, does not glorify God--or work change in me. But to do my best, to accept my limitations, and trust Him with the outcome: that is where Christ increases and I decrease.

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;  whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4)

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