Questions

Mawwiage

Posted on 2010-02-20. Filed under: Questions, Thoughts |


Mawwiage is what brings us together today – that blessed event, that dream within a dream…

I’ll admit; I’m having doubts about marriage. Not mine personally but about the institution in general. Maybe they’re not so much doubts but questions. I’ve heard it said that if you can get past the first five years, then there’s a much better chance that you’ll “make it” but I’m not so sure. It seems to me that it’s as you approach the 15-year mark that things get really dicey. Perhaps every other week I hear about another person or couple that I know that is having a really rough time in their marriage or have separated or have already divorced since the last time I talked with them.

Having gone through this myself a couple of years ago, I feel sad for them. There’s a ton of feelings that you deal with as you go through it. I think it’s even worse to deal with after that many years of marriage than if you had divorced only after a couple of years because of all the history involved. Personally, I was with someone for nearly half of my life. That’s a loooong time. When you’ve been married that long, there’s a lot of shit to deal with. You have to be careful to separate the emotions and not ascribe hurts and disappointments that you underwent while with that person to that person just because you were with them while it was happening. People seem to often lose all civility when going through a separation or divorce. I personally felt the full brunt of a massive amount of hostility and am still dealing with it today. Just recently I was told I was a monster and it was done in such a way that I felt instantly dehumanized in the person’s eyes, as if I was some being of demonic mien. Someone once said in my life that of all people, Christians should be able to divorce or separate amicably because of their call to forgiveness and love but I haven’t seen that play out. Divorce should not be a contest to see who can get the most or hurt the other one the most.

What is the point of marriage? Is it to undergird society and give it structure? Is it a place to channel passions? Is it merely procreation – to create and rear the next generation behind us? I personally think it’s a place for you to let down your guard and to be vulnerable. It’s a place to lower the shields and the façades and be you. Spouses are meant to provide support to one another and to help build one another up in love – to encourage, to strengthen, to assuage, to comfort, and to heal. We all have weaknesses and shortcomings and it’s painful to see someone’s spouse dig into those places and target them painfully rather than cover them, bind them and succor them.

However, I don’t think you should be solely reliant on your spouse for that. If you lean too much on a single support, it will eventually falter and fail – perhaps, even break. God is also here for us, as are our family and friends, hopefully. When two people completely rely on one another for support, it’s very painful when one eventually fails the other. Because, they will. That’s normal. And that, to me, is codependency and unhealthy.

So, what does one do when failure becomes a constant pattern in the marriage? Or when failures have destroyed trust in one another or in the relationship itself? I think the impact of failures is highly determined by how much friendship exists amongst the couple outside of the marital relationship. Do they have something else to lean on while they repair the marital trust?

To paraphrase, Thomas à Kempis, it is better to experience a healthy marriage than to be able to define it. It is better to experience love and forgiveness than to be able to define it.

I seem to just be rambling but each time I hear about another couple going through a bumpy time, I relive my own journey. And I think back to one of my prevailing thoughts during that time: Forgiving is difficult. And sometimes it seems to be impossible, even though called we are to forgive. And if forgiveness is not in view, what then? That’s an important question for us all. Because if a relationship does not have forgiveness, it will not only grow stagnant and fetid but it will be toxic and poisoning to those involved – the very anathema of the intended purpose of marriage.

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I shall be free

Posted on 2007-01-07. Filed under: Questions, Thoughts |


Thanks be to God for his overwhelming kindness and love

I really suck at just “being”. Now, there’s a way to start a post…

That was what I was going to try and do this past week and it didn’t quite work. I did, however, takes some time off from posting. I’ve been trying to draw closer to God and understand how to live holy.

Paul said in Romans 7:

(5-6) For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

(14-25) For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Well, I’m glad Paul did not understand what he was doing because I sure as hell don’t understand what I am doing. I mean, is my life so boring that my flesh decides it needs its own fantasy life in my head and in my emotions? I just don’t understand it either, Paul.

I have a vision for my life. I desire to fulfill the destiny that God has provided for me. So, why can’t I focus lately? It seems that I am constantly beset by illicit thoughts.

Paul goes on to say in Chapter 8:

(1-2) Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

(5-9) For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

So, first you say there’s no condemnation and then you sure make me feel condemned or at least convicted. I am actively trying to control my thoughts. It really makes me wonder how much control I have over anything if I can’t even control my own thoughts. Paul says in another letter (2 Corinthians):

(3-5) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ

So, how does one take a thought captive? Because I would like to capture these sons of bitches, strangle them and crush their windpipes. I try to think on other things; I pray; I worship. But, when the thoughts come, if I’m not paying attention to what I’m doing, I enjoy them. Oh, wretched man that I am, indeed, Paul!

Maybe this week, I should try to stay in my “hole” again because it seems like these thoughts and emotions come upon me more often when I am out and about than when I am alone and focused on my work.

Father, you are mighty beyond measure and I submit myself to your authority. I thank you for not giving up on me and for always loving me as you do. Give me enough grace to come into your holiness. I desire you. Fill me so that no other desires have room to abide. Thank you, Amen.

It is as John Donne said in Batter My Heart:

Batter my heart, three personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend,
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn and make me new,
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but, oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend;
But is captive and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love you and would be loved fain;
But am betrothed unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

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I’m not aware of too many things

Posted on 2007-01-01. Filed under: Questions, Thoughts |


I’m not aware of too many things
I know what I know, if you know what I mean

 

What I am is what I am
Are you what you are or what?
What I am is what I am
Are you what you are or

This is going to be a long one. So, either get something to drink now if you really want to read this or just close your browser window now.

I am going to be quoting quite a bit from The Sacred Romance. I read this last night after everyone had went to bed at our New Year’s Eve party:

Identity is not something that falls on us out of the sky. For better or for worse, identity is bestowed. We are who we are in relation to others. But far more important, we draw our identity from our impact on those others – if and how we affect them. We long to know that we make a difference in the lives of others, to know that we matter, that our presence cannot be replaced by a pet, a possession, or even another person. The awful burden of the false self is that it must be constantly maintained. … We think we have to keep doing something in order to be desirable. Once we find something that will bring us some attention, we have to keep it going or risk the loss of the attention.

And so we live with the fear of not being chosen and the burden of maintaining whatever it is about us that might get us noticed and the commitment never to be seen for who we really are. We develop a functional self-image, even if it is a negative one.

I see this in my own life. I have different roles, or functions, that I fulfill in the various groups of people with which I interact. Each function is different. It has been this way with me for as long as I can remember. It’s one reason why I don’t like to mix different groups of people (be with more than one group at the same time). When that happens, I am literally confused as to how I should act and who I should “be” and I shut down or I just leave.

There is no esaping your identity. You will not live beyond how you see yourself; not for long. … We will draw our identity from outside ourselves; the question, is from whom? In the end, it will be from those moments and those people on whom we’ve had the biggest impact.

If I have been playing these roles all of my life, then which one is me? Who is the real me? Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? According to the book:

Who am I, really? The answer to that question is found in the answer to another: What is God’s heart toward me, or, how do I affect him? If God is the Pursuer, the Ageless Romancer, the Lover, then there has to be a Beloved, one who is the Pursued. This is our role in the story.

OK, so I’m the one that God loves. But, how does that translate into my everyday life?

This morning, while trying to catch up on my Bible reading, I read this from Hebrews 10:26-31.

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY ” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

And I have to tell you, that passage really struck home to me. I thought back to this past year and how I seem to repeat the same old sins. And, when one particular sin has been defeated and removed from my life, another one takes its place. So, I am one who God loves but I am constantly letting him down. I guess I have no choice but to continue to stand on this from 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 –

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

This is yet another mystery to me. God is Love. He desires to love me. But the only things about me that are lovable come from him, not me. I’m missing the point of him loving me. It seems like he’s loving himself through me. Like I said, it’s a mystery (to me).

At least I’m beginning to separate who I am from what I do. I liked what the speaker said at church yesterday. He said that many people say that he is a missionary. But, that is only his function. Last night and this morning, I was speaking with some friends about our goals for the coming year. I mentioned a few of my goals and I later thought of them. They are definitely things that I want to accomplish. I used to think that my goals made up who I was. After they were made, I would pour myself into them, partly in an attempt to not think about who I was.

I think one of the primary things I want to do in 2007 is, “First, do no harm.” I am tired of messing stuff up. I feel pressure that everything I pursue should succeed or things will be really bad. This feeling makes me want to just crawl into a hole and be by myself, to not have a single thought or feeling or desire. But, to just “be” there. Lately, I have really struggled with my thoughts, feelings and desires. It’s hard for me to separate the wheat from the chaff. And sometimes, it’s hard to throw out the chaff even if I can separate it. So, I guess my desire to do no harm comes from the fact that I don’t know which thoughts, feelings and desires to trust. I am feeling like I’m in limbo in my soul. I believe that God has given me a destiny to ultimately fulfill and I wonder if I’m holding up that destiny.

I think for the rest of this week, I am going to sit in my “hole” and try to just “be” (except for the things already on the calendar). This week, I would like to feel like I haven’t screwed up anything.

This is such a combination of jumbled thoughts. I’ll just stop ………. here.

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Why can’t I leave well enough alone?

Posted on 2006-12-29. Filed under: Questions |


I hate status quo. I hate staying still. I move and it’s either progression or regression. Just stop.

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Pants Killer

Posted on 2006-12-18. Filed under: Life, Questions |


I have a knack for destroying my clothing. This afternoon, I was able to destroy another article of clothing in a way I’ve never done before. Why does this always happen to me and only me?

It doesn’t help that I don’t have an off-the-rack body and therefore it’s such a chore to find anything that fits. I get so frustrated with shopping that I usually just find a couple of things that fit and then wear them until they’re falling off my body or … I manage to poke a hole in them.

🙄

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