Tagged: wisdom

When You’re Married and Want More

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As many of you know, I’ve been married for almost a month. I now live with a man who I so dearly love (and our sweet puppy). And let me tell you, there are both blessings and challenges from this.

First, I adore sleeping next to my husband, but I’ve discovered that snuggling and spooning lasts for less than an hour because we are both so desperate to get a good night’s sleep when we have to wake up in the early hours of the morning. Also, he sometimes sweats profusely when he gets too hot and I insist on using my own blanket so we don’t fight for covers when I get too cold. Bedtime is almost like a game. We have to run through a list of questions: Should we keep the AC on? Whose phone are we setting the wake-up alarms on? Which side of the bed is Buddy sleeping on? By the way, it’s a horrible thing to realize that your dog would rather sleep next to this guy he’s known for like two years versus sleeping next to you who he’s known ALL HIS LIFE. It’s just not fair and I pout about this regularly.

Second, I love spending time with my husband, but I’ve realized that this can quickly turn into suffocation. HE’S ALWAYS THERE. Yes, he does have work and I do have class, but for the most part, he never leaves my side. There are days when him and I are not separated for longer than an hour. And that’s probably not healthy, but it’s the way things are right now. Especially since it seems as though friends are avoiding us like the plague, thinking the newlyweds need tons of space and time for adjustment. Just so you know, I MISS MY FRIENDS. AND I SO DESPERATELY NEED A PLACE TO ESCAPE TO. SAVE ME. There’s only so long I can hint to Grant that he should make plans with somebody or go to the gym before I violently kick him out of the house so I can watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Third, I highly enjoy being served by my husband, but I’ve noticed how my independence and self-sufficiency is slowly dwindling. When he doesn’t have work in the morning, he gives me a ride to class. He makes me breakfast almost every day. He makes my coffee before I even get a chance to think about it (just wait, there’s more). He gets me out of bed when I’m feeling lazy. He sets alarms for me when I need to wake up. He always minces the garlic (which explains why I didn’t know how to peel the cloves for the longest time). He cleans my makeup brushes while I get ready in the morning (yes, ladies, keep swooning). When we run errands, he always drives. I know acts of service is his love language, but is this normal? To be served this much?? I may actually be forgetting how to drive myself places. It’s nice to be doted on, but I’m eventually going to need it to stop. And right now, he’s giving me a shoulder massage. I just can’t.

Lastly, I feel highly fulfilled as I live life with my husband, but there is a deep longing for more. And what I mean by that is that we both have a vision for our marriage that far exceeds where we are right now. We’ve only been married for a very short amount of time, yet we are already dreaming of houses and babies and promotions and new opportunities. And this makes it hard to stay put. We want what’s next. Grant and I are struggling to find contentment — not with each other, but with this place that we are in. And we wonder if other newlyweds experience this, too. The good news is that Grant’s old, homebody soul matches mine real well, which means that this deep desire for a home, family, and stability is not an isolating experience for either of us. God knew what he was doing when he placed us together. And he knows what he’s doing by bringing us through the simple steps before we reach the big, difficult ones. Even still, we long for answers to our soul’s cries for more.

My prayer is that we find a way to hold onto contentment and peace right now even amidst these strong dreams and desires for our future. I also am praying that God gives us discernment through the Spirit as we decide the right opportunities to accept and the right changes to embrace. We’re slowly finding our place in this world — both individually and as a unit — but there’s still so much left to unearth and discover.

This post is personal and maybe not the most relevant to everybody who is reading it. However, I wanted to share these things because I believe it is important to talk from reality instead of wishful thinking. I don’t want to put up a front that gives people the idea of us having a perfect marriage and a grand old time. I want people to know that the initial stages of marriage are both fun and difficult for us for various reasons. I want people to know that even though Grant and I are thrilled to be each other’s husband and wife, we are still ignorant on how to balance our time together, we still have fights and issues, and we still don’t fully know what a God-glorifying marriage means for us.

Most of all, I want people to know that we, just like everybody else, are not entirely content. There are beautiful parts to this marriage, but there are also many areas we wish to improve and grow. Our prayers of desperation reflect that regularly. We just got married and it seems as though this should be the greatest and most joyous time of our lives, yet there is still a lot of junk and confusion we are both dealing with. We have a structured routine and it is pretty great, but stability on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean our minds and hearts are in stable places. Him and I are still learning how to battle the real enemy while continuing to mistakenly battle each other. And this doesn’t take me by surprise because I learned long ago that Hollywood and social media tells us a lot of lies about the way our marriage and our lives should look. I knew the journey to the altar would be a hard one and the road after it wouldn’t be any easier.

The last thing I want is for my marriage to do to others what Hollywood and social media has done to me. I know the way those lies have harmed me — making me loathe myself for wasteful purchases because I thought I was supposed to be a coupon-savvy wife, making me beat Grant and I up for forgetting to have our time with God because I wanted to be the perfect spiritual couple, making me buy new clothes and get a new haircut because I thought I needed to play the part of “sophisticated housewife.” I want to be absolutely done with believing lies about the way my marriage should look. They have done nothing but place unnecessary pressure and guilt on us. And I definitely don’t want to allow myself to be a conduit of these lies either.

For this reason, I am striving to not give off a perception of perfection. I think I may have failed at this many times over the years, and I am sorry. I want to make it my goal to continue sharing truth and reality with people, even if I have to write less eloquent blog posts, share uglier photos on Instagram, and admit to having a fight with Grant before walking into a friend’s house or Bible study. I don’t believe it is wise to broadcast all of our deep struggles and issues to the world, but I want to be a person who is willing to talk about hard things, especially when other women are asking the same questions as me or other couples are dealing with the same issues. Today’s post was only a snapshot of a few things on my mind. I promise there’s a lot more underneath it all, but there’s a time and place for such discussion.

I also want to ask you to take some time to pray for Grant and I — for our everyday battles and the long, arduous road to contentment that we are still trekking on. It might sound selfish and vain to ask that of you, but I know it’s not. This is the way God designed us to be — lovingly truthful and vulnerable. It is out of love for my husband that I ask for other prayer warriors to pray for our marriage. It is out of love for God that I admit our failings and desperate need for his strength and peace in our lives. And it is out of love for you that I’d rather give you an honest picture of our marriage and our need for prayer than let you think for one minute that we have it all together. And in return, I want to bear your burdens and lift up your prayers, too. There’s no reason for us to walk through life alone.

Grant and I are so, so new to this whole marriage thing, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have encouragement or some wisdom to give. We have found that there is value in listening to honest novices, just as there is value in listening to the experienced. Both of these acts open our hearts to each other and give us more opportunities to learn, relate, and love. I am not ashamed to admit that much of the wisdom I feel as though I have on the subject of relationships and marriage has just been passed down to me from my amazing parents and grandparents. Some conclusions I have come to on my own, but I have always welcomed help and advice from those who have come before me. I am a better woman and wife for it. You would be a better woman and wife for it, too. Find those people who will be honest with you and provide you real pictures of marriage and life. It will help you battle the lies that we all end up having to face.

I love getting to share my life with my husband, but I also love getting to share my life with other women. Thank you for allowing me to do so and for also extending grace when I am not doing so well. In a way, I get the best of both worlds — a man who has come alongside me and women to encourage me to stay there (all laughs aside, this statement rings quite true). Don’t be a stranger, my friends. We could all use some friendship these days, including this one newlywed right here.

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How Therapy Saved My Relationship

Photo by Yoel Ben-Avraham via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/gvoEfH)

Photo by Yoel Ben-Avraham via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/gvoEfH)

I first want to preface this post by explaining that I am a firm believer that God is the one who truly transforms hearts. No amount of therapy could compare to the life-changing work that my Savior has done in my life. Even still, I know that God has blessed me through my willingness to undergo weekly therapy for the past ten months.

Prior to seeing Tanya, my amazing counselor who I refer to throughout this post, I did not believe that counseling could be effective in my case. I believed that what I was battling — sadness, hopelessness, apathy, anger at others — were solely versions of spiritual attack. I believed that resorting to seeing a therapist was synonymous with not believing in God’s ability to heal me and fight for me. To some, this belief is understandable. To others, it sounds silly. Regardless of which party you fall into, I want you to know that I did not want to begin therapy when I did. I was doubtful of its ability to help me and I only went because my mom asked me to (and I now thank God that she did). I hope this piece of knowledge helps shed even more light on what I’m about to share about the effect therapy has had on my life and my relationship with Grant over the past year.

I also want to note that I interchange the word therapy for counseling quite frequently because they are one and the same. One word sounds more clinical while the other sounds more comfortable. I use both because I want to express how therapy is both clinical and comfortable at the same time. It’s not cold and frightening, but it’s also not solely filled with warm, fuzzy feelings. It’s a place where a professional can help you see the effects of the things going on inside your mind (such as emotions, fears, and memories) while also providing guidance and counsel on how to work through and even thrive with them.

How Therapy Saved My Relationship

Rewind to November 2014. My first counseling session. I was intimidated and afraid of judgment while also slightly excited. I didn’t want to be labeled as sick or depressed, yet I still had hope that this woman might have the answers that God seemed to be withholding from me. If prayer wasn’t working, maybe pills would, I told myself.

Of course, I was very mistaken in my perception of therapy. Just because you go to a professional doesn’t mean you should expect to be diagnosed with an illness and thus prescribed some medication. I ended up finding healing without medication. God used therapy to heal my soul so that my body and mind could be made well, too. This does not mean that I am better than those who do take medication. It simply means that God can now use me to bring hope to those afraid of counseling just as he uses others to bring hope to those afraid of medication. We all have different journeys of healing, thus we all have different roles to play.

After my first few sessions with Tanya, I was diagnosed with DSM-IV 309.28, which is a fancy way of saying I had “Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood.” I was later re-diagnosed as having DSM-IV 300.02, which is “Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” Long story short, the focus of many of my sessions with Tanya have centered around the role that anxiety has played in my life. After becoming engaged to Grant in December 2014, we began to zero in on the role that anxiety has played and would continue to play in my relationship with Grant.

At the time of getting engaged, Grant and I were fighting all the time. That’s not something most people expect or want to hear. As I have assumed about others, people most likely assumed that Grant and I got engaged because we were so head over heels in love and terribly happy. The being in love part was true, but the being terribly happy part was not. We had been together for a year and we had reached a point where all our cards were laid out on the table. Our cards were not the hand we would have liked to be dealt. While my cards consisted of control issues, bitterness, and fear, his consisted of passivity and carelessness.

I want to say this once and for all for everyone who has even just one of these cards in their own hand: YOU are NOT your card. You have what many like to call “baggage” or “issues.” But they are not the true you, the person you were designed to be. You may think otherwise because these things are coming out of you, but these are things that have most likely been thrust upon you and nurtured in you from some past experience, maybe as far back as your early childhood.

You have baggage, my dear friend. But you are not defined by it. You are just lugging it around and need some help unloading it all.

What Tanya did for me was help me unload my baggage. It was a long and hard process. And I will tell you that for the first few months, I did not see much change in my life. She would remind me of the progress that I was making at every session, but I felt too defeated too many times to even believe her. This, of course, led to frustration and even more hopelessness as Grant and I continued to move closer to our wedding date with little resolution in sight. If this sounds terrifying to you, let me tell you that it most definitely was. And with every decision about the wedding that was made came more anxiety as I began to feel increasingly trapped. No one wants to be the runaway bride, but neither does anyone want to be the unhappy wife.

What’s a girl to do when she’s accepted a proposal with hope and excitement only to be hit with the reality of just how hard having a successful marriage really is? Some would say to give up and run away. In fact, I will not deny that there were friends who warned me somewhere along this journey that I did not seem to be ready for this commitment I was making. They asked me to consider delaying the wedding so that I could be absolutely certain that Grant and I should be moving forward. I will also add to this disclosure that I fortunately have had an extremely supportive family who have been able to speak truth into my life, as well. If it weren’t for them, I might actually have listened to those few friends and would not be getting ready to marry the love of my life less than two months from now.

Just a word of advice: if your twenty-year-old unmarried friends are saying something different than your forty-year-old married parents and sixty-year old married grandparents, you might want to consider what wise counsel in this situation really means. Just think about it.

Some of the things that Tanya and I discovered about myself in our sessions together shed a huge light on what was causing so many of the fights and unhappiness between Grant and I. However, when those things were first uncovered, I was not mature enough to actually implement any resolution. This, I realize now, is normal. With any major wounds, healing takes time and also continual treatment. You don’t just identify it, slap on a bandage, and expect it to go away. You have to change out the bandages and continue applying the right ointments. Otherwise, it might never properly heal. Likewise, you can’t expect your baggage to go away just because you can now identify it and want to slap a bandage on it. You have to continue to work towards healing and resolution. This is why I believe that if you go to a therapist for a couple of months and don’t think that you’re any better, I suggest that you consider sticking with it unless there is a compatibility issue between you and the therapist.

I now am at the point where I am implementing resolutions and seeing real results in both my personal life and my relationship with Grant. If I had given up on therapy this past spring because it had been six months since my first session and I was still at Grant’s throat, I would have been an absolute idiot.

I would have missed out on one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me: actual healing and transformation, true happiness and peace with my soon-to-be-husband.

. . . . .

For eight months, I saw Tanya every week. Now I see her every other week. This is because Grant and I are also seeing a professional marriage counselor together. I was skeptical when we first began seeing Jason, our marriage counselor, because I was so used to being with Tanya. In fact, I cried the entire car ride home after our first session with Jason because it was just so difficult to imagine him actually helping us. What could this man possibly do for Grant and I? I’m already knee-deep in therapy with Tanya. Now I need this stranger pointing out all the things I’m still failing at?

I now enjoy seeing Jason with Grant because he has proven himself to be a helpful source of guidance in our relationship. Tanya was right when she first suggested that we see him; there are some things that need to be worked out as a team. Despite the progress I was making with her, Grant was missing out on the experience. He would sometimes come to my sessions, but we were only able to scratch the surface there. Seeing Jason gives him more opportunities to unload his own baggage. If you ask Grant, he would say that he has learned a lot about himself since our first session together. And this newfound knowledge he has enables him to better love me as he works through his own issues and I continue working through mine.

Today Grant and I are thriving more than ever before. We are happier than we were when we first began dating. He loves me more deeply than I thought he could ever love me, and I can also say the same about myself. We have been humbled in a major way. For the first time in my life, I am able to both forgive and apologize freely; the desire for control and perfection no longer dominates me. For the first time in his life, Grant is able to be sacrificial in the way he loves and run full force in his pursuit of me; passivity no longer holds him back. This summer has been the best summer I have ever had because all of the hard work we put into this relationship and our continual pursuit of healing have finally paid off. We are not perfect and we never will be, but we are infinitely more ready for this marriage than we ever thought we could be.

I don’t want you to miss this or take this lightly: Grant and I owe so much to therapy.

Tears stream down my face when I think about where we were when we first signed up for this marriage thing and where we are now. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Tanya and Jason have played a vital role in our relationship. It needed to happen. And the best part is that it doesn’t stop there. Yes, therapy has done so much for us, but we now see when we look back that it’s been Jesus doing the work all along. Tanya and Jason were equipped by him to supply us with the wisdom and hope that we needed to keep going. And Grant and I have been equipped by him to put in the hard work and love each other despite our difficulties. Jesus has healed and softened both of our hearts, and he used counseling in a big way to do it. An instant fix wouldn’t have been as praise-worthy in this situation. I know this to be true because God has given me instant fixes before and I continually forget them and neglect to thank him for them.

This journey of healing between Grant and I that has required so much time, so much effort, so much heartache and praying and desperation is worth more than anything I’ve ever been given apart from salvation. 

. . . . .

So to answer the question that many people have in the back of their minds but are either too skeptical or afraid to ask: Yes, therapy is worth every penny and minute of your day. Especially when you have a personal relationship with Jesus and he is guiding you the whole way.

If you are a Christian and have areas in your life that require healing, I implore you to begin praying that God gives you clarity on whether therapy is the next step for you to take. And if you aren’t seeming to get an answer, I then ask you to have faith, be brave, and try it anyway. When I first began counseling, I did not want to go. I did not believe it could fix me. And I was right. It didn’t fix me. God just used it as a tool to heal me. And he can do the same for you.

Both Tanya and Jason are believers. This has proven to be tremendously helpful because a lot of healing that needed to occur in my life was very much, if not entirely, related to my spiritual life. I suggest that you find somebody whose faith aligns with yours. I don’t know if it is absolutely essential, but I know it is most likely important. God can use anybody, but the journey to healing is probably easier when you’re being counseled by somebody who has similar values and beliefs as you.

The last thing and maybe the most important thing I want to mention about therapy is the financial cost. When I talk to my friends about seeing a therapist, the biggest reason they give me for not going is money-related. They say that they just can’t afford it. And they might be right. In that case, they might benefit from finding a therapist who works with their insurance or, if they’re a college student, seeing a professional who provides free services at their school. There are also most likely programs or ministries at their church that offer similar services, although they might not be offered by trained, licensed professionals. There is nothing wrong with receiving help from these sources versus receiving help from trained, licensed professionals if they are able to give the necessary amount of support.

To give you a picture of what my therapy has cost my family, I will tell you that every session of therapy I go to is $100. If it was compatible with my insurance, it would be less, but it’s not. Because I see Tanya by myself twice a month and also go with Grant to see Jason twice a month, my mom and dad pay $400 for therapy each month. At one point, my parents were also going to therapy, as well. You can imagine how expensive our cumulative therapy bill was.

You probably think that that is an absurd amount to be spending, and I respect that opinion because I know that different people place different worth on different things. I, however, would have been willing to pay even more than $400 if I knew that God was going to do this work in my life. If my mom were to tell me that she couldn’t help me pay for therapy any longer, I would’ve gotten a second job. I would’ve given up my nicest clothes, date nights with Grant, Starbucks coffee, textbooks, manicures, unlimited data plans, and vacations. I would have found a way to keep going. Thankfully, I am at the point where I feel comfortable with not seeing Tanya or Jason every week and I could see them less if money needed to be conserved. This could not have been the case just a few months ago. At the beginning of summer, Grant and I were on the brink of revelation, of uncovering this amazing place of peace we are now living in. If we had quit too early in order to conserve time, energy, or money, it would’ve been a true shame. It’s true that God could have continued healing us anyway, but what we’ve gained through therapy is just too valuable to imagine giving back.

If you are on the fence about whether or not to begin seeing a counselor because you are afraid of it being expensive, my words of advice are to find a way. If you are serious about your healing, you should take the time to assess how money can be allocated towards it rather than being allocated towards non-essentials. Going out with friends every week is a non-essential. Buying nice, new clothes is a non-essential. Using your gas to go to Atlanta every weekend for fun is non-essential. Manicures and tans are non-essential. The latest pieces of technology are non-essentials. And in many cases, proving your independence by refusing to ask your family for support in affording something that is good and perhaps vital for your health is non-essential.

I cannot stress this enough: your wellbeing is far too important for you to delay doing something about it.

It might not be so important to you right now, but I know it is very important to God. He has entrusted you with this beautiful life. And if you are not living as you are called to live because baggage or wounds or illness is holding you back, you are doing both yourself and God a disservice. Some might argue I am being too harsh; I argue that people are not harsh enough.

My prayer for everybody reading this post is that you take the time to pray and think through the decision of going to therapy. Some people reading this truly just don’t need it or are already receiving it, and I think that is great. Other people reading this probably do need it and are holding themselves back, and I think that is sad. I don’t want anybody to hold themselves back from what God has in store for them. And if you are not allowing yourself to receive help in your process of healing, or if you are not even striving towards healing, that’s exactly what you are doing. Counseling is not for everybody; sometimes prayer and continual pursuit of God is enough. But sometimes in your pursuit of God, you are led to other sources of help. Don’t do yourself a disservice by resisting them.

Believe that God has trained up an army of counselors and helpers who are designed to love you, counsel you, and encourage you in your darkest times of need. Therapy is far from worthless or a waste of money. You can ask Grant and I after years of marriage and even ask our future children down the road if we are glad that we made the decision to receive help. I am positive that we will give you a resounding yes.

Are you that positive that you won’t look back on your life and wish you did the same sooner?

When Your Relationship Comes Before God

Confession: I do this thing where I end up looking to my boyfriend to fill me instead of looking to God.

I’m comfortable telling you that because I’m finally realizing that I’m not alone in this struggle. For the longest time, I’ve been afraid to show anything about my relationship with Grant that could be contrary to the good image of our relationship that people probably have in their minds.

But I know now that my failure to always put God first in my relationship with Grant is not the same as having a bad relationship or being a bad girlfriend/bad Christian. It just means I’m a normal human being who still has a lot left to learn.

For the past couple days, I’ve had to ask God to forgive me for letting Grant consume a majority of my time and energy and focus. As I was setting apart more and more time to build my relationship with him, I was neglecting to use my time to build my relationship with God. I justified it for some time by telling myself that if Grant and I are working towards marriage, then we must pour all of our efforts into this to make it the best and most godly marriage in the whole wide world.

I forgot that I’m already in a marriage, a beautiful union with Jesus. He is my first love and my Husband. My relationship with him is the reason I even get to enjoy such a great relationship with Grant. 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Grant and I have been reading through Proverbs both together and on our own this past month. Never before have we realized so much wisdom is packed in this book! Proverbs is even where we found the passage we decided to adopt as our vision for our relationship.

By wisdom a house is built,
    and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with rare and beautiful treasures.

The wise prevail through great power,
    and those who have knowledge muster their strength.
Surely you need guidance to wage war,
    and victory is won through many advisers (Proverbs 24:3-6)

We want to build a relationship that’s built and established by wisdom. We’ve made our fair share of unwise mistakes (before each other and with each other) and we know now more than ever how valuable wisdom is when you’re merging two lives together. Just like this passage says, we want our “house” to be “filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

What made this passage even more meaningful to us is when I stumbled across this verse:

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).

By JESUS our house is built and established. Because of JESUS, our rooms can be filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

This is something we’re having to remind ourselves of again and again. It is too easy to neglect God when you’re madly in love. But let me tell you something truly amazing: God makes sure our relationship is not all rainbows and roses. I believe that stumbling blocks are put in our way and those stumbling blocks serve as reminders that God is the one we need above all else. These stumbling blocks may come from satan, but because God works all things for our good (Romans 8:28), He knows how to use our temptations and failings to pull us back to Him.

I’ve experienced this in the past couple of days. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Grant and not as much time with God, and I’ve been longing for Grant to be there for me in times of sadness and fear more than I’ve been longing for God.

Thankfully, Grant is also a human being who still has a lot left to learn because when he tries to fix everything and be my everything, he fails. This shows me just how insufficient his love is to satisfy my deep longings. That might sound sad to some, but it’s actually a very humbling, beautiful thing. It’s during these times when I’m pulled back to God (after sulking and wrongfully blaming Grant, of course).

I feel bad for putting Grant above God, but I know that the guilt or embarrassment I feel during these times do not come from God. Instead of guilt, there is abundant grace.

My relationship with Grant is not sinful against God or something to be condemned; it’s being shaped and molded by God, something to praise Him and look to Him for.

This morning as I was reading Proverbs, I found this passage that summed up the truth I’ve been needing to hear:

Two things I ask of you, Lord;
    do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God (Proverbs 30:7-9).

I don’t need poverty or riches. I just need my daily bread.

In other words, I don’t need to break off my relationship with Grant because of my mistakes. I also don’t need to stay in this habit of being consumed and obsessed with him.

I need God’s all-sufficient grace.

When I have too much of Grant, I “disown” God and forget how good He is. I neglect to spend time with my first love, my Husband.

When I don’t have Grant at all, I end up stealing all of Grant’s time and attention and focus. I dishonor Grant’s relationship with God when my neediness results in greediness. I dishonor God himself, the One who’s been right there with me with arms wide open as I’ve chased after a man who can neither fill nor satisfy my heart.

Yes, I need God’s all-sufficient grace. I am so thankful that He pours such grace upon me every single time I turn my eyes back to Him. And what amazes me is how that grace carries over into my relationship with Grant. Only this time, our relationship is healthier and back on track. We are building that house again. Or rather, Jesus is building it and we’re finally letting him.

I love Grant, but I love God more. I need Grant, but I need God more. I want Grant, but I want God more.

This is where I’m at and this is where I’ll always be. I might forget for some time, but grace carries me back. What a beautiful life I have with my beautiful God — my first love, my Husband. And I’m so thankful that God has allowed Grant to come alongside me and share in this beautiful life with me. We get to spend our lives looking up to heaven together and I can’t think of a better way to enjoy this relationship with the man I love.

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Grant and I have been together for a year and I’m still falling more in love with him all the time! This man pursues me, fights for me, and serves me like no other. Grant doesn’t like this picture very much because he’s used to only seeing serious pictures of himself, but I love this picture because he just looks so HAPPY. Not everyone gets to see him this way, and I am thankful that he’s chosen me to be the woman who gets to see him and know him better than anyone else. He’s my best friend! I can’t help but thank God for Grant — not just because of what he means to me, but because of the man he is.

What Is God’s Will for My Life?

The scary question always on the tip of our tongues: What is God’s will for my life?

Can I just say here and now that I have maybe asked this question more times than any other question I’ve ever had? And things are still just as hazy as before I ever thought to ask. It’s not that God isn’t revealing things to me. He is! But that’s another issue in and of itself: what do you do when there are so many answers thrown at you and they all somehow feel right? I mean, there’s got to be just ONE right answer! Or maybe not…

Here’s the truth I’m being hit with today:

We have been given all we need to follow God’s will for our lives.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God– that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ ” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)

What if the wisdom we’ve been seeking has already been given to us? And that wisdom is in the form of Jesus?

I snooped around on Blue Letter Bible (excellent website that I implore you to try out sometime) for the original Greek translation of this verse in 1 Corinthians. Let me break down for you what I found:

wisdom = [supreme] intelligence, knowledge, interpreting, giving of sound advice, discovering meaning, skill in management, proper intercourse with non-believers, skill in imparting Christian truth, practice of godly living

These are various definitions of the word “wisdom” as used in God’s Word, and it’s interesting how much of those definitions remind me of the search for God’s will for our lives. Are we not seeking out supreme or divine intelligence? Are we not hoping to interpret and discover meaning? Do we not want the skills necessary for the management of our lives?

Wisdom is a vital part of discovering God’s will, and according to this verse, we have already attained it. Jesus has “become the wisdom of God for us.”

If you read further in 1 Corinthians, we are even told that we have the wisdom of God because we have the Spirit of God and the mind of Christ.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

(1 Corinthians 2:10-16)

What does this mean for our lives? This means that the supreme or divine intelligence we’re seeking is already found. The ability to interpret and discover meaning has already been given to us. We have already been handed the skills necessary for the management of our lives.

We know God’s will for our lives. We just don’t know that we know.

The next word I looked up the Greek translation for was “righteousness” (referring back to 1 Corinthians 1:30).

righteousness = acceptable to God, may attain from God, integrity, virtue, purity, correctness, justice

There’s a correlation between Jesus being our wisdom and Jesus being our righteousness. It is because we are made righteous (through Jesus dying on the Cross) that we are worthy of him being our wisdom, that we are worthy of knowing God’s will for our lives.

Furthermore, the things the Spirit reveal to us, the things that we are beginning to walk in (perhaps even unknowingly), are acceptable to God. They are virtuous and correct. We are able to attain these insights into God’s calling and will for our lives because we are now righteous.

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

holiness/sanctification = purification, consecration (of heart and of life)

We are in a continual process of being purified and consecrated. That means we are constantly being made more sacred and holy. Through the doubting and the questioning and the seeking and the wandering, we are being purified. When we figure out where God wants us, we are standing on holy ground as sacred creations. When we DON’T know where God wants us, we are even still standing on holy ground as sacred creations.

Our heart and our lives are being pulled closer to God, which in turn makes us more holy and pure.

Even when you feel like you’re at a standstill and you don’t know which way God wants you to turn, your heart and your life are not at a standstill.

Is it audacious to say that maybe we are always in the right place?

redemption = releasing of need for payment, deliverance

We don’t have to pay God for anything. We don’t have to earn anything. We’ve been bought at a price and we are now free to worship, serve, live, and love.

I want you to hold onto that today as you continue the journey of finding your way.

You are FREE.

You are free from the expectation of having it all together and knowing exactly where your life is headed. You are free from the pressure of making all the right moves.

The right moves are in God’s hands.

Because of 1) Jesus being our wisdom, 2) Jesus making us righteous, 3) the ongoing sanctification occurring through Jesus’ work in us, and 4) the redemption we’ve been given by Jesus that enables us to walk in freedom… we don’t have to be afraid of not knowing.

And that truly means something.

How many people do you see aimlessly wandering, trying to figure out what to do or who they’re supposed to be?

We’re different. We don’t have to figure it all out and certainly not on our own. We already know who we are.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  (1 Corinthians 1:26-27)

As the world stumbles, we can stand strong and CONFIDENT because we already have the answers (the wisdom) we need. The answer, by the way, is Jesus. Keep your eyes on him and you won’t lose your way. Keep your focus on God and He’ll make sure you get to where He wants you to be.

Repeat this after me: I am wise. I am righteous, I am being made holy, I am redeemed.

I am not lost.