From the get-go, let me say this: Storms don’t discriminate. They’re equal opportunity givers.
Like the word “crap” or not. Every one of us have that/a word we utilize to describe a moment that didn’t suit us. It could encapsulate an entire event or the immediate feeling about the situation. We all have our “word.” You may be more sanctified than me (most likely), but “Crap” seems to be the one I settled on years ago that seems to be a family fav. For those of you already offended by the word, you’re probably wondering when the blog about the “looseness of words” is going to happen. But that’s another blog for another time.
22 days from now, Anne and I will celebrate 17 years of marriage together. And after our 20 years of being “Dave and Anne” (dating and marriage), I can say, our marriage has been full of crap, or more descriptive, crappy situations. There have been moments of disappointment and displeasure. Frustrations and faults. We have annoyed each other and let each other down. We’ve seen embarrassment and hurt.
Yet here we stand. I don’t say that out of any semblance of pride. I humbly recognize that which the Apostle Paul recognized,
I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 NLT
Some of you see the “crap” that has happened and you feel alone. Even though in your head, you know others deal with it, but your experiences make you feel you’re on a desert island…alone and stuck. Maybe you’re like me and as you watch things transpire, you feel like a failure because you could’ve/should’ve prevented it from happening. It’s frustrating but tough moments are a part of life you can’t always forecast. But you can do one of two things:
1 – Wallow in the crap. We can just sit/live in the frustration and disappointment. The filthiness and smell of failure can be your new identity. We can walk around reeking like it because we refuse to leave it behind.
2 – We can take the “crap” life throws at us and turn it into fertilizer. You and I can look at a “set-back” and use it as a “set-up” for something amazing to happen.
One of my favorite professors in college used to say, “You need to have 50/20 vision.” The scripture he was referring to was a passage in Genesis spoken from the mouth of Joseph. You want to talk about “crap” happening to someone. He was betrayed by family. Sold into slavery. Lost a position of authority out of a false sex scandal. Jailed. Forgotten in obscurity.
Yet when all is said and done, he stands on the other side of a lifetime of letdowns with these words to the very family who tried to destroy him,
Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good. Genesis 50:20
The moments happen. Those unplanned and unforeseen moments that we never thought would happen to our marriage blindsided us. Nobody plans for disappointments. There’s not a single one of us who walked the aisle of our weddings wishing that we could have frustration in our marriage.
But it happens. You are human. You married a human. Humans are messy. “Crap” is going to happen. But you have the choice: wallow in it or see it with 50/20 vision. See it from a place where God can use it to fertilize growth for the future.
Here’s a few tips for you to get 50/20 vision of the “crap” that happens…
1. Guard your responses. The book of James tells us, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” This is a 3-part message by itself. Don’t be reactionary. Take time to ponder and process what is taking place. See past the surface into the deeper issues. Perhaps your spouse isn’t trying to hurt you purposely, but he/she is acting out of her themselves. Take a moment to listen thoroughly, carefully choose healthy words, and calm your temperament.
2. Be careful who you surround yourself with. Psalm 1 warns us to be cautious to not surround ourselves with people who are NOT going to have a healthy, Godly mindset. But joyous living comes from surrounding yourself with the wisdom (Word) of God. When we do, the promise is we will be like a like “trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” I don’t care if the person is your BFF, if the person is all about telling you what you want to hear and/or what they selfishly want for you, you need to separate yourself from them during this season. When the “crappy” moments of life hit, the wisdom (or lack thereof) you surround yourself with can make all the difference in the world.
3. Be a bridge builder. We’re always waiting for others to make the first move. Some say, “Time heals everything.” It’s a lie. Time, by itself, heals nothing. The only way to resolve conflict is to face it. God expects you to take the first step. He expects you to be the peacemaker. You make the first move. It doesn’t matter if you are the offended one or the offender. Always see it as your move. It’s so important that God says it takes priority over worship. Matthew 5:23-24 says, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (NLT).
4. See what Christ sees. Potential is recognizing the future possibility. It’s unrealized power. This is the way Christ sees us. He sees His power working in us and what can be done/accomplished through Him if we will walk in obedience. NOTE: He doesn’t wait for our actions to begin to see who we could be. He doesn’t wait for our obedience to respond to us. Jesus reaches out when we don’t. He offers a future without us even deserving it. Your spouse may look and act like a mess. But if you’ll look in the mirror, you’re not going to see any less in you. This is why we all need to see what Jesus sees. Always look past the surface and see the potential.
5. Love based upon His love and not yours. 1 Corinthians 13 has been read at so many weddings. I’ve done it. I’ve heard it. We constantly read it from the place of how we are supposed to love. We really need to see it as a description of how God loves. Us humans carry such a surface level understanding of love. It’s so dependent upon “what have you done for me lately.” We fall “out” of love as fast as we fall “in” love. Paul tells a Corinthian church who is struggling with an understanding of love, sex, and community that THIS is what God’s love looks like. It’s not a circumstantial feeling. It’s a daily decision. And if we are going to reflect Him, we need to daily decide to respond to the world around us, especially our spouse, with His love.
Crap happens to all of us. Storms don’t discriminate. They’re equal opportunity givers. But today you need to decide: Are you going to wallow in it? Or are you ready to turn it around to fertilize your future and launch your marriage towards health.
It time to move forward and see God do amazing things.
Thanks for letting me ramble…