Friday, June 6, 2014

Striving To Be Above Reproach


There's been so many changes in our life lately, and honestly, Sean and I haven't handled them very well. 

The first half of this year has been somewhat of a struggle - in our marriage, in our faith, in our jobs, in our church. We're trying to figure out who we are, what we're doing, where we're going, and why. In the process of all this confusion, we haven't honored God the way we should have. We haven't honored each other to the best of our ability. We haven't poured ourselves into the body of Christ like we had purposed to at the beginning of 2014. Our first year of marriage has been hard. The growth we've experienced has been tremendous, but the defeats have been bitter.

I should feel so full of life and purpose. I'm on the brink of so many new and exciting possibilities. I'm going to be a mother. I'm discovering more what I want this blog to look like. I'm cultivating a more honest, consistent, prayer life. I quit my job, and I'm excited to invest more time and attention into an eventual, home-based business and economy. I'm so free to learn, and grow, and explore.

But there's something holding me back, keeping me trapped in the back room of our mobile home where I look out the window at all the beautiful countryside, never to experience it. I can only hear lies: "Don't savor the joys...did you forget how discontent you are? Remember that way Sean failed you last week? Don't you remember how much of a failure YOU are? Things will never get better."

And I grow more and more disheartened. I have fallen so hard, time and time again. My merciful Savior always picks me up and tells me, "Go, and sin no more, stop listening to the lies" but I still stumble on my way. He showers us with blessings - news of a baby girl, a wonderful family, new job opportunities - but we shake our fists and wonder why He hasn't given us more.

It hasn't all been hopeless, but it is still incredibly tough to admit that we have fallen so hard. But as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7:10..."For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death."

The photo at the top is from the latest She Reads Truth study on the book of Titus, and those words stopped me in my tracks earlier this week. I think this was the key to all my Spiritual and Relationship struggles these past several months as I realized: I was daily striving to live above reproach (a perfectly Biblical thing to do), but I was only striving for my own peace and happiness; to "fix" things. I was striving for simply behavior modification.

I was doing this when Sean and I disagreed on something and tried to come to a conclusion. I was doing this when I tried to be a "good" wife. I was doing this when I tried to give "spiritual" advice to a friend who was struggling. I was doing this when I only opened my Bible to read a Proverb or two because maybe that would give me a burst of Christ-centered joy I knew I so desperately needed but couldn't find.

I was doing all these things I N S T E A D of striving to simply live in communion with my God; to abide in Christ. To simply be still and know that He is God.

I was putting behavior modification ("living above reproach") on a pedestal as the solution to fix our struggling, to healing our hurts and fears, and to giving us direction. If we just do this, or if I just respond this way, or if we start acting like THAT couple, then everything could be different. 

When really, our problem has been rooted in our lack of daily communion with Christ - separately, and together. Why were we struggling so hard? BECAUSE we were struggling in the first place! We had lost sight of who the Lord was, what He was doing, and who we were in light of that. We were still holding on to those chains that He had broken when He called us to Himself.

These past several days have been like a cool drink of water after months of wandering the dessert. Sean and I had been gorging ourselves ON ourselves for too long, and it's finally time for a change. We're going to both be more intentional about daily communion with the Lord and fellowship with Him, and quit struggling so much to perform. Our focus has been on ourselves, but by His amazing grace, we might begin to see what we've been blind to for so long. 

Dear sisters reading along, would you pray for us during this time? How do you regain your focus on Christ after realizing you've been focusing on yourself for far too long?

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