For the sake of being open, and as I am writing this article from a perspective based on personal experiences (rather than research), you will be likely to find assumptions that may not apply to you. My hope is that you’ll take away anything helpful and leave the rest.
During these past months of engagement, truths have been revealed to me and lies exposed (many of which I wasn’t even aware that I believed). Listed below is the lie and, then beside it, an explanation and opposing truth.
1. A comfortable situation is always more satisfying.
My fiance, Joe, recently helped me move into (he’ll move in after our wedding) our beautiful home. These past few days, I have felt cacooned in our 4th floor apartment, waking up swallowed in the cloud-like covers of a king-sized bed, thinking about all of God’s blessings and the security he has provided through Joe. This is currently one of the most comfortable periods of my life, and also one plagued by consciousness, lack of confidence and disconnect from God and myself. Then, yesterday, during one of my first outings alone in our new neighborhood, I was surprised to feel fear. Why was I afraid? I’ve traveled numerous times by myself in the past … before I started dating my fiance. Along with fear came a feeling of refreshment, as I found myself praying to God for His reassurance and comfort. It was kind of like, “Thank you Lord for this fear!” I was grateful for the challenge.
Challenging and spontaneous situations are invigorating, confident and satisfying. God didn’t create us to find satisfaction in the shallow things of life.
2. A husband and wife can either be independent of each other or dependent on each other.
We will always remain a separate person from our spouse, with different experiences, goals, fears, opinions, passions etc. We are created differently, and yet, share life together as one. Often, I find, that these differences make our relationships rich and dynamic. While Joe and I share common Christian values, which serve as the firm foundation for our relationship, we have the freedom to be ourselves and also to embrace the other’s differences. We can be both independent of each other and, at the same time, be united in marriage.
3. God works … in most areas.
There are a few areas that, if I am honest, I grasp tightly to and am afraid of what God may do with them. I listed some of these in my journal this morning: physical well-being, financial security, living situation, poverty and violence in my neighborhood. Lies, lies, all lies. The incredible part is, I’ve witnessed God work in all of these areas, and yet, doubt creeps into my heart and mind. There is nothing that is beyond the reach of God’s work. He is able to work in ALL areas of our lives.
4. God cares more about my do-gooder activities than my heart.
There is ugliness in my heart, sometimes even when I do good deeds. God sees right through those good deeds, into my brokenness and loves me anyway. I formed a habit of banking my self worth on how much good I think I’m doing rather than the state of my heart (brought to life in my thoughts, words and behavior). For example, when there is resentment, shame and doubt in my heart, I make selfish decisions and use unloving words—a sure way to deteriorate a relationship. God cares more about my heart than about my activities.
5. A routine and secure life is the goal.
Partly illustrated in my little anecdote above (see #1), complacency and dissatisfaction can brew when we are too comfortable and accustomed to the same routine day in and day out. Sometimes I find myself yearning for security, days that are characterized by predictability and routine. It’s safe! (I suppose safety and security are turning out to be themes here). I wonder if other women experience similar desires.
This brings to mind a scene in Stranger Than Fiction, when Will Ferrell’s character, Herold, is pictured brushing his teeth using the same amount of strokes each morning, taking the same route to the same office each day, working the same amount of hours and then going to bed at the same time each night … until one day the alarm on his watch failed to go off (see video clip embedded below). While routine and structure can feel safe for me, I’m realizing that it also doesn’t embody any challenge or opportunity for growth. The fear of trying something new and uncomfortable is worth the unknown outcome. God tells us to have faith and a life lived by faith is not routine but unequivocally satisfying. So what is the goal? Truth. I’ll let you sit on that one…
In closing, at the risk of none of that being completely cohesive, it is indeed an honest assessment of the lies and truths that have surfaced. Many of which I attribute to the challenges of preparing to build a life with another person. I encourage you to think through lies that you may believe, reflect on them and then replace them with the Truth.
And if you feel so lead, share them below!