…For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.Romans 7:18-19
I’ve never experienced the pain of divorce in my personal life, but it’s not because I am the perfect wife and do everything right. I’ve made a lot of mistakes that have hurt my husband, and he has hurt me. Marriage is about bringing your best you to the game, every day.
Anyone that tells you they have never had rough times in their marriage is probably still at their wedding reception. And, a few of those receptions have ended in a throw down, too.
Happily Ever After
And they lived happily ever after does not just happen. That’s the stuff of fiction. What is very real though is meangirl.
Who is meangirl and what does she have to do with relationships? Well, she represents the part of me that’s left from my B.C. [before Christ] days. My carnal nature that the Word of God tells me will always be at odds with my born again nature.
In order for me to have a great relationship with my husband, I first have to have a great relationship with God. And meangirl, whom I think of as a wet squinty-eyed cat lurking in the basement of my heart, has to become so kittenish that she won’t even come out on a good day much less a day full of pressure, grief or tragedy.
Yes, but how?
Don’t you hate it when people tell you what you should do but don’t tell you how to do it? You know what failure looks like but have no clue how to achieve success. Well, I’m going to give you a “how” lesson. I’m going to teach you about digging a pond.
This will help you.
My husband, Steve, is a retired miner. He knows a lot of fascinating stuff about dirt, water, elevations, and yes, ponds. He’s wicked smart. This is what he taught me about digging a pond.
A pond first has to be dug deep enough to hit ground water. Without groundwater, the pond will be stagnant. Just a trickle is all that is needed. It begins to fill from rain and from that trickle. Seems simple doesn’t it? Dig a hole, watch it fill, beauty forever! What? Amazing right?
Here’s the thing, a man-made pond is not natural to the earth so it has to be maintained. It has to be oxygenated so fish can live.
The water has to be treated so the light does not reach the bottom of the pond causing grass and trees to grow. Have you figured out what happens if you don’t do the maintenance? Yep!
The earth begins to reclaim itself.
Read the previous sentence again because this is important. This is about being self-aware…and being truthful about your strengths, your weaknesses, what comes easy for you and what is difficult.
It is about your B.C. self. Whatever you may call her or him. It’s about understanding that if you have any hope of making a success of the marriage you are in or the one you hope to have in the future, you cannot stop at an initial encounter with God and say “done”. Because I promise you, your old ugly self will reclaim all your pretty new self if you don’t work to maintain what God has done.
It’s about remission.
When the people in the Bible asked what they had to do the response was to repent. And the reason was for the remission of sin. The Greek word for remission as used in the scripture means ‘something sent away’. Think of this in the context of cancer. Cancer is never said to disappear. In fact, doctors never say a person is cured of cancer. They always say that the cancer is in remission. It has lost its power to kill the person, but it’s still there and can come back.
Now think of that in the context of your meangirl.
Are you still with me?
Now, God loves us even when we are wearing our ugliest shoes on our worst hair day going to have lunch with people we don’t really know and are not sure we can ever like. He does not love us more on the days that we do well then He loves us on the days we fail. He just loves us.
And though His love is unconditional, His approval is not. Busted.
So what does spiritual maintenance look like exactly? For starters, it looks like honesty and confession. You and I will never forsake what we are not willing to confess. We kind of like our wet cat ways. See them as harmless, really.
So, yeah sometimes I ask God to forgive me for what I said, did, thought, hit (just kidding about the hitting, mostly) and then I ask Him to forgive me for still feeling justified in my bad behavior and to create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.
To give me godly sorrow. I strive to be very honest with God because, let’s face it, though I am amazing, I can be p-r-e-t-t-y mean. I recommend it. The honesty thing, not the mean thing.
Then, it looks like daily prayer and reading of God’s Word. Did you know the Word is alive? Yep, and He creates. In Genesis, God spoke the world into existence and then in the book of John He says, the Word was with God and the Word was God. That means the Word you are reading can create. Groovy cool, right? So when you pray, pray the Word.
It Takes Work
Work to keep the groundwater flowing inside of you and that will keep whatever meangirl you might have in remission.
Are you thinking, that’s it? What about him/her? My spouse needs to change!
Did you say it?
I know, I’m kind of feeling queasy about the revelation too. But good news! If we take care of what He’s showing us about ourselves, He will tend to everything that pertains to us. He promised. I believe Him. And you?