Last night at couples bible study, we did a lot of laughing first of all since we were talking about romance and *cough* sex. We compared ourselves to middle schoolers, but really, I think I have improved from then, in middle school I would have been balled up on the floor laughing until tears drenched my face. It’s funny how God will often take your week and link it all together, especially when you are in His Word or attending (in my case leading) another bible study. This week’s compass was pointed due North with one word at the top– intentional.
I’ll explain a little. This week in women’s study (Beth Moore’s When Godly People do Ungodly Things) we talked about friendship/relationships and seduction. Whether we want to admit it, it’s true that every person we have a relationship with, we make deposits into each other’s lives. Some of those deposits are good and some are just plain horrible. I lived that out this year already when I was making decisions about Zander riding the school bus. I kept thinking, “Am I just being a total worry wart?” After a few days at the bus stop and the other kids, I realized quickly that I definitely was giving him a ride to school. I knew that having those people in his life at a constant would write onto him.
So, we find ourselves feeling a little powerless, and maybe even just plain worried. With growing wickedness in the world (especially that dressed in light, despite it’s darkness) we might be tempted to hide away or try to band together just our Christian friends. That, my friend, is false security. Even relationships in church can be messy and lead to a destructive path. If we decide, “FINE! it’s just me, alone in my house, doors locked and windows shut tight”–we’re doing exactly what we’re NOT to do–let our hearts grow cold. (Matthew 24:12)
So what do we do? Philippians 1: 9-12
9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
LOVE being the operative word- that our LOVE GROWS in knowledge and depth of insight. We need PURPOSE in our relationships and an INTENTIONAL kind of love. Loving deliberately and with a wise heart is essential! We really are to love everyone, but doing so with our heads on straight! We can love others completely, but with boundaries set in place.
Matt mentioned something great at the couple’s bible study last night. We were talking about putting our spouse first. Matt talked about the fact that if your affections become too great on any one thing–even if that thing is good–it creates a block in the middle. You can no longer see that other person entirely, that thing is now in the middle.
There was a great illustration from Beth Moore’s study, I want to share with you. You can write it on a piece of paper, but I think your imagination will do just fine. 🙂 Draw 2 stick people side by side with a space in the middle. If you imagine putting any object or another person in there, well, that relationship is blocked off. In Beth’s illustration, she drew a picture of 2 people with the cross in the middle. When we try to entangle the relationship with stuff–drawing messy lines from one person to the next, the cross blocks the tangled webs from coming onto the other person. I went a step further and imagined that the horizontal part of the cross was right at eye level one person to the next. In this way we see the other person through Christ. The only 3rd party that works between a couple is Christ, and if it’s not there at all, well, a relationship can get quite messy.
When we talked about romance and showing love last night at couple’s study, I heard over and over again (and even from myself) that we come to find sincerity and truth from our spouse when we see that they are intentional in their words, touches, glances, actions… God is really telling me this week that all I do especially in relationships–both friends, family, and my husband needs to be DELIBERATE and INTENTIONAL.
A friend in the couple’s study mentioned a little 2 word phrase (if you count the contraction as 1 word hehe) that just stuck with me. I thought of it this morning when I woke up. So often in our marriages we get to this place: we wake up, get dressed, get everything off and running for the day, say our goodbyes quickly as we step into our jobs for the greater portion of the day, come home, prepare and eat dinner, run the kids to wherever, go to the dreaded grocery store, etc. and when we finally get to the end of the day and we’re face to face with our spouse–they get: What’s left. What IS left? I know that I’m about ready to plop in front of the tv and veg. Maybe talk about a funny story from the day, but really, all my energy is gone. My husband gets WHAT’S LEFT. Now, that is NOT deliberate or intentional, but it happens.. and that really is the point–There is no intentional love there for my relationship with my husband. Over and over we talked about those things that mean the most to us to feel loved, and no matter what the actual response was–it was founded in being intentional and deliberate in showing love.
God is telling me to make it count! Get creative! Work for it! God says, “put me in the middle and let’s have a party!” My job, is to jump in and say, “Let’s DANCE!”