Sunday, October 24, 2010

Solution Sunday--It's Not About What I Do

Okay, hold onto your hats--yep, I'm posting another spiritual thought.  God has truly been teaching me so much, and during church (really Sunday School), He yet again revealed something to me that I wasn't even thinking about.

When I first "fell in love" with my ex, I spent all my time trying to please him.  I was willing to do almost anything to be with him.  I ate four meals a day and gained a good ten pounds when I had not gained any weight that semester.  I even made myself sick one day when he was gone all day and I was supposed to go to a singing engagement with a girl's group.  I called in sick--I really thought I was.  It was all emotional, but I didn't know that till later.  I began studying in the library--me?  I never studied in the library.  I even got in trouble in the library, and it was all related to him.  They tried to throw me out.  I skipped class.  My goodness, I did a lot to get him to fall for me, didn't I?

And that is how I spent the next almost 10 years of my life.  I spent them trying to please him.  I did whatever he wanted.  Yes, I let him control me.  You see, before he came along, no guys except the scum of the earth ever showed an interest in me.  Paul made it very clear that his love for me was based on what I do, not who I was.  But in my naivety and ignorance, I thought that was normal.

And after all, why should I be surprised?  My relationship with my Heavenly Father was basically the same.  I felt that as a Christian, I had to do certain things.  Okay, so I didn't have to do anything to be saved.  That was the free gift.  But to keep God happy, I think I tended to buy into the idea that I needed to do this and this and that.  God would love me more if I did this or didn't do that.  And sometimes I tended to think that God was like Paul.  When I messed up, I think I tended to imagine that God would punish me somehow.

Proof of this feeling even shows up in recent times.  Satan tried to put me under condemnation even today as I was remembering how I was late to work this week.  Maybe God would remove me from that distirct, and I wouldn't be able to work there any more.  When I didn't get a teaching job last school year, I tended to think that this was God's way of punishing me for making a move back here to Washington state.  I sometimes still expect fire and brimstone when I forget to do my Bible reading (like I did yesterday).

When I was married to Paul, he never pointed out when I did something right (except in the bedroom, but even those were few and far between).  He waited for me to mess up, and he was the first to point out when I was wrong.  Even after I tried to break away from him, I still read book after book and was led to believe that if I did what Dr. Phil or Oprah said, I could fix my marriage.  And sometimes, it worked.  I can remember a day when Paul and I cried together and talked--really talked.  But that was it.  Pretty soon, the criticisms returned.

Now that I am out from under that bondage, I am fully willing to embrace the fact that it is only by God's grace that I can make it in this life as His child.  There is not one thing I can do without Him to please Him.  It is not about trying harder, but it is about being controlled by His Spirit.

Amazingly, it is my friend, Martin, who has taught me the most about this kind of unconditional love.  While he and I are not romantically involved, we love each other unconditionally and always have.  I can remember how often I used to worry that if I said the wrong thing or did the wrong thing, he would no longer be my friend.  After all, Paul was like that as were so many of my friends growing up.  Even God was, or so I thought.  There were so many times that I felt so far away from God because I continued to mess up.  And every time I tried harder, it just got worse.

The time that showed me just how much Martin loved me was a time back a couple years ago when we had such a sharp disagreement that I sent him a very nasty e-mail.  I was angry, and in I knew after I sent it that  I shouldn't have.  It was the worst day I ever had at work.  All I could do was think about how much I had hurt Martin and that he would stop being my friend.  Yes, it took some time to heal our friendship, but the thing that showed me exactly how much he loved me was that he picked me up from work.  He let me ride next to him in  the car.  And when I tried to apologize, he actually blamed himself more than anything.  Within a couple weeks, we were closer than we had ever been, and it was as if nothing had ever happened.

If that isn't a deep thought, I don't know what  is.  As I write this, I don't think I can even grasp everything I have written.  But what I do know is this.  Paul never loved me unconditionally in spite of everything.  He loved me for what I did, how I tried to please him, and how I would fit into his future plans.  He figured he could make me into the person he wanted me to be.  And I tried, but I just couldn't become that person.

Thankfully, the solution to all this is that God loves me for who I am in Him.  And, dear reader, you need to embrace this truth if you are God's child.  Don't do what I did for nearly 30 years.  Trust solely in God.  Let Him live through you!

1 comment:

  1. Nice post! Thanks for the follow, I'm following back!

    Kristin :)
    Keenly Kristin