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Treading Water

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Most of us jump head first into life without any understanding of how life works.

Do you feel like you live your life just reacting to your present circumstances? The major challenges of life is to get a head in the game. We all realize this, but its so hard to do. We are always saying, “I wish I could get a head in my work” or “I wish there were more hours in a day”. Why is this such a problem in our lives? It’s because we are reacting to life as opposed to living our life. Living your life implies that you are in control. It implies that you know where you are going because you have set the course. Work is something you engage in and not something that demands from you.

I think in all areas of life this concept applies. Because its my topic of choice recently, I am going to talk about how its seen in marriages. Most of us get married and we have no idea what we are doing. Let me ask you this. Who taught you how to be married? My guess is no one. Thus, you are reacting to your marriage instead of engaging in it.

Here is a simple truth that came up in a conversation with a friend today: God has a design for marriage. If we are not actively engaging in that design, then we may as well give up hope. The fact is we cannot do marriage on our own. We are far to reactive of a people to have any chance in a quality marriage without Christ beckoning us to come to Him.

I compare marriage to a rubix cube. The rubix cube has a distinct design. The creator of it, gave it purpose and gave it an answer. We purchase the rubix cube and are supposed to follow the design. The truth about the rubix cube is not often that clear cut. As children, we get frustrated with the design and then begin reacting to that design. Instead of carrying out its intended purpose, we do the unthinkable. We peel the stickers and put them in order. Wha-La! It’s finished! We have completed the puzzle.

So, I ask the question. Is your marriage one that the stickers have been peeled to make it look like your doing things right? Or are you following the created design of marriage and engaging in it rather than reacting to it?

Last week I wrote about a guy’s fear of rejection. Many guys, including myself, have no idea what they are doing in marriage. We are, as I have been saying, reactive. We put on a smiley face, we say, “I know what I am doing”, and we give it our best shot. The unfortunate thing about this is that we are falling right into Satan’s palm. This is exactly what he wants us to say and do. We don’t need God’s help. We know what we are doing. The unfortunate thing is that this is not only the man’s issue, it also belongs to the woman as well. She is being decieved that the marriage she has is the one she has to settle for. Now, don’t misread me. I am not saying go and find a new husband if you are not satisfies with your current situation. I am saying quit settling for peeled stickers.

Start talking about your marriage. When I tell couples to “work on their marriage” they tend to tilt their head and give me a blank stare like I just asked for the impossible. Working on your marriage means talking about your marriage. It means investing in your marriage. It means making frequent checks to ensure that it is aligning with God’s design and not our own.

My encouragement to any married couple or soon to be married couple is to quit treading water. Don’t react to your marriage or your spouse, engage your marriage instead. Once you have found the path of God’s design in marriage, you are giving your marriage the foundation that it needs to be on. Even as Christians, we like to make sure that on an individual basis we are on track, but we are hands off when it comes to our marriage.

One last word to the guys who read this…You’re wife wants nothing more than you to stand up, be a man, and lead. She won’t tell you this, because she doesn’t want to offend you, but she wants nothing more than her husband to take the lead and start investing in your marriage.

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Rejection

October 19, 2011 1 comment

From the garden to the playground to the man’s home, fear of rejection has pinned him down and he has wrestled with it all the days of his life. A man’s deepest fears are rooted in the fear of rejection. While confident in the workplace, confident around women, confident around his friends, this one act can take out his legs from beneath him.

Adam and Eve had the life they could only dream about in the garden. Everything was provided, everything was theirs. Well, almost everything. In the shade of the evening the serpent was roaming the garden. Eve stumbled upon this serpent. Did God really say you couldn’t eat of this tree? Did he really say that you were to stay away? Everything is yours. Why isn’t this tree included? It seemed liked the serpent had a point. It seemed as though Adam and Eve had missed something.

Eve sunk her teeth into that apple. It was eye opening. She shared it with Adam. When she handed it over to him, did he say no? Did he say, “God told us not to eat of it.” No, he took the apple and partook of the forbidden fruit. Why? This is the question that has plagued men for all ages.

It was rooted within Adam, and every man to follow, the need to be wanted. This was a God given need. Before the apple, Adam found satisfaction in God. He found that he lacked nothing. The story began to change for them both. The apple provided something they did not have. It provided them with a desire that God could no longer fill for them. While they were satisfied for a moment, the need for more sank in. They hid.

What was it about this apple that made Adam realize that his greatest need was also his greatest fear? His need to be wanted turned into the fear of rejection. What if God rejected me? What if Eve rejected me if I hadn’t taken the apple. We ask the question now, what if I am not picked to be on a team? What if I get the rejection letter from the college? What if my wife rejects me?

This question has burned our perception of what it means to lead. This question has caused us to retreat into a hole where no one can find us. We became passive, we let others take the reigns. We became bullies when we were forced into something we did want to do. We took that feeling of rejection as the nail in the coffin. Why step up to the plate if I will only get knocked down. This is the question that plagues us today.

In a conversation earlier in the week, a friend told me about a radio interview he heard on the subject. In a group of men, they were asked how important is it to lead your wife and family in prayer and devotions. Mostly the whole room raised their hands. They thought this was very important. They were then asked who actually lead their wives and family in prayer and devotions, and many of those same hands stayed silent.

Men have created a real disconnect between what they believe and what they do. Many Christian men believe its important to be a spiritual leader, but when it comes to the game, they choose to stay in the stands as opposed to playing the game. The fear of rejection from even our spouse may be one of the greatest fears we have. What if she says no? What if I can’t lead her? Is it worth trying?

For you guys, I encourage you to reclaim the confidence we once had before the apple. For you wives, Paul writes in Ephesians to you. He encourages you to respect your husband. He needs to be encouraged, he need to know that you are not rejecting him. He needs to know that he can lead you and that it will be worth it for him. Let him know that you are his biggest fan.

Husbands, its time to come out of the hole. No more excuses. Retake the calling that God has given to you. It’s time to step up to the plate.