Friday, June 12, 2015

When Work or a Relationship is More Struggle Than Joy

Life becomes difficult when we haven’t been, or are not currently, being honest—either with our self or someone around us.

Here are some reasons why we avoid being honest:

1). We are in denial.

2). We live in a state of wishful thinking that things and people will simply change over time and on their own.

3). Fear that being honest will upset the apple cart even more.

4.) Feeling trapped: convincing our self that there is no “out” so this is the way it’s going to be and we best get used to it.

Facing into life may not immediately eliminate a feeling of struggle, and in fact may initially exasperate it as we make tough decisions. But a new sense of freedom and direction (dare I say real hope?) will dawn.

Facing into truth and reality means we clear our heads of everything so we can finally listen to that still small voice that has been trying to guide us but we’ve instead brushed it off as nagging (meaning something we know to be true but wish weren’t). We give that voice priority and sober judgment as to what it has to say.

So, for example, if our job hasn’t gotten any better in a year, and we’ve duked it out to the point of exhaustion, perhaps it’s time to focus on getting an answer to whether it’s us, or the job?

For Christians, the Holy Spirit’s still small voice will give us the answer in the form of a sense of peace and rightness.

Being honest won’t necessarily be easy, and someone’s feelings might get hurt (including ours when we see the reality of our sin that may have contributed to our situation).

So if we come to see how we are the reason our job is so unpleasant, what do we need to do about it? Is our pride to blame? Selfishness? Insecurity? Unrealistic expectations of the position or other people? Too high a regard for oneself?

Or is the job a poor fit? Are we kicking against the goad instead of seeking a job that fits our skills, temperament and expectations? Is the company or our boss dysfunctional?

The other area of life where we can fail to be honest with our self or another is in a dating relationship. 

If we are in a relationship that is more work than joy, more butting heads than cooperation, and that feels like we’re digging a tunnel to get to a break-through that never comes, then we need to get out of denial that “things will eventually get better.”

People will bend over backward in an effort to please another person, and when that leads only to a dead end with no change, or a worsening in the other’s response to our efforts, we need to take stock—and the best time to do this is when the relationship is still in dating mode. Many folks mistakenly and hopefully think things will miraculously change after marriage.

A better way is to start to understand, take seriously and apply the Biblical principles of life-long matrimony to the dating relationship and measure those against one’s spiritual maturity (all within sexual purity of course).

Marriage will spiritually mature us, definitely. But there must be an element of desire for and intentional dedication to spiritual growth already taking place in each individual, before marriage.

Marriage is a life long commitment to other-centeredness, honesty, communication, emotional and physical support, mutual understanding, talking out difficulties, praying together, praying individually, being in the Word and a daily decision to love each other—even when we don’t feel like it.

If two people are not on the same page while dating, it will grow less and less fun over time and within a marriage. 

A relationship or job won’t ever be completely trial-free, struggle-free or even boredom-free. We all know that life is not void of stress, failure or disappointment.

And while it is true that only God can absolutely and 100% love, affirm and bring ultimate comfort and joy, we can, by putting our lives under His guidance and authority, find a measure of His love, affirmation, fulfillment and joy from our vocation, marriage and the building of our families.

If this sense of enduring and fulfilling balance, love, affirmation and joy of cooperation in building a life together, coming from both parties (whether in work or in marriage), isn’t happening, it’s time to get our head out of the sand and ask why.

We may learn some pretty shocking things about our selves that we do not like, but it means we will finally, once and for all, deal with it.

And only then will anything, or anyone, actually change for the better.

copyright Barb Harwood

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:16

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

No comments: