What are you afraid of? In my study, Waymaker Ann poses this question in our session, encouraging us to examine to return to God. I write down a few worries on my mind that are tied to relationships. I think of a previous discussion when we talked about trauma being an experience of detachment and our nature to curve away from His love to get relief. We seek relief when God is offering a revelation in the process. What seems to be in the way may be “the way,” after all.
As we examine, we often find that our fears are more elevated than living in a relationship with God. As Parish and I talked about our fears, I was reminded that my mind, to-do list, and overall being can be wrapped up in my worries. You can walk around proclaiming that you’ve “Let go, and Let God”; however, our actions and sense of peace should be a daily examination.
How do I stay grounded in my reality while also prioritizing His love? How do you identify with Him?
Lamentations 3: 40-41
Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the Lord.
Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
to God in heaven
“It takes time to trust, but change can take hold–if we let God hold us. Change happens when identity changes and our identity is attached to whom we are attached, and how they see us, treat us, and act toward us. Our God is the God who stays with us, exactly so we can see ourselves the way He sees us–beloved, cherished, wanted, chosen–because this is what changes our identity, and changing one’s identity, changes one’s whole life.” (p. 106)
It can be tricky because if relationships and connections heal us, we tend to place a close relationship above our relationship with God. We don’t intentionally do this; however, when we are surprised by hurt or broken relationships and spiral because of the wound, we examine our priorities. Have I put too much of my identity into that role or relationship? This could be your job, a partner or spouse, siblings, parents, friendships, and any role you play currently. Your identity goes deeper than your roles and relationships. I’m married. My husband is essential to me. It is a relationship I invest in and prioritize. He is the one I wake up with, rest my head at night with, and with whom I make major life decisions. He is human. Like the line in the movie Elf, we are all “humans raised by humans.” We can’t fill the gap that only God can fill in our humanity. We cling to him. He attaches to us (Jeremiah 13:11).
In conjunction with this study, I often read my newsletter from The Gottman Institute. They shared the importance of a shared purpose within any relationship. I clicked on an article that listed norms or values in a shared purpose between friends and family, which could also be used in any relationship. This may seem from the left field to add to this post, yet, tools to improve relationships can help us navigate brokenness and our humanness.
As someone who struggles with boundaries and balance, I loved reading and talking with my husband about “knowing when you are asking for too much from another person” and “recognizing exhaustion.” In any relationship, you have the right to express your shared purpose, and in the wise words of one of my friends, “Anna, remember JADE.” You do not have to justify, argue, defend, or explain. When too much happens and exhaustion sets in, remember this verse:
God is a safe place to hide,
ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,
courageous in seastorm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans,
the tremors that shift mountains.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.