Els pulled up one of my old posts (one of the few that got a long conversation going) and after reading the comment box, I was hit with something … well, it’s something that God’s been working on me about, so I thought I’d talk this over with y’all.
It’s not always about you.
I’m a serious “make other people happy” junkie. I do NOT like it when the people near and dear to me are unhappy, when they’re stuck in a rut in their lives, when sunshine isn’t positively radiating from their pores at all times, day and night. As my husband would say, I “have issues.”
How do you think I feel when *he’s* not happy?
But, it’s not always about me.
Our society runs on the theory that the mating relationship is the most important relationship there is. That romantic love can conquer all – that a good spouse can make your day shiny even if it’s pouring rain, and that it is, in the end, their responsibility to make you happy, no matter what. Not true.
We* raise our romantic relationships to the level of idols as a culture. We whine and moan when “we aren’t happpppy”, and we self-flagellate when *they* aren’t happy and we can’t fix it. Of course it’s more pleasant to live with a happy person, and to be a happy person. Some of this urge is simply selfish. Some isn’t, but it’s a pointless exercise in naval-gazing to figure out which is which. How, then, shall we go forward?
The answer circles back ’round to the same place that all my answers do, of late. Put your relationship with God first.
I have found that God is faithful – if I ask, “am I doing right by this person (or in this situation)? Please help me live as You want me to live”, He’s right there to correct me and keep me in line. Sincerely seeking righteousness is a search that *will* be helped along. How that operates might be different from person to person – but it will operate. God doesn’t leave His children stranded.
That prayer requires me to set aside my ego. I have to not be ‘being good’ because I’m me, but because I’m responding to the urges of the Spirit. It’s not me, it’s God. That’s not as much fun as when it’s me. I enjoy being the driver. Sort of. I enjoy being the driver when the road’s clear and the weather’s perfect. When the storm comes up in rush hour traffic, it’s much nicer not to be the one behind the wheel.
And that brings us around to the original point. Sometimes the storm is because of something I’ve done or not done. Then that’s on me – the storm is about *my* behavior, so it’s my behavior that has to change. But sometimes the storm hasn’t anything to do with me. Sometimes the person to whom we are yoked is going through stuff that has nothing to do with us! A lifetime is a long time – stuff happens!
There lies the rub. If the situation isn’t related to me, then it’s likely out of my control. All my jumping up and down and rolling around trying to be “better” isn’t helpful. But I do need to keep myself at my best – the last thing that my beloved needs when he’s going through storms is me to add difficulty. How do you even do that?
God. That’s it. Just God. I *don’t* know when to speak and when to be silent, when to stand on my head to get a grin and when silliness is going to be irritating. But God does. And so, if I relinquish the control over “I must make him happy” and just chill out – God will take care of things. He’s always happy to drive, it’s me that keeps insisting that I am just fine now, I can handle this.
Moreover, if I plug into God, I can get my needs met and not flip out. In my own strength, I can chill for a bit, nails biting into my palms. If I put my eyes on Jesus, I can walk on the water – I can let go, and let God, and my time limit is based on how long I concentrate on Him. I can relinquish the dual need to please my husband and to be found pleasing – if the One I’m trying to please is Christ.
Everything in everyone’s life isn’t about me.
*If you haven’t figured out that “we” very much includes “me”, and that this is written at least half to the woman in the mirror, let me clarify – I might be broadcasting this message, but it’s a message I need to sit with and take to heart.