Relationships

We’ve been in the middle of a series on relationships at Jubilee.  It has been interesting.  For one, I can’t seem to find one example of what seems like a healthy relationship in the whole Bible!  Does anyone know of one? Perhaps it’s a healthy reminder that God does not choose perfect people to lead.  Perhaps it’s also a reminder of the very patriarchal culture in which the Bible was written.  This is the talk I have been praying and stumbling through…I’d love to hear any thoughts you have:

Scenario #1

You and your partner are in a train station in Indianapolis.  You’re headed to be the groomsmen (or bridesmaid) at your brothers wedding.  The wedding starts in 48 hours and your very generous aunt just purchased you two tickets (one for you and one for your partner) to make it to the wedding!  Your bags are packed, your suit is pressed, your shoes are shined…it’s go time.  There are 3 trains leaving the station in the next half hour.  One heads to LA, one to Atlanta, and one to New Jersey.  One will take you to the wedding.  Which one do you get on?

Scenario #2

You’re driving in town  and your car breaks down at a 4-way intersection, and your cell phone just ran out of batteries.  (Should have remembered to charge it last night!).  As you hop out of the car, 4 cars drive up, one from each direction.  The driver of each car rolls down his/her window, says they’re headed up the road…and asks if you’d like a ride.  What do you do?

Scenario #3

You’ve signed up to take a month long wilderness excursion.  For one month you’ll be in the wilderness with no food, no water, nothing but  the bare minimum supplies with the intention of living off the land. There will be no cell phones to contact the outside world if anything goes wrong.  BUT, you’ll be taking one guide with you.  You either take a) an Eskimo from the arctic circle who has made a living ice fishing in the bitter arctic cold, b) a Native American who has lived off the land on an Arizona reservation for his whole life, or c) a tourguide with 30 years of backpacking experience at Yosemite National Park. Who do you take?

Stumped? In each of these scenarios, you’re missing a key piece of information…right?

You can’t know who you’re supposed to go with, until you know where it is you’re going.

You can’t pick which train to get on if you don’t know where the wedding is.  You don’t know which car to get in (or whether you should even get in the car at all) if you don’t know where the driver is going, and where You are going.  You don’t know which guide to take with you if you don’t know where your wilderness excursion will be.

So then…do we know where we’re headed?

Is it a place? – a specific city that you’d love to end up in? Or living back with you’re parents (probably a reasonable reality for a number of college grads).  Is where we’re headed a physical place?  – cause then what happens if we move, and the person you’re with thought you were headed to Atlanta, but then you decided that you think your place you’re headed is Chicago? Like if your job changes…what do you do then? Wait…Jobs!

Is it a Job? A Career?  The place we spend 40 hours a week in exchange for financial compensation that will give us security and fulfillment and purpose and pride?  Is that where we’re headed?  But then what happens when we we change careers (which, I hate to say this, but it WILL happen), or if what you think your major is now changes, or if you have that career until you’re 3 years from retirement and then you get fired because you’re too old…what happens to where you’re headed then?

Is it a family? A partner? Kids? Are KIDS where I’m headed? But then what happens after I’ve had them, or they leave, where do I head then? Wait…can I even HAVE kids?

All of a sudden this is starting to feel kind of complicated.  We want to know where we’re headed to know who should come with us.  If I’m headed to Chicago to be a lawyer and my partner comes with me but loves molding pottery in west Texas…what happens when that pottery position opens up?  Is that it?…just a hand shake and a shrug, and a ‘well, I’m headed this way, you’re headed that way…good luck out there!’.  Or what happens when you’ve been together for 30 years and your partner decides that they no longer want the family they thought they did…it doesn’t fit into where they’re headed anymore.  What do you do then? How can you know that you’re headed in the same direction?

And where am I headed, anyway?

In Matthew 4:18-19, Jesus calls his first disciples.  They think their life is headed in one direction, that it has a certain trajectory and path and career…but Jesus changes that.  Suddenly fishing’s not their thing (and maybe it never really was to begin with).  Soon they’ve dropped their nets and are following this first century carpenter wherever he goes…so close the dust his sandals kick up are getting on their clothes, caking on their faces, clogging up their boogers…  Where he goes, they go…what he says, they listen to.  For Peter and Andrew it turns out that what they’re headed towards isn’t a place, it isn’t a career…it’s towards Jesus!

So here’s my relationship advice:  Run as fast and as hard as you can towards Jesus, and then look to your left and your right, and see who’s running with you.

Hopefully that’s where we’re headed…towards Jesus…and we want to find someone else who wants to head there too.

Life is difficult, it’s full of transitions…and relationships are messy because people are messy (and we often don’t know just how messy we can be until we’re in relationships).  We are never finished forming, and are constantly changing, growing, transforming.  I’m not married to the same person I was engaged to, even though it’s the same woman.  And if we’re not headed in the same direction…and working towards it…something will come along and try to claim a new direction for you…

But here’s the good part:

God is calling out to each of us, calling us by name, asking us to put down our nets and follow.  There is a global rebuilding project underway – it has already begun – and God is asking You and I to be a part of it!  It’s a calling that no person can take away from you or deny you…you can’t get fired from it, and you can’t move away from it because it happens in every place and it happens in every career (although God may have some specific places/careers you are called to…)  And it doesn’t even take a partner to take part in this. But, when you find someone else who is hungry to chase after that God who is calling to us – when both of you are running full speed towards God, bearing your hearts and souls to each other and your creator and asking what you were created to do and who you were created to be…when you can begin to notice and to share the blessings that God has placed in your life – and to be able to see the opportunities that God has give to you to be a blessing to others, and then you realized you’re blessed by being a blessing and this whole blessing cycle thing starts happening…  if that’s where you’re headed together, then you can begin to let go of the other directions and paths you could go down…because you both begin to realize that where God is leading you is far richer than where you would have led yourself.

And a Christ-centered marriage is not perfect.  It’s not a magic bullet. But I do believe in it with every part of my being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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