Bob Marley is quoted saying, “If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you won’t give up. If you give up, you’re not worthy…truth is everybody is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”
I read this quote the other day and it sparked several thoughts in my head. Finding the right person isn’t about it being easy. It’s about not giving up and trusting God. In general, I feel like people have given up on relationships. The expectation is ‘true love’ is a spark and an awesome connection; that once you find “it” you are head-over-heels and the rest is easy. I really, truly, honestly, sincerely believe this is complete crap. And not even remotely true. I think you find a person you admire, connect with and genuinely believe is who God partners you with…then you spend the rest of your life trying to figure how to make it work for a lifetime. There’s no simple recipe. There’s no easy road. (And maybe not everyone is destined to find somebody. And really...that's okay!)
There is absolutely nothing easy about a relationship, marriage, etc. There is no easy road…it is always going to be the road less traveled. But that’s life. And as Bob Marley so eloquently stated amazing = not easy = not giving up. Sometimes in life you have to recognize the other person is amazing and worth it then make the active decision to not give up. It goes something like this:
2. Forgive and make-up.
We weren’t promised things would be easy.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
We were promised God would never forsake us. There’s a BIG difference. I can’t think of a single easy relationship in the Bible. But I can think of tons of relationships (or maybe just 3 at the moment!) that God carried through on his promise to not forsake us during tough times:
Adam & Eve – call me crazy but I am going to venture to say that when God called on Adam regarding whether he had eaten from the fruit and he responded with “The woman you put here with me- she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it” – things weren’t ‘peachy’ in Adam and Eve’s relationship. As Adam and Eve were listening to the curses bestowed to mankind due to their actions, I’m quite certain that wasn’t an “easy moment” in their relationship.
But they persevered…Genesis 3 ends with God banishing them from the garden but Genesis 4 opens with “Adam made love to his wife Eve”. Fail. Forgive and make-up. Repeat.
Jacob & Rachel - Jacob was in love with Rachel but in order to receive her hand in marriage, her dad made Jacob work 7 years for her. And even after the 7 years of work, her father gave her younger sister (who Jacob was not in love with!) to him. Her dad basically deceived him into marrying Leah. So he had to work another 7 years in order to marry his true love, Rachel. So in total…Jacob pursued his love for 14 years before he could have her. He didn’t give up. He didn’t settle for less. He knew she was his love and he worked for it. And I’m sure it wasn’t easy.
And the story continues with Leah having lots of babies and Rachel remaining barren. Naturally Rachel became sad and ultimately jealous. Rachel actually said to Jacob in Genesis 30:1 “give me children or I’ll die!”. How’s that for martial tension?
Mary & Joseph - The embarrassment and/or feelings associated with having a child out of wedlock was real to Mary and Joseph and I’m going to guess it is very real to many of you…except this occurred in a time this was absolutely not acceptable. And to make matters worse, they experienced this humiliation without actually ever having sex. Joseph was going to divorce her: Matthew 1:19 “Because Joseph, her husband, was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly”.
I wonder how that conversation would have gone…Mary, I love you and everything but I am going to divorce you because you are pregnant with the Savior. This is not what I signed up for.
Thankfully…God promises us he won’t forsake us. And he changed Joseph’s heart. And 9 months later…there was a Savior in a manager.
Nowhere in the Bible does he promise life will be easy. Or if you trust Him you are going to have the best, easiest, longest-lasting relationship. He promises to never forsake you. And that should be the promise you make to your partner.
So when you find the one that is in Bob’s words “worth suffering for”…remember it won’t be easy. But God promises not to forsake us. And in His example, we should not forsake each other.
Fail, forgive and Bob Marley,
Stop Playing Defense
This weekend I celebrated my 31st birthday. The celebration was awesome but the reflection was a lot to handle.
I am nowhere near where I thought I would be in my 30s. I expected a husband, home and family. I didn’t expect to be divorced, living alone in graduate school. This isn’t quite the picture of ‘perfect’ I had in mind. On my actual birthday, I promised myself I would not do any work or homework (except for a 20 minute assignment that I had to turn in…”it’s my birthday” isn’t really a valid excuse in grad school!). So I woke up early, did my assignment and then decided to tackle the day. Except when I finished the assignment, I realized I could not remember the last time I had an entire day with no agenda. No “to do” list. No plans. An absolute blank slate. I really had no idea what to do. It’s been YEARS since I was in that place. I felt completely lost.
So I decided to sit and drink coffee in a quaint coffee shop (Banyan Cafe…the place rocks!). Then I decided to run a few errands. And I actually bought a ShopVac and washed my own car versus paying someone to do it. (I get that no one really cares all the details of my day, but all these seemingly normal Saturday activities were really surreal for me.) I took the day a moment at a time and actually had time to enjoy the sunshine, breeze and just marinate in my thoughts. And as I went about my day…I felt normal. And I’m not sure the last time I really felt that way.
The last two years of my life have been filled with so much pain and heartache, I haven’t allowed myself to be still. I kept busy and filled my days and nights with as much as I possibly could do. Looking back, I’m pretty sure this was some defense mechanism to avoid being alone with God and my thoughts. To avoid thinking about anything having to do with my personal life, friends, family, etc. So yesterday I stopped playing defense and I allowed myself to soak in a normal day. I accepted being another year older…being divorced…being a little bruised and battered…spending my birthday washing my car…feeling God’s presence in my life…just being me. And it really felt good.
God reminds us to be still and rest in His peace.
He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
When it comes to this instruction, I fail miserably. I am never still and I really don’t rest…and if I could do away with needing sleep, I would absolutely take that modification! But I am slowly starting to see the value…there’s healing in stillness. There’s hope in stillness. There’s peace.
And the awesome thing is yesterday felt so good…I decided to do it again today. So far, 31 feels pretty darn good.
Saturday afternoons, washing cars, and being still,
Relaxing in My Solitude
So I just got back from a snowboarding vacation in Utah…technically I have been back for two days but since I refuse to take a day off from work to “recover” from vacation, it feels like I just got back last night. I took Saturday morning off to relax (again, something I rarely do!) and take it easy. Feeling a little light hearted and not quite so serious--a good place to be post-vacation.
So I discovered a few things on my Utah vacation…some more comical than others:
there are just no words to describe the overwhelming feeling that God is amazing. And His boundaries are limitless. And I am just so thankful, I am in a position to take all of this in. I have seen so many of His wondrous creations from the deep blue sea to the mountaintops to rushing rivers. I had to stop and just enjoy a moment of solitude…and let God overwhelm me. And in the midst of the mountains, I’m so thankful I took a moment to enjoy His beautiful creations.
1 Kings 19: 11
The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by".
Sometimes when we stop and take it all in...we feel the presence of the LORD just a tad more. And I can't help but be excited for the day I get to stand in His presence and thank Him for all the beauty in the world.
Solitude, snow and beauty,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.