As I spend more time trying to grow my Faith through a book club and a Bible Study, I find it so interesting how much I am learning through sharing the journeys of the other women that are participating.
This week, one of the things we all shared about was the different ways people can connect as they learn and are drawn to different aspects of our Faith. We each have different paths, but the same destination.
Jay is much more intellectual than I am! Sometimes when he shares his intellectual journey it's all we can do to not let my eyes glaze over and start going through the to-do list for the day...or the month! I want to understand what he wants to talk about and be supportive...but there are times I just can't get into it. It's above my sleep deprived brain and I just can't find a way to relate to it.
I admire my husband for his depth, but it can make me feel defeated....that I will never reach that level of spiritual understanding. I certainly do not want to be seen as the Patrick Star of theology! I am just not drawn to the headier, more intellectual stuff right now.
But maybe I'm not supposed to be. There are lots of good paths that lead to the same place. Some people might enjoy a more scenic and others a more developed route...as long as it's bringing us to the same place then it's all good. After all, I tend to relate more to books that speak to emotional connections and concepts that I can relate to my own rather crazy life that helps me to be a better wife and mom to these babies, toddlers, tweens and teens!
What speaks to one person and helps us to grow emotionally and spiritually will not always be a friend's or a spouse's "cup of tea".
We aren't supposed to be someone else. God knows what we need the most to grow and stay close to Him. He knows the tools we need to guide our children, be good friends, and encourage the people that He places in our paths.
As long as we are trying to follow God's directions and we are open to His gentle nudges, we will have an inner peace of just knowing we are where we are supposed to be. If doubt creeps in, like feelings of inadequacy when we can't help but compare where we are in our journey compared to someone around us, then it's something to bring to prayer. Are the feelings from God to stretch us out of our comfort zone and to expand our lives in some area? Or are the feelings a trick to take away our peace and act like a cloud of mosquitoes that try to keep our focus off of God and away from living in the moment with contentment and a grateful heart?
This was a huge stumbling block for me when I was younger. I did not have the self esteem or the trust that when something was right for me, it didn't have to be right for everyone else around me. Flip that around, and I struggled that if something was wrong for someone else that it could still be right for me.
Trying to force my ideas, or my feelings onto someone else to make myself feel more content with my own choices just wreaks havoc on relationships. It just causes resentment and frustration.
That's the way I feel when other people try to force ideas or feelings onto me, too!
I'm glad that I've grown out of that.(mostly) I can rejoice in other people's ideas and plans. I can be a part of something without trying to control a situation. I can let other people's ideas and plans be center stage because it's important to them, without being critical or negative in any way. I can choose to be encouraging and supportive!
Sometimes I still talk too much. Sometimes I make the mistake and talk over someone else. Sometimes I don't just listen and offer support and encouragement. Thankfully, I tend to 'just know' when I'm being too much! I get 'that feeling' in the pit of my stomach that something just 'isn't right.' (Kind of like driving onto the rumble strip....it's a warning before we careen off the road!) I think it's a grace of the Holy Spirit since it's something I've been working on and praying through for so long! Plus, I've 'careened off the emotional road' so many times that I finally know(and usually heed) the warning signs!
I want to be a blessing to my friends and family...not increase their burden!
After all, it isn't always about solving a problem....that's God's job! I just need to be open to seeing if He wants to use me to be an openly active part of the solution (through my words or actions) or a more hidden support (through prayers).
Stopping to discern is key....and not always easy to do!
It is definitely worth the effort. I've found that when I do things His way, I have peace and joy and my relationships are aligned in the way He meant them to be. Living in His will us the best place to be!