The last two Augusts, we have experienced some really smoky days, which seriously affect air quality and what we are able to do outside. In talking with folks, no one can ever remember such smoky conditions as in the last two years. I experienced some nasty smog growing up in So. Calif. but nothing quite like the sun blocking haze created by this smoke.
As you can see by the photo on the right; the smoke literally changes the color of the sun by filtering the actual colors that are normally revealed. This is not a photo of a sunset. Wow!
I can't help but thinking, as I experience the limitations this smoke has put on our daily life and plans for hiking, that when I (we) live in sin, willfully diving into self-centeredness, selfishness and me focused living, my (our) perceptions of life and relationships around me (us) gets cloudy. There are similarities to the distortions the smoke is making for us here in NW Washington, I do believe. What do you think? What are some of the distortions you experience when you are laser focused on self? How do you experience others, especially your spouse, when they are self-absorbed and living momentarily in an "all about me" existence?
The distortions are very real aren't they? In this photo, looking across the Puget Sound, you should be able to clearly see the mountains. Whoa!
When we live in the truth, we should be able to clearly see the reality of our relationships and how others are experiencing us. Lots to contemplate and talk about here for sure, so we will continue the conversation next time. We would love to hear from you in the comments.
Choosing to align with truth clarifies and strengthens my identity. #trueface
I just read this excerpt, via my email inbox, from one of John Eldredge's books titled; Walking with God. I read the book at least 5 years ago, and right now I'm reading this excerpt with the lens of marriage and family in regards to "others". What really caught my attention was this statement.."We tend to jump in, as opposed to walking with God. Either we give too much or too little, or we offer what is needed, but at the wrong time." Read below in context below.
"People make up a very large part of our lives. We’re surrounded by people. We deal with others every day, from the driver in front of us, to the waitress in the café, to the gal in the next office, to those who share our homes. And they are nearly always, one way or another, in some sort of need. Or crisis. Or self-inflicted drama. And one of the great dangers for the person who has begun to desire to please Christ is that we simply let our conscience be our guide in relating to others. We tend to jump in, as opposed to walking with God. Either we give too much or too little, or we offer what is needed, but at the wrong time.
It would be a revealing study to look at the way Jesus relates to people in the Gospel stories. Sometimes he stops midstride to offer a word or a kindness to what seems to me to be a pretty minor character, someone I think I would have ignored. Other times he ducks for cover, dodges an encounter completely (see Luke 5:12–16). He possesses a freedom toward others I find myself longing for.
What would happen if we began to ask Jesus what he is saying when it comes to the people in your life?" In answering this question for me, I hear Jesus saying 'slow down Vic, listen to me, trust me and enter into the relationship to build trust.'
Wow! This goes along with what we mentioned last week, "We cannot let another love us unless we trust them, no matter how much love they have for us." I encourage you to ponder the question this week in the context of your marriage and family; What would happen if we began to ask Jesus what he is saying when it comes to the people in your life?"
Last time we talked about "playing fair" and established that trying to "play fair" in marriage leads to relationship disaster. The 50/50 plan just does not work and demands performance. My friends at Trueface speak to performance based relationships in this quote...
Performance obsessed cultures can never promote healing. Rather, they create more wounding.
We must have a starting point in trusting one another. I suggest that starting point is the goodwill of your spouse. Monique and I learned this from Emerson and Sarah Eggerich, who so beautifully teach this in their Love and Respect material. Here is what they say;
"One key to making your relationship safe and secure is to demonstrate benevolent goodwill toward your mate – to believe he or she has good intentions, to expect the best of the other person. Even when your mate messes up, you can choose to believe in the goodwill of your spouse. Unfortunately, what often happens when you feel unloved or disrespected is that you start predicting and judging the other person's motives. Research shows that successful couples don't make condemning judgments about the other; they choose to trust their mate's intentions.
Once a couple decides to see each other as good-willed people, it changes their perspective and the filter through which they view their relationship. "Good-willed" doesn't mean we'll do good all the time; it just means that the intentions are good.
Matthew 26:41 says it well: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak". Since a man and a woman naturally view conflict differently, they too often judge each other. During those times when your spouse is frustrating you, you can still believe in your mate's goodwill, respond accordingly and treat each other as teammates, partners, even allies.
More to talk about in trusting next week. See you then.
Vic and Monique
We are all about helping your marriage thrive.