And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…” ~William Shakespeare~
Sometimes I imagine that God is sitting in heaven, watching…always watching. He looks down at us as we bumble our way through this life. He moves the pieces around, orchestrates scenarios, and brings people in and out of our lives, as He sits back to see how we will respond. We can either pass the test and move forward, or we can wander around for 40 years in the wilderness until we get it right.
My belief is that God created us with a free will, and He allows us to make our own choices, but that He has a perfect will for our lives if we will only submit to it. If we seek Him, and obey His leading in our lives, He will lead us to His best for our lives.
That said, we are not infallible. We are weak, full of sin, selfishness and pride. We make mistakes, we doubt and we dig our heels in. As the chess pieces in our lives move around, it’s not always comfortable, in fact, it’s painful, because all of those chess pieces have been moved into our lives to mold us, hone us, refine us. The purpose is to rid us of all of the ‘self life’ and sin that forms that hard, impenetrable crust which prevents us from giving and receiving love…with God or anyone else. True agape love is about giving love to others, and as long as we focus on ourselves, we’ll never be able to do it. Do I sound like I know what I’m talking about? It’s because I’ve learned this the hard way.
Today, I have been married to Bud for 20 years. If I am honest, I will tell you that it has not always been easy, in fact, there was a time when I almost left before the end of the show. I didn’t see how things could ever be fixed. I felt our marriage was irretrievably broken. Neither of us was going to budge. We both thought it was the other person’s fault.
We were both in pain…pain from the past, the pain of not having our needs met, and the pain of not feeling loved. We were both broken and desperately needed the love we were missing, but could not give it to the other.
Through a series of events, the Lord painfully showed me who I was, in all my ugly glory. He revealed to me my real motives and the truth of my situation. It’s amazing how deceived we can be about ourselves. I had thought that Bud was not meeting my needs…that he was not loving me the way I needed to be loved. I was hurting, and Bud was the cause, the way I saw it.
Then one day, the Lord removed the veil. I saw how bitter, selfish, prideful, and ugly I was on the inside. I had been accusing Bud of all of the things I was doing, and expecting him to meet my needs, never even aware that maybe Bud had needs that I was not meeting.
I can’t say it was easy from then on. I had to swallow a lot of pride, and the Lord began to show me that I needed to love Bud unconditionally. I didn’t know how. I prayed that the the Lord would begin to show me how to meet his needs and to give me the ability to do it, because even though I wanted to do this, I still had major deficits in my life, and needs that I felt needed to be met. The Lord showed me that if I concentrated on meeting Bud’s needs, that He (the Lord) would meet mine.
As I started to give up my own needs, I changed. I tried to unselfishly meet Bud’s needs as the Lord showed me how, not expecting any response from him at all. To my surprise, I soon found that Bud was changing. He was doing and saying things that I had always needed, only now I didn’t need them anymore. The Lord was making me whole.
It seems that people these days go from person to person looking to find ‘the one’ who will meet their needs, who will ‘see’ them, make them happy, and to ‘complete’ them. All they need to do is find ‘the right person’, they think. With a trail broken bridges, and shattered hearts, they eventually find that the person they thought was ‘the answer’ no longer satisfies.
Only Jesus can complete us. Only He can fill the void, and until we get to the point that we admit our total dependence upon Him, we’ll always be looking to find a person, place or thing that will fill the insatiable void. It’s US. We are the broken ones…not the other person. When we allow Jesus to fix us, it doesn’t matter what other people do or don’t do. We are ‘full’ and able to give instead of take. I’m not preaching at anyone because I’m still working on this, and I imagine that I will be until I die.
I told Bud the other day that most people need an ‘occasion’ to show each other that they love each other, but that I can honestly say that I feel like every day is an ‘occasion’ for us now. I don’t feel like I need flowers, diamonds or a fancy meal to celebrate our 20 years together.
Honey, I’d much rather celebrate the big, warm bear hug you give me every morning without fail when you come into the kitchen, to enjoy the smile you almost always have for me even when you feel bad or you are stressed, to admire, daily, how you are a man of integrity, and to be proud that you are the one everyone goes to for the answers. I want to cherish your support of anything I have an idea to do, to appreciate that you always tell me I look beautiful when I think I look my worst, to be grateful that you make me feel safe, to feel secure in knowing that you are a good provider, and that I lack for nothing. I’d rather just keep the every day teasing and playful jesting that makes every day with you fun and special. I look forward to celebrating each and every day in the future with you as if it’s the most special day of of our lives together. I love you so much, and I’m so grateful that you are mine! I can’t imagine my life without you. You are my knight in shining armor. Thank you for never giving up on me, and thank you for these last 20 years. They’ve gone by so quickly. I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years and beyond have in store for us.
People, please don’t leave before the end of the show. The ending is always the best part!