Monday, July 23, 2012

Victor or Victim? The Choice is Ours to Make!

My father-in-law was a pastor for many years, and one of the best pieces of advice he ever gave me was, "never make your happiness dependent on any circumstance or anyone other than Jesus."  He would always tell me that I couldn't make it my goal to make everyone else happy because I was just setting myself up for failure.

I have learned that I can never make anyone happy all of the time. In fact, the most freeing realization is that I can't make anyone happy at all.  That is a personal choice each individual has to make for him/herself.

Here is a greater lesson; if I can't make anyone else happy, I shouldn't expect anyone else to make me happy.  What do you think about that?  Does that include my husband?  Husbands, does that include your wives?

Yes and yes.  I will never forget hearing about a young man who told his future wife when he asked her to marry him that he didn't need her in order for him to be happy.  He wanted her and loved her but didn't need her for him to be happy.

My first thought when I heard that was, "well, that's not a very good way to begin a lifelong relationship."  I was 100% wrong.  (I know, where is the recorder when you need it?)  I realized what a precious gift he had given her.  He removed the burden for her to make him happy (something impossible to do anyway, right?)  He also removed the opportunity for him to ever blame her for his unhappiness.

Can you imagine what would happen to all of our relationships if they were based on "wanting" to be a friend, companion, husband, wife - instead of establishing those relationships because we need them?

Frank's dad also gave some great marriage counseling from the pulpit.  He would often say, "when you have found someone that you want to "do for" instead of someone you want "to do" for you, you have the best chance for a successful marriage." Wow! What a concept.

I can't tell you how many times in the 31 years I have been married to Frank that he has disappointed me by not meeting my expectations.  You might be wondering how many times I have disappointed him.  Well, we aren't talking about that right now - maybe later.  Right now we are talking about my disappointments.  Pretty selfish, huh?  It also makes me the victim.

I can spiritualize with the best of them. I can even quote Scripture to prove my point. What in the world is the matter with him?  He is supposed to love me as Christ loved the church and lay down his life for me.

How will he ever be able to lay down his life for me if I can't even get him to appreciate what I do for him, especially when I do it without being asked.  That is really big on my part.  If you need further description of how big, just ask me.  I guarantee you I can make it bigger.

I know I am not the only one that has ever thought that way, am I?

So, what is the answer?  The fact is we are incapable of accomplishing anything without God's favor.  We can't even take our next breath without His grace, much less take on the daunting, impossible task of making someone else happy.

Once again, the Word of God has all of the answers.  What a marvelous thing that God's wisdom is available to us 24/7.

My joy is in the Word of God: "Thy Words were found and I did eat (chewed, swallowed, digested, gleaned their goodness, used for health and life) them, and thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart for I am called by thy name Oh Lord, God of Hosts." Jeremiah 15:16

My hope is in the Lord Jesus and what He has planned for me on earth and for eternity: "the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven..." Colossians 1:5; "'For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, "'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11 - makes my heart happy.

Here are my two choices - My God is not a God of confusion.  He makes things pretty simple for us.

Do I place my hope and expectation in a fallible human being, which increases my potential for developing spiritual heart disease (hope deferred makes the heart sick - Prov. 30) or in the Lord, whose love knows no bounds, and who gave all to give me a hope and a future?

We have all heard the saying, "someone got up on the wrong side of the bed."  Well, that is the victim side where your expectations can't be met.  Crawl back in, roll over to the other side and let your feet hit the floor with such hope in the Risen One, that you are standing on the Solid Rock as the Victor.  So, how about it - Victor or Victim?

Do yourself and others a huge favor and make the right choice.  When I make the right choice, my prayer is, "Lord, change me," instead of  "Lord, change that sorry Frank that I love with all of my heart."  The strangest thing happens when I pray that prayer in all sincerity.  Frank cherishes me more, and I respect him more.  Pretty cool, huh? I'm approaching this and every day with the joy of the Lord. Love to all, Mecca