Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Love and War

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

Photo by Niah Ferlito 
I was bought a book about six months ago and read the first couple of chapters and set it aside. I don't know how to fix this, its too hard I thought. I'm too broken, and I convinced myself that my husband was to simple to even begin to understand. Yeah, you might say I had a massive log in my eye. In the book I found the following quote last night. 

" God lures us into marriage through love and sex and loneliness or simply the fact that someone finally paid attention - all those reasons you  got married in the first place. It doesn't really matter, he'll do what ever it takes. He lures us into marriage and then uses it to transform us.  Come back to the fairy tale - in every one of those stories, the boy and the girl each carry a fatal flaw. If they refuse their transformation  - which is the essential to the plot of the story - they'll never make it. Evil will win, they will lose heart and split up and there will be no happily ever after." ~ Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge

Its funny to me at this point because I think I'm a pretty good communicator - which throws the responsibility of communicating in such a way that the intended recipient can understand back on me.  For example I teach a number of guitar students and each one has a unique set of challenges in how they learn.  One can foolishly think when you first start out teaching that what worked for you or for one student will work for them all. I am finding that I may use some of the same tools and materials with all my students but they each learn differently. I have one young girl who has dislexia the song sheets just confuse her. For weeks I tried and tried to get her to stay on track that way and we got no where. It finally dawned on me that I needed to change how I was teaching in some way so she could understand. I might as well have been speaking a foreign language to her.  So I prayed for wisdom, and sought some advise from other teachers and took the music away and started to teach her to play by ear and to memorize the song with out the music. It was a break through and she is progressing in her playing. 

It is easy to blame lack of communication or understanding on the other person when the problem might be you are speaking in a way that just does not connect for them. My husband has hearing problems and even with a hearing aid, talking with him can be frustrating.  If I'm honest the problem really was not him but me. I stopped wanting to even try to communicate. I got hurt and disappointed enough that I just gave up and retreated behind my walls. So six months ago the book Love and War by John and Stasi Eldridge was much too positive and hopeful and was more than I could manage. Sometimes we are not ready to admit that we are part of the problem, we would like to believe its all the other persons fault. 

So I've been praying and talking to the Lord about not knowing how to fix some of the broken places in me. Little by little he keeps showing me things that I need to repent of and to allow him to help me change. One of those things is my self-sufficient style of relating to people. The Lord has been showing me how because I did not let people in they wrongly thought I did not need them. They gave up and moved on and I felt rejected and in some cases abandoned so I trusted and needed people less and less. There you have it a vicious cycle. 

A bit more from the Eldredges: " Our style of relating is born out of brokenness and sin, and it is the Number One Thing that gets in the way of real love and real companionship, the shared adventure and the beauty of marriage. It is really this simple. The number one thing that gets in the way is your way. I don't mean insisting on getting your way - dimming the lights or finding a better parking spot. I mean your way of going about life, your style o relating. We are all of us utterly committed and deeply devoted to our "style", our "way" our "approach to life" We have absolutely no intention of giving it up. Not even for love. So God creates an environment where we have to... It's called marriage. 

Take the fundamental differences of a man and a woman. Add to this the fact that opposites attract and our peculiarities are nearly always at odd. Toss in our profound brokenness, our sin and our style of relating. It's the perfect storm.

Now listen carefully" God wants us to be happy. He really does. Ive come Jesus said that you may have life and have it to the full John 10:10 He simply knows that until we deal with our brokenness, our sin, and our style of relating, we aren't going to be happy. Nobody around us is going to be very happy, either. Most of what you've been experiencing in the last twelve months is God's attempt to get you to face your style of relating and repent of it. "   

Last week I had the idea to try opening up and writing lunch box notes to my husband. In the first note I outlined the rules as follows "Anyway... so here's how it works, I share something and then you respond to it and you share something then I respond to it. Then repeat. I don't think we can get to warm fuzzy love notes with out wading through the pain and damage first and the stuff too long, swept under the rug. " To my surprise and amazement it worked and we are communicating on more than a how was work and the weather kind of level. 
Amazing it was so simple and I just could not see it, I was blind and now I see. Thats just how God works. 

 So I think I might actually be able to read Love and War at this point and not just feel totally frustrated by it. I just flipped it open in passing last night and found the quotes that I included in this post. Sometimes I think God has to keep holding the mirror in front of us till we realize that we are the problem that he needs to deal with. It is my stubborn self sufficient style that has to stop. I have to let others in or the enemy wins. 

Well I'm out of time. 

Prayer: I pray that the Lord will help you see your own fatal flaws. That he will help you to repent and to forgive and that he will do a great work of healing in your life. Don't give up even though your situation seems hopeless and impossible. God will help you to find a way to freedom and abundant life in Him. 

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