Do you ever feel like God doesn’t care? Someone says, “God is good.” And you respond, “All the time!” And yet part of your heart isn’t tracking. If God really cared, wouldn’t things be better? What do you do when you feel like God doesn’t care?
The Bible as a true story, an epic play, a blockbuster movie, should come with a warning; Spoiler Alert! We’re living in the middle of the drama, and sometimes it feels like a cruel joke. Has God dropped us in the middle of something without adequate stage directions? It is really supposed to be like this? But the truth is, we know the end of the story. And the end of the story is, Jesus wins!
Too many people slide into marriage without much intentionality. It’s just something you do – “if we feel like it.” But for something as important as marriage, something that will affect your health, wellbeing and happiness for the rest of your life and the wellbeing of many others, “sliding” isn’t a good plan. The only way to succeed is to be Married on Purpose.
Marriage is perhaps the riskiest endeavor humankind currently engages in. Is there any other agreement you would enter into when the general failure rate is around 50%? Two attached sinners are certain to destroy each other if left alone. And even if your marriage lasts you are guaranteed a super-sized dose of frustration, disappointment, and deep internal pain.
Is it any wonder young people are frequently delaying marriage, opting for other living arrangements, trying the hook-up culture, and/or declining to get involved in serious dating relationships? That’s certainly not the case for all. But for the first time there are more single adults in our country than married adults.
Of course most people who get married believe they’re the exception. MY husband won’t get too busy with work to have time to make me feel special, or leave dirty sox and dishes lying around. MY wife will always look beautiful, and always cheer me on in whatever I’m pursuing. OUR relationship will never deteriorate into apathy, conflict, or miserable détente.
If you’re right, if your marriage is the exception, it will be because you and your spouse make daily intentional investments on purpose. Like a garden, without daily attention to planting good seeds, pulling weeds, and watering regularly, your marriage will produce thistles instead of flowers.
Here are some things to invest in daily to assure you are Married on Purpose.
When you think of what faith means and who demonstrated great faith, you probably think of Biblical heroes such as Abraham, Moses, David, or Paul. The Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11 lists many of them, describing the exploits they accomplished “by faith.”
As much as you and I might like to be a faith hero, sometimes your faith gets shaken. Your infertility isn’t miraculously healed as it was for Abraham and Sarah. Your child isn’t rescued from death as Isaac was. The walls of business struggles, a troubled marriage, physical or mental illness, or lack of money aren’t falling down as those of Jericho did. You aren’t ruling over any kingdom as David did, or putting the armies of social injustice or evil institutions to flight. And when your messed-up life doesn’t seem to be getting any better, you feel like anything but a faith hero.
Perhaps you hear messages from others something like, “If you only had enough faith you wouldn’t still be sick.” Or, “Just speak in faith what you need, and the money and resources will come to you.”
Faith is not some tight-fisted grasping for what you want or need in some sort of “mind over matter.” Nor is it an ethereal emotion some people feel easily and others can’t conjure up. Faith is something much deeper. It’s a matter of character, and it can be developed even in the worst of times.
The Faith Hall of Fame provides a much more varied picture than most of us have been led to believe. Here’s what it takes to be a faith hero.
Anxiety is uncomfortable. You’re keyed up inside. You wonder if you can trust your thinking. And your body may experience any number of miserable symptoms. But anxiety may be useful.
There are times when anxiety signifies a medical condition, or it may be a response to something in your past or your present that is beyond your ability to manage. When that happens, dealing with the physical, emotional, and spiritual factors involved can lead to real freedom.
While anxiety always feels unpleasant, it is not always only negative. Sometimes anxiety can be very useful. If you understand that, you can extract the significant value anxiety may provide on the way to a better future.
Here are two times when anxiety can be very valuable.
Anxiety provides Necessary Emotional Fuel for Change
What you’re doing now may be killing you – literally or figuratively. You may even be miserable, exhausted, and in significant pain. But you’re actually quite comfortable. Your misery is what you know. You’re used to the food you usually eat, the thoughts you usually think, the schedule you usually keep, the things you usually say to those around you, the things you ignore and put up with. In important ways your sickness or addiction or dysfunction or pain has become normal for you.
And to make a significant and lasting change you will have to get even more uncomfortable.
Research showed that among a group of people who experienced significant and lasting change as a result of some form of therapy, fully 75 percent of those interviewed said a willingness to experience some anxiety along the way was a critically important part of their success.