I was reading over old emails from my husband the other night. Some were hard, hurtful ones from rough times, and others made me smile, loving ones from our early dating stage.
I came across one email from a friend, an email I had forwarded to my husband with the attitude of “how could she say that?”. Now that I look at her correction, a response to my attitude in leaving my husband, I know that her words were right and her heart was loving. It was hard for me to remember the stage I was at when I received the email, the thoughts of leaving, the selfishness of it all, the numbness to how my actions were affecting my family and friends. But it was needed. Sometimes I need to remember the seriousness of the situation I put myself in.
What really hit me in this email was the fact that she acknowledged that my struggles were spiritual and that I needed to get back to God. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that at the time. I’ve realized through my last two years how serious spiritual blindness is and how thorough satan can have a hold on someone. Why is it that we have all the answers to these problems when it’s happening, but before it happens we don’t prepare ourselves? As Christians, shouldn’t we prepare for these times of struggle? Shouldn’t we educate ourselves and defend ourselves so that when they creep up, we’ll be able to fight well? It’s like only building walls around your kingdom when the enemy is standing at the gate. It’s a little too late then! It seems like it’s rare for a person to prepare ahead of time for these struggles and those that are doing this, we usually label them as “fanatics” or “super religious”.
This email and others reminded me of the times where I was struggling with thoughts of leaving my husband, trying to fight the thoughts…feeling like I was barely treading water, and then how I sank. I was drowning, I was trying to fight satan without realizing how he was even having a hold of me.
I remember after I first left, telling people that I had “struggled for years”, “prayed for years that God would change my heart” and “really pursued God”. It wasn’t true. Yes, I had struggled for years, but had I fought satan’s attacks? No. I didn’t even realize half of his attacks were attacks. I kept letting them in, thinking I was only human for thinking or doing certain things. I didn’t pray for years for God to change my heart, I prayed every now and then and certainly didn’t wage spiritual war for my marriage, husband or even my own heart. And there was no way my spiritual walk would be considered “pursuing God”. I went to church on some Sundays, rarely read my bible other than that, and prayed off and on during the week. I didn’t chase after anything.
And people wonder why their marriages are struggling? They wonder why they’re not hearing God’s voice?
Do you know what it is to chase something?
When I was little, we would love it when a chicken would get out of the run. We would chase it all over the yard, we’d work as a team to corner it, we’d pounce on it when it ran frantically by, we’d use whatever we could to catch it. And it was fun! We’d laugh so hard after it was caught and share stories about the thoughts that were running through our heads as we were chasing it. Or about the panicked expression in it’s eyes as it tried to escape. We chased it. And we didn’t give up until it was caught and back in it’s pen.
We need to chase after our God with the same energy. We are built to catch him, built to feel that excitement of the hunt and built to work as a team in the chase. It is what we were created for. When God created us, molded us with his hands, he created a deep yearning in our hearts that could only be satisfied with feeling close to him.
Our society has engrained in us to pursue anything BUT our relationship with Christ. We go to church to dress up once a week and see friends and go for lunch afterwards. What would happen if we spent the entire day praying. We got up early, prayed and spent time reading our bible, then we drove to church listening to Christian music and really listened to the words and as we sang them, we meant them. Then in church, we wrote notes because we wanted to make sure we read them later and applied them. Then afterwards, instead of going out for lunch, we had friends over to our place, had a prayer meeting where everyone shared their hearts and we prayed over each other for the struggles we were all going through. What if after they all left, we sat down with our spouses and waged a prayer war for our marriages and for each other? What if that night, we lay in bed and read the bible with our spouse, and prayed Psalms for each other before we went to sleep?
What if we allowed our days to be so consumed by God and our pursuit of him that everything else seemed like an interference.
I feel like we’re all chasing wholeness, contentment and fulfillment but not allowing ourselves to acknowledge that our relationship with God is something we need to allow ourselves to be consumed by in order to find these things. I was chasing after these things, I was wanting to be “happy” and “full” before I left my husband. But if I had chased after God instead of just these feelings, I would never have left my husband. I would have realized that all these things come from God. And when you simplify your pursuit of happiness, contentment, fulfillment, peace, restfulness…into one word, one Being – God – it all falls into place.
He will give you everything you need. Everything your heart desires. And most times, our heart isn’t really desiring physical things, but instead it’s desiring closeness with him.
I think that we need to allow ourselves to be consumed and obsessed with our God. Forget society’s definition of wholeness and satisfaction, lets allow ourselves to chase after our creator and defend ourselves for the trouble in life that is promised to come. Then, when it hits, our castle will already have it’s walls and our defenses will already be strong and we will be ready to go to battle.