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Thursday, May 17, 2012
Sometimes my writing seems to create an open invitation for me to be tested concerning what I’ve written. I really try not to write about stuff I don’t practice in my own marriage, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.
Since completing my last series on “the power of being positive” I have to admit I’m being seriously challenged in this area.
As you can probably tell from the fact that I have just set my own record for the longest time span without a post since starting this blog, life has been rather insane lately. Between intense stress and travel for work, family commitments and a plethora of activities not related to my marriage ministry, I’m running at 150% of capacity. It has forced me to almost entirely neglect Journey to Surrender and my other marriage ministry endeavors. No writing or posting, very limited Facebook and Twitter activity, and my RSS reader backlog now stands above 500 posts!
All this combines to leave me extremely frustrated, and to the point, not very positive! I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, and the thing that most sinks my positivity meter is feeling forced into mediocrity by my circumstances. That’s happening in spades right now, and it makes me nuts! It also makes me pretty negative. It’s how I’m wired.
Choking on My Own Words
As much as I hate to admit it, I am realizing that I’m not doing so great at the whole positive thing recently. I thought it would be a good idea to remind myself by going back and re-reading my last few posts. Ouch!!
Here are but a few of the choice quotes from recent posts that stung the most:
- “The first thing to realize about being positive is that it is a choice. We all have lots of stuff that could drag us down into being negative; that’s just real life.” (full post )
- “I have to place the burden of my happiness squarely on my own shoulders and own up to the fact that if I’m unhappy, I’m the one that has to do something about it.” (full post)
- “I often hear it said that right thinking leads to right doing. That's why it is so important to get your thinking screwed on straight” and “practice thankfulness daily.” (full post)
- “One negative statement carries the same emotional weight as seven positive ones. Whether the number is true or not, you can shift the atmosphere in your marriage with your words.” (full post)
- “Little, frequent acts of kindness and love are the best way to ensure that passion and intimacy thrive.” (full post)
Honesty moment: I’m pretty much 0 for 5 on the above lately. That whole “practice what you preach” thing? Well, not so much. And the fruit of it has been exactly what I predicted in my posts: a definite strain on the level of intimacy my wife and I usually enjoy.
I come at last to the real point of this post: I can’t do this on my own.
When I try to live my life in my own strength, I often find that I fall short. Short on time, short on patience, short on love and kindness, and yes, short on positivity.
Yet I know that God has an infinite supply of all of these things. He is the ultimate source for all I need. As the apostle Paul wrote:
"My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.2 Corinthians 12:9
Do you sometimes struggle, like I do, to find the strength you need to do what you want to do and what you know you should do? Let me do for you what my darling wife does often for me in such a circumstance and point you to the power source: God’s presence.
Power in the Presence
The truth is that in all situations and circumstances the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit can carry us through. When we learn to walk continuously in the presence of God, which Jesus died to give us access to, we can not only survive difficulties, we can actually thrive through them.
I’m not always able to keep this truth in focus. I’m not always able to remember to “practice the presence” of God, as Brother Lawrence so famously termed it. But I’m thankful that I have a wife who speaks truth into my life and points me to Jesus, even when I’m teaming with stress and negativity.
It is so important for husbands and wives not to withdraw when things get tough, but instead to encourage each other in the Lord. When circumstances start decreasing the intimacy in your marriage and draining your passion, that’s the very time to move toward each other, speaking the truth in love.
Do you sometimes need to remind your spouse of verses like this: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength?” (Phil 4:13) Or this: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” (Ps 105:4).
I will close with one of my favorite apostolic prayers. It’s a great prayer to pray for a spouse who is struggling:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know…his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which raised Christ from the dead.Ephesians 1:17-20
When circumstances start to hurt the intimacy in your marriage, it might just be time to find the strength and power you need through intimacy with God.
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