2019 In Review

Just like that, we’re at the tail end of another year. As is custom here, this will be the last post of the year as we go on break this month.

This year has had its fair share of ups and downs. It wouldn’t be life in the true sense if it didn’t have its mix of the sweet and the bitter. But God really does have a way of making all things beautiful in His time.

These are some of the gems I’m taking with me into 2020:

Don’t let what-ifs keep you from what-could-bes. It’s easy to get paralyzed into inaction by going down the what-if road. What if it doesn’t work? What if they don’t like it? What if they don’t like me? What if I fail? What if you don’t? The very thing you’re longing for could be on the other side of the fence on the what-could be road. Any time you find yourself trudging down the negative what-if road, hop over the fence and take a walk on what-could-be.

Not every lemon thrown your way is yours to bite on. Spiritual warfare is a reality for every believer even though a good number of us would rather bury our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist. When you’re in the heat of battle taking blows, it’s easy to forget that fights are won not just by dishing out hits, but by deflecting blows. Some of the worst discouragement you’ll ever deal with will often come just before or right after the breakthrough you’ve been contending for. Because if the enemy can’t keep you from victory, he’ll try and steal your joy of it. Don’t let him.

Little ordinary things are the building blocks of the extraordinary. Any masterpiece is the sum total of small, repetitive brush strokes. Any champion is the product of daily, regimented training. When you understand this, you’ll no longer need to chase the high of achieving the extraordinary. You’ll find joy just in doing the little ordinary things because you know that over time, something extraordinary will come from them.

Stand your ground. Boundaries of any kind always get tested.

The Church is a treasure. She truly is. Just because she’s sometimes covered in a bit of dirt, doesn’t make her any less so. I’ve been immensely blessed by individuals I know personally and those I only know of from a distance who are simply pursuing Christ the best way they know how. They encourage and inspire me to keep running my race. For that, I’m thankful.

Until next year.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Be blessed.

Marriage Bed

The Price Of Wholeness

Wholeness isn’t something everyone wants but it’s something we all need.

It may sound like a strange statement to make but if you’ve journeyed with people for a while whether personally, professionally or in a ministry context then you understand exactly what I mean.

There’s an allure to being broken and staying broken. Sure, we may lament about our brokenness and even talk about how we want things to change. But the true test of how much we want to be made whole is whether we’re willing to pay the price for it.

You may be wondering – didn’t Jesus already do that? Didn’t He already pay the price for our restoration?

Yes, He did.

He paid the price for our restoration. But in order for us to access it, we have to be willing to pay the price of letting go of the familiar wineskins and take on new ones. New wine can never be put in an old wineskin. Restoration can never transform us if we stubbornly hold onto our old, familiar way of doing things.

Far too often we sit back and wait for the power of God to move where it has already moved and He is waiting for us to get up and do our part.

This is all the more so in our relationships.

The notion that a relationship/marriage completes us is the ultimate utopian lie. A relationship will never fix what is broken in you. It will expose it. It can provide an environment for the healing you need. But in and of itself, that relationship is only a reflection of what is in the hearts of the two people in it.  

Unfortunately, in the context of a relationship it’s easy to assign blame to the other person for what’s not working. It’s easy to assume that they should automatically know how to be your partner and in not doing so, they are entirely to blame for the outcomes that follow. It’s easy to expect them to change and even demand that they do all the while you get to stay as is.

I’ve said it before and I’ll reiterate it – I believe that marriage and children are the two sharpest tools that God uses to make us more Christ-like.

If you enter a relationship expecting your partner to fit around your needs and desires then you’ll be in for a rude shock when they end up bursting your little bubble time and time again, often without even realizing they’re doing it.

A relationship can only be as healthy and whole as the two people in it. Having a healthy relationship starts with being a healthy person. It sounds easy enough but if dysfunction in one or several areas is all you’ve ever known, then embracing wholeness is a strange, uncomfortable affair.  

There’s no one on this planet who hasn’t been through something. One of the biggest lies the enemy is feeding us is that we’re special in our brokenness. You’d be surprised just how many people have been through what you’ve been through or are going to go through it at some point.

I don’t say this to dismiss anyone’s pain but to bring it into the proper perspective. There’s nothing new – even that which is devastating – under the sun. Equally, there is nothing that God hasn’t dealt with before. There’s nothing He hasn’t brought someone out of or through in the course of human history.

It’s unfortunate that we elevate our pain above God’s sovereignty. We hold onto it for dear life and wave it like a banner in every area of our lives including our relationships.

It takes courage to acknowledge that what you consider to be “just who I am” or “just the way I am” is actually an unhealthy dysfunction that you need to address.

It takes courage to look at the person in the mirror and take responsibility for their flaws and mistakes.

It takes courage to apologize and not just promise to be better or do better, but actually do the work in becoming better.

It takes courage to lay down your human expectations of what your relationship or partner should be and trade them for God’s dreams that are far greater and better than you could have imagined.

It takes courage to actively unlearn your bad habits and replace them with good ones.

It takes courage to ask for help. To admit you’re not okay. To seek out professional or pastoral counselling where you may need it.

It takes courage to accept that wholeness is a lifelong work and none of us ever really arrive on this side of eternity. There’s always room to grow and become better, become more like Christ.

Relationships are a beautiful thing. But only when we have the right estimation of ourselves, our partners, our relationships and above all, God, will we truly enjoy everything God meant for them to be.