Thursday, October 17, 2013

What is your motivation?

The motivation of love is 100% more powerful and effective than the motivation of fear or hate.  It also has positive long term effects.  The majority of my life was lived out of fear: fear of punishment, fear of rejection, or fear of failure.  I look at the growth I experienced during the first couple decades of my life and see that although I was a Christian since a very young age, it was a very slow growing process.  In the last few years though, since God began setting me free of many negative mindsets, I've had an entirely different experience.
With a motivation of love, I am finding that my growth in Christ keeps increasing in leaps and bounds compared to my past.  My life has completely turned around because I am desiring to please God rather than doing something because I'm afraid of what He'll say or do if I don't.

This principle applies to every aspect of my life.  In a practical sense, if I am desiring to live a healthy lifestyle, I'm not going to get very far if my primary motivation is hate for the body I have now or fear of what I'll become if I don't change things around.  However, if I eat healthy and exercise because I love myself (no, not in a proud way, but loving the work that God has made), then I am more likely to continue making good choices in how I take care of myself.

Same goes for relationships.  If I'm lonely and afraid of being alone for the rest of my life, my motivation for dating someone is not very good.  Entering a relationship because of this motivation will most likely produce an unhealthy relationship.  I want my motivation for dating/getting married to be because I feel God's blessing on it and that together with this man, we can be stronger in Christ than we could be apart.

Preparing for Marriage...Now???

I feel like I've been in a state of preparation for years.  Yes, God has put on my heart to get ready for marriage before the man has even come into my life.  To some, that might seem ludicrous or simply wishful thinking...that preparing will somehow magically produce my husband.  To me though, readying myself now means that I am becoming the fullness of who I am called to be and dealing with my baggage, before being put into such an intimate relationship.

Marriage is a big deal to me.  I have always taken relationships seriously and desired to have a relationship that is everything God meant it to be.  How can I expect to have such a relationship though if I assume that everything will fall into place once I meet my man...that I will suddenly know how to do and say the right things?  Having a God-honouring relationship starts with two people putting God first and allowing Him to mold them into who they were designed to be.  There will be continual growth throughout the marriage, but I'd much rather already be in a stage of positive growth before even meeting my husband.  

One area in particular that I am learning to grow in right now is communication.  I am finding ways that I can stand up for myself so that I am honouring God, myself, and the other person.  I hate conflict and tend to try to avoid it at all costs.  I'll refuse to be honest about things that hurt or frustrate me because I don't want the other person to be hurt or to think less of me in their hurt.  Yet, these habits only produce the negative fruit of resentment, fear, and unhealthy relationships.  I can only imagine how destructive my fear of confrontation would be in a marriage if I never did anything about it!

As I learn to grow in areas that are hard for me, God is stripping away the ugliness inside me and revealing the beauty He has placed there.  I am gaining victory over strongholds of fear, doubt, insecurity, selfishness, etc.  Who wants to bring those negative qualities into a marriage?  I'm not saying those issues will never affect me again, but I would rather start working through them now, before I have another person who is directly affected by my choices.  I firmly believe that my marriage will be stronger as I focus on becoming all that God has called me to!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Legacy of Honour

Sometimes, I wonder why I should bother honouring certain people who may never know how I talked about them behind their backs.  I'm thinking of this past year when I was getting to know two guys (at totally different times).  In both instances, my heart was getting involved as it was looking like things would progress into a relationship, only to be disappointed by the guy not being ready for a serious relationship.  With the most recent guy, I was very angry and hurt at first.  Part of the reason for the strong emotions was very much due to the upheaval in my life caused by my parents separating and other significant changes in the same time frame.

The first couple days, I allowed myself to express my anger in the privacy of my home.  However, even though no one else could hear me but God, I felt that it was wrong to express my anger in a way that was disrespectful to this man.  Name-calling and put-downs were unacceptable.

It took awhile, but after praying quite extensively, I had to make the choice to lay aside my right to be spiteful, and choose not to sin in my anger.  Yes, I'm sure better decisions could have been made by this man, which would have saved me a lot of grief.  Despite that fact, I still needed to honour him, despite how "worthy" he might be of it.

As I began to make choices that honoured him in my thoughts, words, and actions, God revealed to me how these decisions were creating a legacy of honour.  Although this man had no idea what I was saying/not saying about him, the way I handled the situation was having major effects in the spirit realm.

On both sides of my family, there are quite a few examples of negative relationships and marriages.   I used to be terrified that I was doomed to have a relationship like my parents'.  Yet, as I choose to keep my eyes fixed on Christ and His plan for my life, I realize that I have hope to break the chains of generational curses, particularly with relationships, and create new legacies of generational blessings.

When I chose to honour that man that I had felt hurt by, I began to get excited.  I was breaking off old ways of dealing with problems and creating new, Godly ones.  I was building a legacy of honour for my future children!  I was also gaining clarity in areas that God wanted to work with me on so that I could grow from this experience.

The spiritual atmosphere has a powerful effect in our everyday lives, and I am positively influencing this atmosphere when I honour the people God has placed in my life, especially when it hurts.  The truest tests of my character are when I have been wronged.  It's easy to honour people when they treat me well.

As I build good habits with honouring others now, I can pass on those skill sets to my children.  Strongholds of anger and bitterness will be replaced with mindsets of honour, love, and respect.  There will be times that my children will get angry and hurt, but as I model what it looks like to treat people as Christ would, staying clear of criticism, name-calling, and put-downs, they will be empowered to do the same in their own lives.  Mistakes will still be made, both in my life and my children's, but I believe that a legacy of honour is being built with each decision to honour instead of tear down.