Friday, September 6, 2013

Faith in Relationships and God, Part 1

I was asked by a friend to write out my thoughts on faith and how it plays out in relationships and with God.  I’ve been mulling over it for about a week now, and I’m still not entirely sure I’ve gotten all my thoughts straightened out but I thought now might be a good time to start the writing process and see where the journey takes us.  Without further ado:

I guess the first thing that needs to be addressed what the definition of the word faith since it will be the basis for the rest of the post.  There are few different points under the faith definition but I am going to just use the two points that I think are reflected at the heart of the question:

Faith [feyth]
1.       Confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2.       Belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

That is what we are really talking about here when we talk about faith in relationships:  A showing of trust and confidence in the face of uncertainty or lack of proof.

I think I want to start with faith in relationships.  I feel that perhaps this will be the easier of the two to address and I want to make sure my thoughts have worked themselves out a little more before I talk about faith in God.

Throughout life every human experiences a series of relationships.  Every encounter with another human or any living creature develops a form of relationship.  Whether it is an acquaintanceship with a co-worker, an affection for a pet, or love for a significant other, we are all in some form of relationship.  Each of these relationships tell a little bit about who we are as people.  How we react to different personalities, what we reveal to others at differing levels of intimacy, and how we handle conflict (perhaps the most revealing of all).  Every relationship requires some semblance of trust that the person you are interacting with is not some psychopath who is going to slit your throat when you aren’t looking (although we all know there are other ways to be much more hurtful).  The more intimate you get with another, the more faith or trust is required until eventually you get to the point where you are completely vulnerable to the other person.

When you reach that point there is no turning back.

And it is scary.

And dangerous.

But it is also freeing.

I can’t even begin to mention the times when I have been so thankful that I can really and truly be myself around my wife.  It is such a blessing to be in such a relationship with her that I can come home and not feel the need to “wear my armor” so to speak, and she has said the same to me on a number of occasions.  It is a beautiful thing to be a part of.  But being in such a relationship has the potential for some of the deepest wounds.  One small word, one phrase, one little thing is all it takes and that trust gets completely destroyed.

Many times when things like that happen, it isn’t even meant.  It is just something that was said or done in the heat of the moment.  And it happens too many times to too many people.

And sometimes those people never trust again.  They never open up because their heart is too damaged, too wounded, and they are too scared.  And that fear keeps them from opening up again which is what really needs to happen if they are ever going to heal.

The problem, of course, is that we are all people.  There is not a single perfect being out there.  Not a single individual who will take all of who you are and at some point not hurt you.  It is in our nature.  I deeply love my wife, and I know she trusts me to take care of her both emotionally and physically.  She trusts me to not use the secrets that she has kept to herself until she shared them with me against her.  She trusts me to keep those same secrets to myself.  She trusts me to respect her wishes, and she certainly trusts me to have fidelity in our relationship with each other.

And I trust her to do the same. 

It’s taken four years to get to that point, and it has been a painful process at times because despite our trust in each other, we don’t always pull through like we should. 

Because people are broken.

But we have to keep removing callouses that develop around our hearts or we will get to the point where we don’t love each other any longer.  And I don’t mean that in the sense of the emotional experience of love.  I mean the commitment and choice to love.  The act of putting the other before self, of showing patience and kindness, of getting angry at the injustice of how someone treated the other, or keeping complaints to yourself because the only reason you’re aggravated is because it is inconvenient to you.

It is a two way street, and it requires balance and finesse.

That’s why so many people will spend a lifetime toughing out the imbalance until they find it.

That’s why so many people give up on something so beautiful, because they don’t realize they can actually work through it if they wanted to.  They just don’t want to because it hurts in the now.

But we are worth so much more than this.

Grace and Peace.  Part 2 coming up Wed.

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