Friday, September 19, 2008

One of Becca's Theories

I'm sure I'm not the only one who creates theories. I'm currently working on a theory of what one's eye brows say about a person. The one I'm sharing today, however, has been in the works for several months if not years. I thought about it a lot as I worked as a mental health counselor for six years. I do know that there are much more qualified and well spoken people in the world who have probably spoke or written on this very subject. As with most of my Zerbik entries, this is just something that's new to me. Very likely it's not to you. The most exciting part of this is that in my struggling to understand this "theory", I feel God revealed something to me. Now I get to share it with you!! I'll be as succinct as possible.

The two primary foundations for relationships are trust and respect. Being able to rely on someone's integrity and knowing that they will not intentionally hurt you is how I'm defining "trust". Respect is more complicated. The dictionary backs up my feeling that there are two ways to really define "respect". One, is to like a person, the other, is to value the rights of another and to defer to them. In counseling couples struggling in their marriages, I found often that at least one person neither trusted the other or respected them, in either definition of the term.

I've shared before how excited I was to be rewarded upon entering marital vows to be given such a gift of trust between my new husband and myself. I still attribute it to demonstrating self-control (abstinence) for three years as we dated. Watching each other struggle and taking turns being strong to uphold our shared values paid off in a way we couldn't have expected. We were obeying God's Word just because we were supposed to. Who knew blind obedience to God could be so rewarding. We had many older couples tell us that we were very "mature" for a couple only married two years (now eleven). We weren't necessarily "mature", but we were able to give each other a freedom that didn't result in endless arguments. It also helps in preventing lots of bickering in our marriage when we trust that the other is on our side and not out to get us. I do forget sometimes, but how much worse it could have been without our gift of trust?

How can one build trust with others? I believe that following God's commands however they apply to you in your situation is the best way. We can NEVER trust another person so fully as we can trust God. We're fallible, He's not. Ultimately, in my marriage, it's not Ben that I trust, but God in Him. I trust him to trust God, do what He commands, be obedient to the best of his ability and that God will honor that and protect us where we fail.

This is the area God has revealed the most to me lately. There's two major revelations I've been given.
1.) If you don't respect or like someone, the problem is actually in your heart.
2.) To respect someone is to truly love them.

These principles apply to relationships that aren't romantic as well. They apply to co-workers and churches and friends. If you struggle to find love in your heart for a person, simply ASK GOD. He will, I promise, give you love for that person if your heart is open enough to ask. As with developing trust you may find yourself being led in baby steps of obedience to God in loving that person. Sometimes, He just fills my heart with love and compassion for a person. Sometimes it's work and takes time.

In the situation that you cannot trust a person because they do not obey God and have proven themselves to be untrustworthy. It is still your job to love that person, however, do not marry them, if you're not already married! It is when we must have people in our lives that we cannot trust that we are to develop healthy boundaries with the person. Read "Boundaries" by Cloud and Townsend for more details on setting boundaries.

Again, God made this very clear to me, that this is due to sin in my heart, not theirs. Do we hold them to a higher standard than ourselves? Why can we not find grace in our hearts for this person? If you don't respect a person, I'd like to say that you're not likely to have married them in the first place, but it happens all the time. The wife looks down on the husband for being unmotivated, the husband looks down on the wife for being emotional or weak. There's too many scenarios to list, but there's no problem too big for God's love to heal. We will only grow closer to our God and become more like Jesus when we weather those storms in our relationships.

We all know that there is "give and take" in a relationship. Our sinful hearts are so easily tempted to make gods of our own pleasure and focus on what we're getting out of a relationship. Here's the true give and take in relationship: I give God my trust enough to obey His Word and His leadings in my heart in loving others and simply living as He has called me to live. I, then, receive the trust and respect of others and am filled with God's love for others irregardless of how much I "get out of a relationship" with them. Every relationship is an outpouring of our relationship with our heavenly Father. Our God is a God of reconciliation. When there's trouble in your relationships, throw yourself down before the throne and ask for healing in your own life. When you've gotten right with Him, you'll see with new eyes the others in your life.


Anonymous said...

Your thoughts expressed so beautifully are full of truth and should benefit readers. A result of trust, respect, & love is complete humility, service, hope, growth, and purity.

Blessings galore! All of God's unending love & grace. g&gj

Becca said...

Thanks, Grandma! xoxox

Krista said...

this really encouraged me becca. thanks for taking the time to write it out.

i'm gonna print it up and read thru it a lot to try to grasp all the facets of what you have said.

oh yay, JuJu is adorable; and I have had all 3 of my babies at home with a midwife, all 3 with major back labor. i could relate so much to your birth story. thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your insite Becca, you truley have an understanding and an amazing way of explaining sometimes difficult topics!! I love reading your Zerbik site! Keep it up, Love ~Co