Tag Archives: Volatility

Relationship and Maturity

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity….
Hebrews 6:1a (NIV)

The other night Wendy and I were having a conversation with friends. I can’t even remember the entire context of the conversation as it flowed across many subjects and meandered down several tributaries of thought. At one point, however, I remember Wendy making the observation regarding how our relationship has matured over the years we’ve been married. I remember quietly chewing on that fact for a while.

Wendy and I have a great relationship, and we continue to enjoy a wonderful marriage. It has, nevertheless, changed over the years. We’ve pushed into understanding and appreciating one another’s unique and contrasting personality types. On the Enneagram I’m a Type 4 (Individualist) and she’s a very opposite Type 8 (Challenger). [cue: sparks flying..it can be one of the most volatile combinations] You don’t simply skate through life and relationship with such differences and remain unchanged. It forces growth. This is especially true when you journey down the paths of blended family, teenage daughters, infertility, live-in siblings, and house building. And those things are on top of traversing the normal marriage builders of finances, sex, and the management of life’s every day stresses.

The other day I wrote about some of the misconceptions I had about God and spirituality as I grew up. One of those misperceptions was that spiritual life is a compartmentalized part of life, confined to a few hours at church on Sunday along with scattered nods of attention during the week like sporadic prayers or quiet times. Jesus came, however, to make possible our relationship with God. It’s a relationship, in fact, that God likens time and time again to a marriage. Mature marriage relationships in which intimacy and oneness develop don’t happen in an environment of compartmentalization.

In today’s chapter, the author of the letter to Hebrew believers addresses those who have flirted with a relationship with Christ. They have “tasted” of marital relationship as a couple riding the bliss of infatuation into experimental living together while keeping entire parts of themselves compartmentalized and self-centered. The author urges them to push towards a relationship that matures only in a committed 24/7/365 journey with all of its shared peaks and valleys.

This morning I’m again thankful for Wendy, for our marriage with all of its moments of unheralded creativity and, yes, occasional volatility. I’m thankful for the maturing of relationship and what it teaches me about myself, Wendy, and God who is both Life and Love. I am reminded of the necessity to press on and into maturity of relationship, and not be seduced and deluded into spiritual, relational stagnation and compartmentalization.

 

Peace and Stability in Volatile Times

source: eastcentralillinoiswxphotography93 via Flickr
source: eastcentralillinoiswxphotography93 via Flickr

 

In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah…
In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah…
In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah…
In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah…
1 Kings 16:8, 15, 23, 29 (NIV)

 

After the reign of Solomon, the nation of Israel was split in two. Ten of Israel’s tribes comprise the northern kingdom of Israel with the capital in Samaria. A “Game of Thrones” is a good way to describe the political situation in the northern kingdom as the throne is occupied by a string of strongmen who largely ascended by power, violence and force. Nineteen kings occupy the throne over a period of about 200 years before being conquered by the Assyrians.

 

The tribes of Judah and Benjamin comprise the southern kingdom of Judah with the capital in Jerusalem. Judah remains loyal to the house of David and clings to God’s promises to David. The throne is occupied by nineteen kings and one queen from the line of David over a period of about 350 years before Judah is conquered by the Babylonians.

 

I found it interesting that King Asa of Judah was described as being faithful to God and he reigned over 40 years. It struck me while reading today’s chapter that during Asa’s reign the political situation in the northern kingdom is extremely volatile with a series of military leaders and strong men claiming the throne. Every one of them is described as being committed to the local pagan idols and gods rather than the God of Israel. In the case of Zimri, he held the throne for an entire week before committing suicide by burning the palace down around him. Yikes.

 

This morning I’m pondering the contrast in the two nations during Asa’s reign. It’s an apt word picture for how I think of my life with and without my faith. Despite the ebb and flow of blessing and tragedy along life’s road, I find a high degree of peace and stability from my faith in Jesus – much like Judah seemed to experience during Asa’s reign. I think back to what I remember life being like before my decision to follow Jesus and it feels a lot like the political situation in Israel with life swaying aimlessly with each shift in the power of emotions or circumstances.

 

Today, I’m thankful for peace and stability even in the midst of volatile life changes.

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