I was no longer patient and kind. Instead, I was focused on the flaws that had to be corrected. They'd escaped me during our courtship, but as soon as we were married, John's shortcomings became glaringly apparent.
I began to see my mission as a true gift to him. After all, wasn't it perfectly clear? I could be so helpful. Obviously, I had mistakenly made John the sole source of my joy and fulfillment.
When John resisted my constant and rigorous attempts at training, I thought it best to simply displace him. Perhaps things would go more smoothly if I could just "be the man." At least until he did it my way!
However, John wasn't willing to be the woman. So, we actually ended up with two leaders going in two different directions divided on just about everything.
Needless to say, this wrestling match did a lot of damage to our early relationship. When my husband would disappoint me, I would withdraw my love and respect until he could somehow prove himself worthy again.
In those early years, I was afraid of so many things that I tried to control everything. The turmoil finally came to an end when I realized that I was looking for John to be things that only God could be to me. I expected him to be perfect when, clearly, none of us are.
We are designed to find our ultimate purpose in God alone. There are promises made to us that only He can keep.
Here's a harsh fact: Men lie. Of course, women lie too. People even lie when they believe they're telling the truth. They say they'll never leave you, and they do. They say they'll always love you, and they don't.
Actually, all the lying can become a bit alarming. It should be a relief to all of us, male and female alike, that God is not like us. He cannot lie because He is truth. God is God and there is none like Him. His perspective is not skewed or obscured, and He cannot be bribed or deceived.
Seek Your True Source
There's another way in which we elevate man to the level of a god. It's when we incorrectly believe people to be our source of security and promotion. This dangerous mindset runs rampant in the business world. Many believe that networking and name-dropping are the quickest routes to favor and promotion, or provision.
Sadly, this same mindset also affects the church. Relationships aren't viewed as sacred, but rather as commodities to be exploited. It's immature behavior that reveals a displaced trust in people. As Christians, we should always desire God's favor, first and foremost.
The pursuit of finding favor with man is all wrapped up in public perception. This usually hinges on appearance and achievement. Therefore, the attractive and successful seem to be the ones "getting ahead." But if their popularity wavers, they suffer loss. Thankfully, God doesn't waver in His love toward us, no matter what others say about us.
Favor with God is realized in secret. Alone with Him, our motives are weighed and revealed. In His presence all expectations and disappointments are laid to rest. There, we're embraced for who we are, not for what we do. This is reality. Who we are with Him is much more important than anything we might accomplish for Him in the public arena.
Sometimes I run to the safety of His presence because I'm afraid and I've lost perspective. There, I'm reminded of His truth: "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe" (Prov. 29:25). And, "In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Ps. 56:11). The psalmist raises a good question. People will come against us, but what can they actually do to us if we trust in God? If we believe God when He tells us that He holds our life in His hands, then we'll find ourselves unafraid of the threats of man.
If we're walking this earth, we will be misunderstood, misjudged, misrepresented and mistaken by friends and enemies alike but never by God. "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man" (Ps. 118:8, NKJV). This isn't an admonishment to distrust people, but it's a reminder of where to place your trust. It's better to totally surrender to God's mercy and fairness than to even think of relying on people.
The only way to trust God more is to know Him better. He's unchanging and righteous. He's truth. His honor is above question and His power is limitless. And, thank goodness, He is altogether different than us.
Lisa Bevere is the author of Fight Like a Girl (Warner Faith), from which portions of this article were adapted.
- << Prev