January’s theme is Possible. It’s an odd dichotomy…to believe something is possible when it has never been present in your own life is hard. Yet, YET if you don’t believe it is possible, it reduces the probability that it can be possible.
You get it, or we think you do. Last week, we encouraged you to think of possible for your life – how did that go?
So to make an amazing marriage and an unbounded life probable for you, it starts with possible. But how can we even see possible, much less believe it, when all the evidence in our lives and marriages at this point screams otherwise…how do we get there? First…read your vision statement again and again. That’s a good step. But it’s not enough.
God tells us this: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Two steps our wise Creator lays out for us:
- (Don’t) Conform to the pattern on this world
- (D0) Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
We delved deeply into the work of radically changing our broken marriage. But the first step was to realize that our expectations of what marriage was – and fundamentally what LOVE is – had been driven by so many cultural influences. Our families of origin. Books. Movies. Songs. What other people told us, or what we thought we could see as we looked at other people.
Those are patterns of the world. The DON’T be conformed to patterns.
The patterns of our parents. Patterns so ingrained that it was tough to see. All bad? Of course not, but deeply connected and filled with passion and joy marriage? Not even close. With a committed eye and open heart, we were able to see distortions and manipulation and sarcasm and passive-aggressive behavior and self-protection. These things weren’t just present in our parent’s lives and marriages and loves…they were folded into our marriage.
The patterns of books and movies and songs. The chase is awesome, the protagonists have challenges to overcome and “love wins” when they come together to live happily ever after. Except the story always stops there, at happily ever after which we then assume is how the rest of their lives look. So the shock of real-life after the belief that happily ever after is what love and marriage looked like?
The patterns of what other people told us about love and marriage and commitment…often celebrities and other folks in the limelight. The great love stories of Bennifer: Jennifer Lopez/Ben Affleck. That fell apart and became: Jennifer Lopez/Marc Anthony and Ben Affleck/Jennifer Garner. That have also now fallen apart.
Or maybe you are from the era of Arnold Schwarzenegger/Maria Shriver that are no longer married after a dual life with the nanny unfolded.
How about Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt…that started out as Jennifer Anniston/Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie/Billy Bob Thornton but even before that started out as Angelina Jolie/Johnny Lee Miller?
Who can forget Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes? His love for her was so overwhelming he jumped off Oprah’s couch. Except that was after he was overwhelmed in love as Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman. Which was after he was overwhelmed in love as Tom Cruise/Mimi Rogers. Yea…hard to even explain how these and the hundreds and thousands of other couples in their exuberant-love-that-turned-sour did to our impression and thinking about marriage. About love. Subtly, without us even realizing…we were conforming to what our culture told us.
What God is telling us? Looking at this world and allowing it to impact our mind and thinking about marriage, about love…we can do better than that. He has better things in mind, and in store, for our lives and our hearts and our souls. Love God’s way looks nothing like what we see around us, everywhere.
Renewing our minds is getting into right thinking. That is where the world of possibility lies.
If you want to restore a broken relationship or, as we did, create an entirely new and beautiful and amazing marriage, STOP going to the same sources. Instead, seek counsel and insight that demonstrates what you are looking for. Seek out couples that have an intimacy and consistent care and joy for each other. Couples that demonstrate trust and trust-worthiness. Couples that grieve with authenticity and laugh from their guts…together. Couples that face adversity without destroying each other, rather moving in to their relationship for the strength to get through. The very best place to start is with the Author of love, Himself.
Before we renewed our minds, our sources convinced us that love was about me, not us. We believed love was fleeting, and could end. We perceived that love just plopped down on us, or we would “fall into it.” We understood that love didn’t require anything – it just WAS and when it wasn’t anymore, oh well.
But thing is, none of that is really love.
But oh, what the Creator has to say about love. The story is so much greater. You can renew your mind so your understanding of love isn’t shaped by a crazy world that does anything but love. Instead, read some of the Truth about love. As we have become devoted to renewing our minds and learning about love from the very Source of love, Himself, here are some things we have learned:
- Love is humble and gentle
- Love is sacrificial
- Love covers a multitude of wrongs
- There is no fear in love
- Love binds all together
- Love acts
- Love is brave and strong
- Love is the greatest
- Love cannot be contained
- Love is focused
- Love never gives up
Do you believe it is possible? Possible that you can really experience a heart so knit together with your spouse that you are not sure where you stop and they start? That you honestly feel each other’s joy and pain and anxiety and hopes? That love is so different than the junk you have allowed your mind to perceive, and that through the renewing of your mind and learning about real love, it becomes PROBABLE that you can have an unbounded life? An amazing marriage?
We don’t just believe it’s possible anymore. We know Love, and now, we love.
Living Unbounded, Susan and Jere