life-resolution

Posted: 2nd January 2013 by iBarnabas in journaling
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I don’t really do ‘resolutions’ at least not because its January 1 of the next year. I guess there’s nothing really wrong with it, lots of folks do, I just just see the point. I mean, lots of people make ‘new years resolutions’ like missing weight, quitting smoking, reading more, being nicer, exercising. Then they hit them hard and fast… for a few weeks. Then, inevitably, they fall into their old ways, ways familiar and ‘normal’ to them, and the resolution is forgotten.

new-year-resolutions

Experts will tell you that dieting only works when you look at it as a lifestyle change rather than a food intake change. Exercising, takes more than a gym membership, it takes devotion. I don’t remember exactly but you’re supposed to do something 12 times (or 20 times?) To make that thing a ‘habit’ once its becomes a habit it’s easier to continue with. At the core it takes more than a calendar date and a tradition to change a person. First and foremost it takes recognizing a change is needed and accepting the challenge. It then takes commitment and dedication.

“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” ~ Dr. Phil

This year, 2012, was a year of change for me; mostly subtle and unassuming. Little things like growth at work, like getting back to leading small-group discussions, expanding my leadership at work and in my family. Probably my favorite thing in 2012, the thing I am most proud of and am so happy I did, was to purchase new wedding rings for myself and my wife. Our marriage has been a long journey with some good, some horrible, and some great times along the road.

About five years ago we entered into a time of healing and great growth in our relationship. A time when we both had to do a lot of changing rooted in humility and reversing years of selfish and self-centered behaviors. Its been hard, to be sure. But its reward has, and continues to be, amazing. If I were to encapsulate the whole thing into a short phrase it might be, “your spouse has an innate need to be ‘chosen’ and desired by you.” This works both ways.

Men, regardless of how we may act at times, desire to be chosen by our spouse as a strong protector and provider. We need to be seen as someone that makes you feel safe and secure, someone that brings confidence and control into the chaos of life. At our core, I believe, a man needs to know that he matters, especially to his spouse. If he feels that he is of no value he will seek his value-ability elsewhere; from his work, his male friends, his toys, etc. anywhere that he can get a feeling of being needed, of serving a purpose.

Women desire to be chosen as someone we ‘desire’. Desire to be with, to care for, to be a strong protector and provider for. She needs to feel safe and loved, that she is beautiful and … “special” in our eyes and hearts. She also needs to know that all her efforts to care for us; the shopping, cooking, cleaning, reminding us to bathe and brush our teeth, nurturing our family (if we have one),… that these often overlooked and under-appreciated herculean efforts meet our needs and that we not only recognize them but truly appreciate her for them. She performs these tasks, to some degree, as a performance intended to please her man. At her core, I believe, a woman needs to know that her man ‘wants’ her, desires her, seeks for her and treasures her. If she does not feel that her man values her she will, generally, regress. She will become bitter and resentful, she will continue to perform her tasks but as duties instead and will grow colder in her relationship.

This ‘choosing, by the way is not something done once. Its something done often and intentionally. I chose my car from a sales lot. It’s mine (loan notwithstanding). I chose my house. I choose (not often wisely) what to order from a menu. We make choices everyday. Ordinary choices about ordinary things. Our spouse should be EXTRA-ordinary. And, as such we should choose our spouse often and intentionally. If we fail to choose our spouse, to help fulfill those innate needs to be desired and valued, then we are choosing something else. This may not make complete sense but it’s true. When it comes to the emotional bond between a Man and a Woman we need to know that our spouse often and intentionally chooses us. When we fail to do this once in awhile, especially for the ordinary and mundane things of life, there is little consequence. However, if we do this often enough, if we choose the ordinary consistently and our spouse infrequently, then our spouse may feel as if he or she is no longer valued or desired.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit ~ Ephesians 5:18 (NIV)

The verb “be filled” in Ephesians 5:18 is a present tense. It’s better stated as “Keep being filled with the Spirit.” Its not a static, once-and-for-all experience, but the dynamic continuity of the Spirit’s control. Because it is possible to be filled by the Holy Spirit at one moment in time and not the next. This describes a relationship between us and the Holy Spirit. this verb is what I am talking about with ‘choosing’ your spouse. To maintain a vibrant relationship with your spouse… choose wisely.

Wedding-RingsThis is why re-purchasing our wedding rings was so important and poignant for me. Too much of our marriage did not reflect this ‘choosing’ on either side. But lately it has. And even though I don’t need a ring to remind me that I am married or to hold me to my vows, I need the ring to make a statement. A statement that I am empowered by the love of my wife, the way she chooses me as her man. The way she honors me and respects me. I wear my ring as a sword. One I thrust into the air, metaphorically, and roar like the hero she makes me. I am honored to have her chose me as her prince, her warrior, her balance, her confidence in chaos, her provider of the basics such as food and shelter but also of choosing her. Of providing her with the love and compassion, the faith and desire, of putting her first in my heart and seeing her as my princess and gift from God himself.
I made a life-resolution back in 1997, after a great and terrible fall in our marriage, that I would change. That I would bring everything to God in prayer and trust him, above myself, to protect my heart and mind in Jesus Christ. I needed to unlearn decades of being a man, husband and father – the wrong way. And become the man I was designed to be. Dr. Phil was right, I had to first “acknowledge” that I needed to change before I could attempt to change. I also had to approach it not as a crash diet but as a lifestyle change. A desire and dedication to become a man my wife and children could respect and trust. A man worthy of being chosen to lead and provide. A man with a good heart and a strong character to stir desire in my wife’s heart.

I choose my wife. Not once and done but often and intentionally. I choose to love her, to desire her beauty and her heart and her soul. I choose to trust her with our finances and our home and our children and she does the same with me. And, I am grateful for all that she does to care for me and our family.

New Years ResolutionMy new years resolution? To hold the line. To continue to pursue becoming the man God designed me to be, the man my wife can choose to love, honor and respect, the man my children can look up to and trust to be honest and loving toward them. I also strive to be a man who wields mercy and grace, like a spiritual sword, helping others to find and feel the empowerment and freedom of trusting in Jesus and becoming who God designed them to be.

Sorry, diets and reading more and exercise will have to wait, I’m a man on a mission.

will you join the cause?