HELLO! I hope you guys are loving summer right now! I know I am:)
I got this question that I thought was pretty alarming, but sadly, not all that uncommon in the church. Many of you know I’m a sold-out Jesus lover, but I’m not a fan of religion. I’m not a fan of mankind screwing up what God intended, but I also know we humans are full of our mistakes and biases. We all have great things to bring to the table too! God wants us to love Him and keep trying!
Whitney asked me about her marriage that is not going so well. The basic gist is her husband is beating over the head with a bible (proverbially I hope! 😉 using it to get her to do what he wants. Not cool, man! Christian people make mistakes too, so I’d like to address this one. I have some serious experience here!
That, my friends, is called spiritual abuse and as you may have guessed, it’s just as ugly as other forms of abuse. Whitney has some tough decisions to make. She’s only 20. Living in a situation like this is neither good for her or her husband. The sooner huge issues like this get nipped in the bud the better.
If the habit continues it is harder for her husband to create new patterns and be the guy God wants him to be. We are all tasked with crappy problems here and there, so take heart, it will get better. Doing the next little right thing is the name of the game here.
I want to make something really clear though. Just because people screw this up, doesn’t mean God is cool with it. He’s not. Yes, He is a God of grace, but He is also a God of truth. He needs us to speak the truth in love (grace.) He hates oppression. He hates abuse. He hates it when we use Him as a club to clobber someone with. Sticking with Him, what He loves and says is the best medicine.
Here are the books I told you about. They are affiliate links to good ‘ol amazon. Thanks for your support! You guys rock!
If breaking things down more sounds good here is a great quick guide
Let me ask you a question. Would you say you worry about stuff? Do you worry about things you can’t control? Do you desperately want to fast forward your life to see if everything’s going to be okay? Me too 🙂
When I was younger I had the habit of going and doing fun things rather than address the things that worried me and needed my attention. It proved to be a disaster for me later on!
As I’ve gotten older it’s become increasingly important to make some kind of impact on society with what I’ve learned in life. You guys keep me up at night. Sorry to break it to you, but your futures bother me enough to leave me staring out the windows at 2:00 am wondering how I can help you not end up like some of us who have it pretty tough simply because we had no idea where our little decisions were leading.
I know you worry about your future too. I know this is a major stressor for a whole lot of you. I totally get it. How can you know what to major in in college by the time you’re a junior in high school? How are you suppose to know what you want to pursue as a career when you haven’t been able to experience enough? How are you going to make a living and support yourself and a someday family? How are you going to pay for college?
Here are some practical tips to think about:
So, let me share with you a lesson in all this that I had to learn the hard way. Since unfortunately, we have zero control over the future what can we do? All we can do is make the next right decision. I had to learn to take a deep breath and think about the next decision that needed to be made that would get me closer to what was important to me.
So, essentially, I had to ask myself: “Teresa, what are you practicing for?” While you do this, remember: You are the rule, not the exception. Never forget this. This is where we get ourselves into major trouble. The “that will never happen to me” complex.
Here are some examples of these questions to ask ourselves:
If I don’t study hard in high school I may not get the scholarships I need to go to college.
If I don’t keep up with my homework in college I will flunk out, costing my parents or myself a whole lot of money.
If I keep missing curfew I might get kicked out of the house.
If I keep buying clothes I won’t have money for rent which may lead to eviction.
If I have sex I’m practicing for pregnancy and STD’s.
If I sit around playing video games all day I won’t have a job and be able to support myself. (Yes, I know some people make a living out of this somehow, but that isn’t the norm.)
If I drink every weekend I’m practicing to have a drinking problem.
If I keep being disrespectful to my parents I will continue to have a horrible relationship with them.
Do you play out the decisions you make one at a time? I didn’t either. Partly because a brain that isn’t fully developed has a very hard time looking into the future. It’s more likely to live in the moment. While living in the moment is good on some level, it can come back to bite you in a HUGE, UGLY way.
But here’s the encouragement. Because life is a culmination of little decisions. The hope is you make far better ones than not. You can make every attempt to make the next little right decision. This is how you can get a handle on the worrying!
Sometimes bad things still happen, but focusing on what we CAN’T control will wreck us. Instead, focus on what you CAN control and do the next right thing.
If you’re a Christian I highly suggest you pray about it. God is very interested in you. Whether you know it or not, He loves you and wants the best for you. It may take some time for you to begin to recognize His voice, but until then here are some things you need to know:
God will never ask you to do anything that goes against scripture
He is a God of peace. If you are filled with anxiety, hold off on making any decision
He often speaks in circumstances. If every door is shutting in the direction you want to go, then you should hold up and re-evaluate
He also will often speak through other mature Christians, so ask. Find some people that are older than you because they have more experience and see if they’d be willing to be a mentor and someone you can ask advice of when you need it. If you feel horrified at the idea of asking someone, don’t! They will most likely feel SO honored you asked 🙂
Let me know if I can help you feel like you can relax a little rather than worry 🙂