Photo from: forbes.com
Patterns determine so much in our lives. From our “life trajectory” –school, college, grad school, job, retirement- to the way our conversations function –“how are you? Good? And you?”- it seems like we live our lives based on the logic of “if this, then this.”
Have you ever seen a dichotomous key? It looks like this:
Replace “duck” and “hen” with “going to bed angry” and “all is well.” Replace “swims” with “calls him that name.” Swap out “feathers” with “forces the issue.”
What if you could skip half those yes and no options to get right to the point? The point you’re actually aiming for. The better point.
It’s possible. And it’s possible because you have a choice. Because God gave you a free will. For as helpful as dichotomous keys can be for identifying a species or a fact, they aren’t that great for relationships.
In relationship, there are usually much more than two options, though. Plus, there’s really very little prediction of “if this, then this” because whoever else is involved has a free will too. That’s a major part of the backing for the quote “there are no rules in love and war.”
Dear good, well-behaved Christian friends –break whatever rules you think there are.
Break free of the “if this, then this” worry and manipulation used in conversation. Overstep the “invisible line” and get to the point: you want this relationship to be deeper; you want to reach all is well instead of going to bed angry; your desire is to glorify God even in the muck.
But to do that, you can’t get bogged down.
And we do. We all do.
In the heat of the moment or the panic of sudden chaos, we get tunnel vision. Or, our bliss can blind us and make us ignorant. The patterns and rituals of our marriages and friendships can keep us pleasantly stagnant just because that’s the way it is. All the while we miss out on getting to the heart of relationship: the unpredictable, awe-inspiring, God’s-at-work heart of it.
But we have a choice. It takes just one second.
In just one second, that impossible situation can be peaceful. It takes just one word to change the tone of the conversation. That’s the kind of God we serve.
In one word, the waves stopped storming. Through one foreign woman the savior’s line continued. With one simple answer Jesus could turn zealots on their heads. And one man saved us all from sin. In….what? Just a few hours. With one choice: the choice to obey.
It’s so easy to feel stuck and trapped and get caught up in the pattern –but life doesn’t have to be a “just.” Your argument with your spouse doesn’t have to go the way it always does. The conversation with your friend that never gets deeper could. Terrible events this week don’t have to ruin your enjoyment of that other shindig you’ve been looking forward to.
Because you have a choice.
You have a choice to set your mind on the things above. To lay up your treasure in heaven. To take captive your thoughts and think on these things: whatever is….you know the words! Ask the Lord to help you. He knows how much can change in just a moment, and He knows your options, too.