Monday, August 13, 2012


[Defining that illusive "dying to self" spoken about in scripture in plain English]

Life is tough. Situations develop that are painful and create wounds emotionally, psychologically, physically, and even spiritually. When those situations are found in relationships, especially marriage and family life, it's even more painful. What do you do? How do you face difficulties of that nature? Trusting God is a given for Christians, and that is never minimized, but there are some responsibilities we carry in those kinds of situations also, it seems to me, otherwise, we're simply victims and what kind of life is that! 

I'm no expert and don't have all the answers, but, that said, I have learned some things, the hard way most of the time. It's those things I've learned I'd like to share.

When you are in a relationship that is difficult and you don't know what to do.... I suggest three things... [Remember, trusting God is a given.]

Develop a right frame of mind..

Nothing will remove the emotional pain that a person feels when things are collapsing or relationships are muddled or life seems unfair or unfulfilled. Those are what they are...painful emotions felt. They are neither right nor wrong...they just are. Recognize their existence and their grip on you in the moment. That's OK for the moment. They're yours.

But to let them control what you say or what you do is to lose your personhood and that is too high a price for anyone to be willing to pay. What you say and what you do [Be ye kind one to another] is your opportunity to be the real you. [In Christ a new creation] So when you admit to yourself your feelings about something or someone, from this point on, choose to rethink the moment  [As a person thinketh]  by honestly calculating the consequences [count the cost] of what you say or do as to whether or not it will really help your cause [God being real..that's what His "Glory" means.] or totally work against you and only make things worse. [reaping what is sown]

Develop a resistance to focusing on fault..

Assigning blame [whose fault is it?] may make you feel better in the moment, [or worse depending on whether you're a blame taker or a blame giver]  but it will never actually make things better for you, whether the assigned blame goes to yourself or to someone else. Blame is a recognizable problem with you if the conversation you have with other people degenerates within a few minutes to trying to assign responsibility to someone [even God] for the problem or situation existing. 

The key is to choose to focus in that moment on being to the other person [or to the moment/situation] something that will reflect your genuine personhood [who you are by God's grace] whether that is your ability to listen, share, explain, give or whatever portrays the real you as a person. "Who am I being right now?" is the question you need to ask yourself and answer for yourself, and focus there in the moment. 

Develop a return to teamwork..

A willingness to change, listen, compromise, be there for, is to be chosen by you and stated to yourself as a fact that is settled in your own mind. Then the other person has a choice to make. When the same choice is mutually shared it leads the way to change without blame assigned, but an acceptance of reality in both and a willingness to lay down expectations for the other because you have picked them up for yourself. 

When this is mutual, things can be worked out. If not, you are the better for the journey regardless. [It was good that it was in your heart.]

Jesus was not successful in being able to have a relationship with everyone. When others wouldn't, He respected their choices and went on being who He was in reality. They were the loser. He was never a victim. So it may be with some of our relationships, but we are never a victim. We go on with being who we are, by His grace, with or without them, sad to say, but a reality.

Always remember, where ever YOU go,  there YOU are.

Paul B.


Rex Ray said...

The picture on your post reminds me of (Genesis 3:16 NLT) “…you will desire to control your husband…”

It also reminds me of a church bylaws meeting where a finger was shook in my face by my cousin saying, “If you don’t like the way things are done around here, LEAVE!”

My only reply to my cousin was, “I’m glad your finger’s not a gun.”

I think that might fit in with your post and Wade’s “Shake the dust off.”

Aussie John said...


Another pearl, with the advice gleaned from on-the-job training!

" the hard way most of the time". That's me!

As you begin, "Situations develop that are painful and create wounds emotionally, psychologically, physically, and even spiritually".

I've come to accept such things, even though I don't like them, as learning opportunities, allowed by the One who knows best what I need to learn, AND unlearn.

In my younger days (yours too??), relationship problems during my tenure on this planet were often because "I" was there.

Our academic training tends to teach us that because "I" am there everything is apple dandy.

Tight hats and wisdom don't dwell together, as you so often demonstrate.

Thank you!

Paul Burleson said...


Or, it might fit the "I'm the top dog around here, we'll do what I say" part of that Gen. verse. ["But he will rule (despot) over you."]

Since I take that Gen 3:16 verse to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, both are curseful instead of graceful, and the war has been on ever since.

Aussie J,

Now this..."Tight hats and wisdom don't dwell together, as you so often demonstrate." going in my "Quotes worth saving" notebook. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're taking HER side!

Paul Burleson said...


Until "taking sides" is a non-issue, no real relationship is possible. ESPECIALLY in a marriage.