A few years back when I reached a milestone age (I leave you to guess which one), I made a promise to myself never to lie to myself or worst still, to God. I was inspired by David’s simple prayer, “Keep me from lying to myself…” (Ps 119:29, NLT). Whilst the context was somewhat different, it resonated with me because up until that point, I found myself saying ‘I Do’ (proverbially speaking) in various ways when I really didn’t. I was done pretending!
Today, I still abide by this principle. And over the years, I often pondered how many Christians were caught in the trap of lying to themselves. ‘How?’ you ask. Well, let me use two common scenarios to depict this.
Marriage and Singleness
Now this one is a biggie! And before I start, I make NO apologies for what I am about to say as I believe some of us in the ‘singles’ quadrant need to hear it. We say we want to get married for whatever reasons. The prayers are thrown out there, hands are laid on us, single conferences are attended, books are read and we even start ‘dating’ but yet you find yourself still single. Now before you give me 101 spiritual reasons for the absence of ‘good men/women’ in the church, have you ever asked yourself if you really want to marry or perhaps if you are at all ready? Are you prepared to become selfless and walk in love? Are you willing to compromise or perhaps even lay aside certain things to help your partner/family fulfill their God-given assignment? Are you ready to pursue a God-centred, purpose-driven marriage which is not all about YOU? Bringing it closer to home, are you willing/ready to share your beloved/peaceful/tidy/organized space, accept your partner warts ‘n’ all, forgive EVERY TIME they offend you, take care of them?
Often times, we really don’t think it through and it’s only when you are honest, you realize that perhaps marriage is not for you or you got some work to do. By the way, it is not a crime to remain single and (thankfully) it is not a license to enter Heaven. That said, it is God-instituted and indeed, a beautiful thing, something I aspire to one day.
So perhaps it is time to ask yourself some hard-hitting questions as you may be delaying/sabotaging your marriage intentions. Remember, your attitudes and beliefs underpin your behaviors. So whilst Mr/Miss right may come along, your ‘baggage’ means you consciously/unconsciously sabotage it even before it gets a chance. Perhaps you cringe at the thought of sharing your space, bed, giving over your body or even having children. This does not automatically rule out marriage for you. You just have to decide what you really want. In short, be honest with yourself.
Trials and Challenges
I often wonder why Jesus asked the lame man by the pool of Bethesda whether he wanted to get well (John 5: 1-13). What a question to ask. Was it not obvious? Yet, Jesus asked.
This made me reflect on whether some of us, waiting in line for a breakthrough, needed to 1) get clear on what we really wanted 2) be passionate about our intentions/goals and 3) were willing to pay the price. For some of us, the ‘issue’ or challenge has been with us for so long, we perhaps accept it as normal. The result is we fail to pursue it vehemently. We say we want a breakthrough but that’s as far as it goes. For it appears our declarations, and even prayers, were yet to connect with our hearts. Our prayers, if at all said, become lethargic and pathetic. Worst still, there is no evidence of passion or pursuit.
Some of us even fall into the trap presuming the all-knowing God knows what we are going through. So, we don’t raise the issue adequately at the Throne Room. It’s like your broadband not working and you complain to everyone else but your broadband supplier. Duh! Whilst I recognize Gods sovereign power can intervene on our behalf, we have to align our desires with actions.
I remember one time I was getting discouraged about a situation, I felt Father ask me what I wanted? That shocked me because I had been whinging (but NOT praying) about the matter forever. It was Him telling me “I have not because I asked not”. That encounter changed my perspective and relationship with Father. It also was one of the reasons I wrote the book, Healing A Discouraged Heart: Getting Back On Track When Life Lets You Down (978-0-9562606-3-5). The issue was not God but…..me.
Strangely yet unsurprisingly, when I decided to stop kidding myself and made my intentions known to Father (through determination, prayer, faith sprinkled with some crying – the latter is optional 🙂 ), it was as if Heaven woke up. Often times, the results were almost immediately. After seeing this happened a few times, it made me realize that some of us were simply rolling over and playing dead. Our prayers had become merely lip service.
In closing, you may want to reflect on areas of your life you have not been completely honest with yourself. If in doubt, check out your behaviors as they speak louder than words. My suggestion: Get real with yourself and move on with your life!