This message has been stirring in my heart for so stinking long... but recently came boiling over the surface in the past week as some heartbreaking news has flooded our church family, leaving a lot of us asking..."Where do we go from here? What can we do differently? How can we keep 'the body' healthier?"
This is something I'm nervous to share my heart on, to write about, because I KNOW it reaches to a place a lot of us (my own hand is raised here!) don't want to confront or address...let alone take a heart check in! But friend... it is worth sharing. If it helps even 1 person get out of this 'death trap' it is worth the discomfort of sharing about!
Do you know what destroys more relationships than anything else I can possibly think of? I bet it'd surprise most to hear that it's not affairs, or infidelity, it's not addictions to alcohol, drugs, or pornography, not poor choices with time management, it's not abuse, or words that cut as deep as bone, (all though I believe every last one of those things stem directly from this one thing) - it's COMPLACENCY!
The enemy does an amazing job at disguising that word-complacency- to look like something else in each of of our own lives. To distract us to think the REAL problem is something other than complacency, but when we really strip it down to the where some of these incredibly hurtful sin's really started...did it start from the seed of complacency? I certainly think so! When you become passive in making the RIGHT choice, when the enemy can deceive us into thinking that everyone naturally grows complacent over time in different area's of our lives, and that it really isn't all that damaging or harmful, then he's ALREADY got a strong hold into your heart to destroy whatever lives there! You just gave him the key to rot your heart from the inside out. And one day...if you don't ACTIVELY CHOOSE to fight complacency, you might wake up to someone you don't even recognize in the mirror, who's sin has had a ripple effect on an entire group of people around you!
So what can we do to combat complacency so it doesn't ruin relationships?
FIRST and foremost...the enemy is going to go for the 'kill shot' of what matters most. Your faith! If he can eliminate your relationship with God, he has won the war! So I urge you to ask yourself honestly... if your relationship with God has been a struggle, hasn't felt present in your life, hasn't felt strong, or connected... are you intentionally PURSUING Him? Because He is pursuing us! He's always waiting for the chance to be with us!
Yes, there are dry seasons in faith where you're doing it all, and still, the water feels as though it's run empty. I believe those seasons are intentional, with a purpose from God to grow us in area's were not always aware of. But more often than not the dry season comes from us intentionally walking into it! Usually in my own life when I feel He is the most distant, it comes down to one thing... it's because I'M being distant! I'M not making time. I'M not pursuing.
Show up faithfully for God, every single day! Get alone with him, no matter what that looks like for your schedule because I'm telling you it is NOT enough to show up on Sunday for church, or even Tuesday for a bible study, or that coffee date with your friends from church on Thursday. Those are all GREAT things! We're meant to live in community with other believer's. BUT, and a BIG old BUT here, when the heartaches, the trials, and inevitable storms of this life come, and they will, that surface level faith won't sustain us!! It won't anchor you to the ground when the winds pick up, and destroy and devastate everything in it's path. When our complacency keeps up from getting alone with God...sin finds it's way into our hearts. And that is a very dangerous place to be, thinking your safe, while the enemy eats away at your core!
SECONDLY- If you are married, YOU NEED TO BE SHOWING UP FOR YOUR SPOUSE! Just like you have to be intentional about your relationship with Christ, you need to be intentional about your marriage. Of all the things that devastate, and ruin marriages, I believe with every fiber of my being that in some form or another, they all come back somehow to complacency. Stop letting complacency rot your marriage. If your spouse is showing up for you, you best be showing up for them! This goes for men AND women! BOTH of us! SHOW UP! YES, it's hard work but that's what you signed up for! Isn't working hard to have a GREAT marriage so much more rewarding than sitting stagnant in a hurting marriage where no one is trying?
Marriage is a two way street! She can't do it without YOU! And HE can't do it without YOU either! But what I DO know is that it's really really difficult to be unfilled in your marriage when you're both focusing on actively showing up for one another, pursuing one another with Godly intention and purpose, and putting each other's needs first. Sure, your marriage still has flaws and imperfections, it will always have blemishes just like anyone else's does BUT that isn't what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about being intentional about your marriage, about the time you have with your spouse, about putting them first, about sacrifice, about compromise, about selfless giving, and most importantly in marriage, forgiveness! AND OFTEN! Because Lord have mercy....He knew any married human being was going to need buckets full of it! Start road blocking the enemy who wants to keep you distant from one another. Be the united team that God created your marriage to be! When we do that, we are more fulfilled, and our marriage literally shapes the world because our families thrive with a Godly marriage at the center of it.
THIRD- Intentional Parenting, with your childs heart at stake. Because... let's face the facts, it absolutely is! Your child is either going to be a light in this world, or they are going to help spread the darkness. Knowingly or not. Love or hate. Kindness or hurt. Words or life, or words of death. I don't mean for that to sound so dramatic, but truth be told, that is what we're facing here. Life can be exhausting, don't we all know it?!? It's so much EASIER to go into "auto pilot" and never dive into deep conversations with your kids, to assume their hearts are doing well, it's EASIER to stick them in front of a t.v. or tablet than to take them for a walk where you can talk and have a meaningful conversation, or have a special outing where you can create a bond and memories together that shape and mold their hearts. Please be brave enough to choose what is hard! Healthy children need engaged parents. Parents who no matter what they have going on, make the time for their children. If a child feels you have no time to give for the small things, chances are they are going to assume you don't have the time or energy for the big things either, and they will look elsewhere for help. And the places they go looking for help, may bring anything but.
Lastly- MEN, RISE UP! Some might think because I'm a women, I have no place saying this, but I'm clearly not one of those people. I am a women, I am also a wife and a mother. I'm also a friend to many other wife's and mothers, so my heart can't NOT say it!
Men-I cannot fully understand as a woman, the role God gave you to fill, because I'm not the one walking it out but what I do know, is that the enemy KNOWS if he can take out the head of the household, everything else will come crashing down! The wife, the children, the core of all families.
The heart of a man has to be SO strong to battle all the pressure's of the world that seem to weigh so heavily on your shoulders, but what I want to encourage you to remember... is GOD would not have made you the head, if he hadn't created you EQUIPPED for the calling! HE IS YOUR STRENGTH!
Never before have my eyes been opened to how easily the enemy is taking out men. With one swipe of a finger on a cell phone screen, or one click on a computer mouse, and lives are destroyed. Consequences that change so much for so many. And when that happens...it is devastating to his wife, his children, his family, co-workers, and friends. When this happens over and over again women and children grow to expect to see men fail. Hope and trust is lost. And your fellow man accepts YOUR behavior as a standard to which is acceptable for his own. RISE UP! More than ever, as the world grows darker, when we call good-evil, and evil-good, we need men of integrity and honor to rise up and lead the way for others! MEN, NOW IS THE TIME TO BLAZE THE TRAIL as an example for a standard to which brings LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF CONTROL to every young boy who will become a husband and a daddy long after you! And in turn, shaping the world we live in.
This blog was called, "Stripped Down To Real" because I believe in the power of sharing REAL stories, that impact people. Men AND women... I want to share my heart...that anyone reading this will not to be discouraged that a story with bumps in the road or sections of the highway closed down for construction, does not mean your story has lost all value! Sometimes a little construction as difficult as it is to deal with, is necessary to restore the condition of what was originally in it's place. Do some construction on your heart today, what needs restoration? What needs forgiveness? What area's of your life have you fallen into complacency? Be brave enough to pick up the sledge hammer, and get to work on restoring! Right now! Don't wait! You don't have the luxury to wait! TAKE MASSIVE ACTION right now! Before it's too late.