Friday, 23 February 2018

forgiveness, resentment and setting love limits

i've recently just filmed a video all about how i have been resenting my husband for the last 5 years. in one small way, that turned into this giant monster of resentment that turned me bitter towards him and towards marriage in some ways too.

it's a very open video (i cry twice) and it's just something that's been so close to my heart lately. so i wanted to write about it more here, because i just feel it's pretty important...

grace upon grace upon grace

the main thing that i've been reminded of several times this week is that God loves me in a way that is endlessly patient, unconditionally loving and outrageously gracious. whenever i mess up, which is often of course, i am forgiven, no matter what. this is the same grace, love and patience that i should be demonstrating to my husband.

but i haven't.

since we got married my family have always had an issue with how many hours he works, and therefore how little time he got to spend with me and look after me. and their issue was also my issue. it seems that the way i was brought up to think was really strong when it came to work ethic, and that i was raised to believe in the importance of time as a love language. that family time and quality time with family members was the most important way of showing love (thanks "5 love languages" book for helping me to realise this one.

so, when my husband consistently, for our whole marriage, has come home at 7:30-8pm you can see that i might think he didn't love me enough, or didn't love me in the right way. and it became the thing we argued about the most because i didn't understand why he wanted to stay at work and not see me (and since we had our boy, us). and we argued because i kept being told by other people that i respect that such a work ethic isn't normal. we argued because i felt lonely. we argued because i felt less important than his job. that i felt that i wasn't a priority.

now, let's rewind to last monday. i watched 'The Shack' - did you ever see it? (it's brilliant, so you should!) well, i was reminded of this ridiculous love from God, and how i haven't been treating my husband this way. that i say, "i'll love you if you come home at 6:30pm". that i set limits on how i choose to love him.

instead, on Monday, i chose to look at it the way God would see it. that he would graciously see his heart in wanting to work for the family to build a future, that he would see how much he wants to do right in his workplace and never leave a job undone or inperfect. that he would say 'thank you' on a Friday when he comes in exhausted after a 60 hour work week, instead of feeling hard done by because he's not been around to help with childcare.

so, this week i tried to see it through His eyes. so when the husband came in through the door, i asked him how i could help, i didn't berate him for the time it was, and i showed sympathy and understanding without mentioning how hard i'd found things in the day. i tried not to get frustrated that sometimes he forgets to ask how things are with me or doesn't appear to listen, and remember that he's really mentally drained from his day.

it's still not easy. but my heart feels SO much lighter than it did last week. and i will keep praying that i continue to see things in the same way. i'm sure i'll slip up again, multiple times, but God will remind me and there will be sufficient grace on his end too.

why forgiveness is the answer

the other thing that has been bugging me lately is just the amount of unforgiveness i see around me. it upsets me hugely to see people shut people out, and i reject the culture that says if someone consistently annoys you that you should cut them out of your life. i just think those annoying people are usually the people that need to be shown the most love! i actually see this SO much in churches, which makes me feel really ashamed.

we don't know anyone's whole history, how they grew up and how their parents and culture taught them to think. their background is not their fault. it takes a long time to change things that are hard-wired in the brain, and we cannot expect people to think the same way as us. and so we should have patience. and understanding for wherever people are at on their path.

by showing people love, patience and grace, unconditionally, then we can begin to change the world. i honestly believe that.

our culture at the moment is turned so inwards - in some ways, i believe in all the "self" messages that are being taught at the moment. actually 'self care' is important, because a little time to ourselves is positive, and we should take time to enjoy things we love. but i think the more time you spend looking outwards instead of inwards will give you better mental health. and fundamentally we are in a bit of a mental health crisis, aren't we?

so let's stop self-reflecting, start looking upwards and outwards. take time to step in other peoples shoes. take time to forgive the smallest and the biggest hurts.

thank you for reading this whole post - it's rather a diversion to my normal type of post, but i just wanted to share my journey, in case it can help anyone else feel a little lighter.

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