In today's society, it is not enough to have a calling. The call must come equipped with one of two options. Either you are called and have the skill set, or you are called and there are people around you who have the skill set you need and a desire to help you. If you have both, then you just may qualify for Ministry Hall of Fame. There are many of us in the Body of Christ who have a desire to do something to help the hurting and lost. Yet, most of us are not in the race or barely running at all because of what we believe it costs to participate. We have great ideas for ministry, and yet most of us find it difficult to get in a lane and run with great expectation. What's causing the spiritual athletes to fall by the way side or not even sign up for the race?
We would like to give a special thank you to one of our fr-amily members, Mrs. Linda Strickland, for taking a moment to share her words of encouragement in her guest blog for us today. After more than 40 years of marriage, you can imagine the amount of wisdom she has to share on the topic. We love listening to her stories filled with nuggets of wisdom, and we hope that you will as well.
There is a wonderful story about the great concert pianist Paderewski. One evening a mother took her young son (who had just begun piano lessons) to hear this master play. The stage was set simply, with a spotlight highlighting the beautiful grand piano and bench. The mother and her young son found their seats and were anxiously waiting for the concert to begin. As they waited, the mother became engaged in conversation with the person seated next to her and did not realize that her son had gotten out of his seat. Just as she noticed his absence, “chopsticks” filled the air of the great hall.
Last week I discussed the middle. Well, what is the middle? For me, the middle is everything that most successful people forget to tell us. I want to know. How did you complete your online orders with a teething toddler? How were you able to keep appointments with every kid needing to go to some after-school program every afternoon in different locations, of course. Never mind that no one wanted to participate in anything until you started your business. How many dinners did you prepare late, and I mean really late because you were busy being great, for once, in the public eye? Raise your hand if you typed your business plan in the sanctity of your en-suite because it was the only quiet place you could find? Who forgot to do laundry... for a few weeks... more than once? Most importantly, how did you survive the conflict it brought into your marriage?
I don’t know about you, but I am a part of several business groups via social media. In my attempts to scale down my commitments and schedule, I began to take a serious look at the many groups that I had been a part of. Needless to say, some were voluntary while the majority were requests from friends that resulted in memberships. I’m sure someone can already relate. As I was going through the groups, I began to look at their descriptions and admins. Some of the groups were pretty interesting and their admins were rock stars! Their posts and descriptions were so energetic and motivating. And then it would happen. That one post. The couple/family photo.
Those of you who are familiar with our ministry know that Fish and I (Bird) are very supportive of the being intentional in your relationships with others. It doesn't matter if you are friends, dating, or married. Being purposeful and deliberate with your interactions can really take relationships to the next level generating more benefits for all parties involved. Well, for married folks it can be a bit easier. Or not. If you find yourself in the or not category, here is a suggestion. Go home.
My husband and I love marriage. In fact, we cannot even explain how much we enjoy learning and teaching the various topics that we explore within this subject. However, it seems that the more teaching and counseling we do, the more we meet people who are disinclined to honor what we refer to as the first relationship. In the past year we noticed a reoccurring theme with the couples we came in contact with and decided to ask a very important question. What exactly is a marriage covenant to you? The expressions and answers were surprising. After some chatting and pillow talk, we decided this would be our next training course. And here's why.
While we reviewed the Marriage Fruit series, a thought struck me. The different parts of the fruit must all be present in us to ensure that the entire fruit is properly displayed and manifested. I immediately got an image of a giant fruit salad, with all the different types of fruit mixed in, each flavor complimenting the other fruits. As I saw this in my mind I was struck by a thought. What makes the perfect fruit salad? For some people it is an abundance of strawberries, for others, there must be a strong citrus component. Some people are happy to leave bananas in a strictly minority role, while others believe that without apples, the entire salad is worthless. In fact, it is extremely difficult to get a group of people to agree about what makes a good fruit salad.
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28).
This is one that is always good to “digest” more than once. Self-control is the art of putting what’s best ABOVE what we want. This can be hard in marriage. Especially, when we come from single or previously married lifestyles of repeatedly acting on those impulses and desires or customarily receiving them. It has been my experience that most of us are aware, from the gate, that this behavior is selfish and destructive to our attitudes and environments. Environment, meaning current physical location. That can be home, work, hanging with friends, visiting relatives, etc. We want what we want when we want it! The mindset is, “No one will remain calm or comfortable as long as I am not!” Hey friend! Wherever we are when allowing this behavior to take us over, we cause damage. That is the blunt truth of it all, no matter how much we justify the behavior. Lack of self-control is not appealing to anyone. It could contaminate what is left of your life.
A COMBINED VIEW
You may wonder why we picked the banana as a visual for this particular characteristic. Simply put, it is a very unassuming yet calming fruit with many benefits hiding within it, like humility. And since we felt that there was no one way to view this gentleness, we decided to discuss at least two important perspectives to help demonstrate its practicality in marriage. So, take a quick break to enjoy this fruit.
Often when we hear the word “faithfulness” in marriage, we immediately default to the meaning of being exclusive in our sexual relationships. Being faithful simply means he or she will not cheat by having sexual encounters with anyone other than their spouse. This is true. On the other hand, I learned that this mindset goes beyond physical sex. In fact, it begins before the altar. I avoided marriage for years because I was unsure of the faithfulness of my partner, and at times myself.
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Just a little birdy and fish about the Father's business. Helping to better the world one blog at a time.