A Change in Focus

During my freshman year of college, God had many things to change inside of me. If you had known me before I arrived at the university, you probably would have rolled your eyes at some of the things I did.

Growing up, I did not like to be wrong, and I would debate just about anything and everything I could. Even if I didn’t really “know” something to be fact, I would still argue it to the death. Real obnoxious.

This problem also caused me to be hostile toward those who pointed out flaws in me. Oh, I might not have verbally lashed out at those who critiqued me, but I certainly had a bitterness toward them in my heart. I hated it when people saw flaws in me, because it meant that my “got-it-all-together” facade was worn down in some area.

It was during my freshman year that God began to reveal himself to me. By using several of the most godly people I’ve ever met, He pulled on my heart and continued to mold a beautiful work inside of me. It was through these relationships that I truly saw God’s love.

As I began to see Him more clearly, my heart yearned more and more passionately for Him. I didn’t need to be right all the time anymore. I realized that the identity I created and desperately tried to hold on to was utterly futile and unfulfilling.

The more that I began to connect with God’s character, the more I began to see that I, by myself, was worth nothing. I had nothing to protect, nothing to cling to. I had nothing to offer.

But the beauty of it is that God is worth everything. And it is because of what He decided to do in me that I now have infinite worth in Him.

This changed everything. I no longer had to cling to this facade of perfection that had given me a false sense of worth. I began to understand the beauty of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9.

‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

What a beautiful truth that is! When we focus on God we are able to have humility that will transform everything about the way we live.

For me, I began to have the mindset that I was not perfect and always had things in my life that could be changed. When people came to me, hurt with something I had done, I would tell myself: “It doesn’t matter if I am right or wrong. What matters is I hurt them.” This change of not needing to be right is one of the most important lessons I have ever learned. And it has brought on so much growth.

As we talk about singleness and relationships, a big theme I see is one of blaming the “other person.” “It’s women’s fault” or “It’s men’s fault” seem to be thrown around a lot.

I agree with both sides. It is our fault, both men and women. We are all sinners. We all have struggles. Based on this, I feel like it is safe to say that most dating or marriage relationships fail because of the problems of both sides. We can argue the question of whether the girl or the guy holds more of the blame until we are blue in the face, but I believe that it is a pointless argument.

Frankly, we all have problems. I do and you do. Men have their problems, and women have theirs as well. Both have equal blame. Both have problems that affect others in negative ways. We are all interconnected inside this sinful world.

Think upon the relationships where there is a downward spiral in which the woman is withholding respect and the man is withholding love (yes, I know that this is a generalization). We could spend our time figuring out who was the one to start the problem. But where would that get us? Both people are failing to truly love the other as Christ loves them. Wouldn’t it be more beautiful for one person to stop waiting for the other to change and to take the first step toward healing? After all, Christ loved us despite our sin (Romans 5:8). If He had waited for us to be worthy, He would have been waiting for a looong, looong time.

So maybe we have lost our focus. Just maybe we have stared too long at the “other person’s” problems and forgotten our own.

Or maybe we have forgotten why we are here. Christ has called us to follow after Him. Listen to the words of our God as His patient love for us is declared in Psalms 103:8-14.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,

    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

He will not constantly accuse us,

    nor remain angry forever.

He does not punish us for all our sins;

    he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him

    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

He has removed our sins as far from us

    as the east is from the west.

The Lord is like a father to his children,

    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

For he knows how weak we are;

    he remembers we are only dust.

Sometimes it is good to go “back to the basics” and be reminded of these truths. Look how loving and compassionate our God is! He cares about us so very much. He is extremely forgiving, and He does not punish us for every bad thing we do. This should make our hearts jump with joy!

Maybe, instead of focusing on all of the problems (which is extremely easy to do), we could take a break and focus simply on our Creator. If we truly see Him, then our hearts will have no other natural response than to be changed. Our pride and our need to be right will be replaced with the humility of God (Philippians 2:1-11).

That is how marriages will be saved. Not pointing out the often truthful flaws of each other, but by every person falling head over heels in love with our Lord and allowing Him to repair our own problems. All we can do for others is love them like Christ loves us, and pray passionately and hopefully for them. After all, that’s real love!

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