Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Your best life now"???

Today's rant from yours truly


The other day I opened up an e-mail newsletter from a woman speaker who I have heard at several conferences and shared the platform with once. The devotional she sent out was about attaining 'your best life now'. Nothing wrong with that...so far. But as I began to get into the devotional I got really alarmed, especially realizing that a whole lot of Christian women were reading it who might not be as discerning as some. All I could picture in my mind were the broken pieces their pastors were going to have to pick up...

The devo/article talked about reaching your destiny, going after all that God has for you -- things I have preached many times and most of my colleagues have too. The difference was, this devo went on to talk about courage and she said...

"Do you have the courage to walk away from your marriage? Are you unsatisfied? Perhaps you are comfortable and you have fear of what will happen if you leave...but are you willing to take a risk, step out in faith and leave your comfortable surroundings to go after all that God has for you?"

She gave no disclaimer about adultery or abuse. (Let me be clear that if someone is being abused, I don't think they should stay. And if their spouse is cheating, the Bible also clearly says they have the option to leave.) However this article said nothing about that! She simply spoke of receiving all God has for you, not settling for second best, and stepping out in faith to "go for it". She spoke of being in a dissatisfying marriage and...having the courage to let go. A lot of women would take that as a license to leave, especially if they are baby Christians or not mature enough in the faith, or if they are simply looking for an excuse/validation to get out.

I was alarmed.

How many Christian women might read that and think it's okay to just leave if you aren't happy? How many of us would have just taken off and left at any point in our marriages that weren't all wine and roses (okay, many of us don't drink wine but that's beside the point...) :-)

If I wasn't a believer with a strong commitment to Biblical principles, I would have honestly left Larry many times. I have made no secret of that. Do I love him? Yes, absolutely. But we have definitely had our ups and downs and like any normal married couple there have been seasons that have been difficult. He has never cheated on me nor beaten or abused me. However there are times that if the Bible didn't tell me not to leave, I would have simply because he...

said things that really hurt my feelings...

didn't consider my needs or meet them...

or those of you who have been married a while, just fill in the blank here _____________________.

God knows there are plenty of things we can all fill in the blank with in our marriages. Every day is occasion for offenses. The Bible says it's impossible that offenses won't come! Marriage is an everyday exercise in getting beyond our selfishness.

As those of you gals who have been married more than five minutes know, marriage can be really, really hard even if you love the daylights out of each other.

Yesterday when Dustin and I were at lunch alone, he asked me about a couple we know who are getting divorced. He said, "why Mom? It makes no sense." Even in his 17 year old mind he can see that this couple is making a huge mistake. I said, "you are right, Dust. They are just dealing with the same stuff every married couple does, not really any more or any less..." (I happen to know the intimate details of why they are getting divorced, so I speak from an informed view on this particular case. There is no adultery and no abuse. It is simply an "I'm unhappy and not fulfilled and he/she hurt my feelings and I don't want to forgive" excuse.)

The last thing Christian women need is to be getting a "your best life now" devo from a woman who tells them to have the courage to leave their marriage. The same person has sent me info wanting to come speak at my church.

Whenever I run across situations like this I think, "what is my responsibility?" Should I write the person a letter and tell them how I feel about what they are teaching? Should I speak up, or do I not have that right because we are not in relationship? This speaker and I are not friends. We are not enemies either...I'm just saying that we are not really in relationship. We spoke at the same conference years ago, and on the platform as we were being seated we shook hands and were introduced. That is the extent of our relationship. So I don't feel that I have a forum to call or write her and say, "you're off base." But I do have concern because she's speaking in a lot of churches, and some of my friends might even book her, unknowingly.

So, what to do? what to do? I am certainly not out to destroy anyone's ministry, but I do have concern about false or dangerous teaching.

I am so glad that when Larry was getting on my last nerve, I didn't leave him for "my best life now". Because if I would have left then for "my best life now" (which truly wouldn't have been...) I wouldn't be experiencing MY BEST LIFE NOW IN 2007.

Is "your best life now" joint custody and visits on weekends? Is "your best life now" dealing with stepdads and stepmoms and all the issues that ensue with somebody helping you raise your kids that isn't their "real dad or mom"? (one of the biggest issues my husband and I have to counsel on are blended family issues -- they are so sticky...) Is "your best life now" dealing with child support? Does "your best life now" contain alimony? Does "your best life now" include being on the poverty level, which 70% of all women who leave their marriages live on particularly in the first few years after divorce? Does your best life now include being a single Mom and working two jobs? Does your best life now include traipsing a dozen men who are possible future mates through your kids lives while you're trying to find your best new life now? Does "your best life now" include having your kids ask you a zillion times why you left, through tears streaming down their face? (I know what this is like personally...I am a child of divorce who asked that question for 8 years until I finally got an answer...) Does this sound like YOUR BEST LIFE NOW? I don't think so. In fact it sounds like a pretty crappy life to me.

I'm really glad I didn't leave Larry for "my best life now" back when I felt like I wasn't the most fulfilled woman in the world. The truth is, you have to push beyond the times of feeling nothing, to get to something. The truth is, you have to keep going when you don't feel anything. The truth is, you have to keep acting on the facts (of God's Word) to feel the feelings again. The truth is, sometimes your marriage will not be 50/50. Sometimes it will be 80/20, sometimes 70/30, sometimes 0/100 for crying out loud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That doesn't mean you hang it up. That means you PRESS IN and believe God for a change, even if it doesn't come right away. (Again, this is except in cases of adultery or abuse.)

Should you "stay for the children"? Unless you are being cheated on or beated, ABSOLUTELY. Think of somebody besides yourself for once. You don't want your kids being fatherless or raised by somebody else just because you are feeling a bit unsatisfied. So you aren't feeling like a queen. Wake up. God never said you would feel like a queen everyday. My husband treats me like a queen most of the time now, after 20 years of marriage, but there are still a few days I don't feel like a queen and I feel like giving up, or hitting somebody. But I don't. Why? Simple, because I happen to believe in what the Bible says. I'm a believing believer. That means I don't just quit, hit, or give up because I'm feeling a little empty inside. It's not "all about me". Yes, I know plenty of women are even buying t-shirts today that quip, "it's all about me". Well, that's evident in many cases. They didn't need a t-shirt to advertise that.

WHAT IN THE HECK IS A WOMAN EVANGELIST/SPEAKER DOING TELLING WOMEN TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO LEAVE FOR THEIR BEST LIFE NOW?! This is all I want to know. And how long should pastors like me put up with it and just "pray about it" or "let God take care of it"?

I'll get off my rant...for now. Just be careful before going after "your best life now". What you may get may be your worst life, ever.

3 comments:

Pastor Lisa said...

PD that is scary. If you ever have the chance to speak with her, I would ask. It could be a huge oversight on her part or she could believe the madness. Maybe you could ask her for a clarifying statement and engage her from there. At least then you would know for certain where she stands and respond accordingly. Find out if she really meant what she said.

Deborah said...

I agree with PL, Deanna I have posted something on my blog in response to what you have written. its like open heart surgery for me, if you have a chance go read it I would love to hear your comment on it. love always me

pj said...

Wow, PD, I'm equally blown away. It makes me ask what is going on in her own life that she would feel this is a good idea to publish.

Your comments were right on...no ranting involved!