There was a time in my life when I would lose myself in the person I was dating at the time. Know that I’ve never been the type of girl to “need” a boyfriend and I’ve always been an individual (I thrived on being different actually) but when I was dating someone I would put my joy and hope in that guy.
I never intentionally pulled focus from God to boyfriend but that’s what would happen.
I noticed this in my life when certain life plans that had been made changed and I remember thinking, “Wait, now what do I do?”. I realized that his plans affected me so much that I relied on him instead of Christ to show me what’s next for my life. I came out of this fuzzy little world and realized how much I had missed.
I missed friends because I hadn’t seen them in forever (because my plans always revolved around my man). I missed my church community. I missed small groups. Y’all, when I came out of this little bubble I had created I realized that I knew nothing going on in my friends’ lives (and anything I did know was only highlights of things I had seen on Facebook or heard via a quick text). Um, what?! Not cool, Keri!
I had a revelation of sorts and the Lord showed me that I had not only been putting my hope and joy in my relationship, but I had been putting my identity in that relationship…wow, BIG problem!
Ever have those moments where you think, “Man if I could just tell my younger self what I know now!” Yep, this was one of those moments!
Years and years later, with this knowledge in hand, I get to marry my best friend. Someone better than I could have picked for myself.
Josh and I spoke a lot about expectations when we first started dating. One of the first things that he said that stuck out to me (and was a big fat plus for him!) was that he could not be my savior. He told me “I won’t put you on a pedestal and you shouldn’t put me on one.” This was the moment I thought, “Okay, this guy is perfect!” Cue sappy love music…
Most people like to be put on a pedestal. Most people think their relationship is all about them. News flash ladies, it’s not. Marriage was created to be a picture of Christ and His bride, the church. Marriage and relationships are all about serving. So if you’re one who likes to be on a pedestal go ahead and step down…don’t worry I’ll wait…
In my journey to putting Christ before my man (or anyone else for that matter), I learned that I will always be let down by people. But I will never be let down by my Father. Why? Because we are sinners saved by grace. We will fail. But God never does. Ever.
Putting Christ before all others relieves pressure off of your significant other and off of your relationship. It allows you and your man to love freely knowing that the pressure to be perfect isn’t there.
This doesn’t mean that we all get a free pass to screw up. It just means that when we do fail, we can rest in the comfort that our loves will forgive us and we can forgive them because we know that Christ forgives us!
I still find myself struggling with this from time to time…because, well, I’m human! Sometimes I have to refocus and realign my priorities. Here are some things I remind myself of when this seems to be a struggle for me:
-I can not find spiritual fulfillment in him. He is my spiritual leader but he can not save me. I must have my own personal relationship with Christ to be saved. “No one comes to the Father except through ME (Christ)”…It sure doesn’t say “no one comes to the Father except through your husband, your parents, your pastor…” John 14:6
-I can not find ultimate joy in him…because he WILL let me down (and I will let him down). True joy and security only come from knowing the One who created me.
-I can not find the approval I need in him. Seeking his approval over my Father’s approval will only lead to putting too much unnecessary pressure on him and my relationship with him. We should live on the words of our Savior not those of our significant others.
I know that, as amazing as he is, he will fail as will I. He will show me grace and I will show him grace just as our Father has saved us both by grace.
I need to find my identity in Christ NOT in my man. Living under the illusion that “he completes me” is not only false but will also lead to…you guessed it, disappointment. The one who completes me is the One who created me.
-It is not my job to save or change him. I can pray for him and with him. I can encourage him and love him. But I can not change him. It is the Lord’s place to sanctify him, not me.
When we find ourselves in others we will always be disappointed. When we look to our family or significant others or friends for answers before we look to our Father we are putting false hope in people who can not save us. Your husband is your leader, yes, but he is not your savior.
When we put expectations of a Savior on others we are just asking them to fail us. BUT when we realize that we should rely on the one who is Ultimate, the One who created us and loves us unconditionally and the One who will never fail us, it frees us to love our man in spite of their failures.
When we find our true worth in Him rather than them, we aren’t devastated when our lovely men fall. Because we understand that while they are our spiritual leaders, they are also children of God who fail, and stumble and need just as much grace and forgiveness as we need. When we take the pressure off of them it creates a more loving, open space for them to know that it’s okay if they fail. It’s okay that they aren’t perfect, we aren’t either!
If we as Christian women can continue to put Christ above all else, we are sure to live a life full of deep, unending joy. Will life be easy? No. Will there be trials? Absolutely. But when we are centering the entirety of our lives around Christ we have this deep knowing that it’s going to work out the way He planned.
When we find ourselves in our Father and release the “savior mentality” from our relationships we will see those relationships flourish.