Thursday, July 2, 2009

My "Revolutionary Road", Part II

I promised you a follow-up to Part I, and I don't want to split this one up, so please hang in there with me. Here goes...

I feel like this is difficult to write, partly because I am still smack-dab in the middle of it, still going through whatever this trial is. I would probably not be writing this, but I feel that God wants me to share some of the discoveries I have been making through His Spirit. I personally believe that God is preparing me spiritually for whatever it is I am supposed to do out here in LA, and is taking my faith to a new level. Right now, though, it just feels like I don't have much faith. Oh, I believe in Him, I love Him, but I have been wrestling with Him. I feel like I don't trust enough, like I don't love enough, like I have too many desires and distractions, and am having trouble putting Him first.

You know, I never understood until recently that whole story about Jacob wrestling with God. I always thought that sounded just wrong of Jacob. Who was he to wrestle with God? Why would God enter into such a thing with a mere man? I never liked the story much. But now I understand, I think.

Did you know this life is not about our happiness? I think I must have. Suddenly, however, seemingly out of the blue, it's a concept I'm having trouble with. Take "true love", for example. It's a concept we're all raised with, and I have come to think lately that subconsciously it has been a notion which has ruled many of my dreams and hopes over the years. That idea of one day finding that happiness which we all seek, which will be fulfilled in the perfect mate.

That's what Kate Winslet's character must have hoped for in the movie "Revolutionary Road", or she would not have married Leo DiCaprio's Frank Wheeler. But does it ever live up to our expectations? I hear once in a while about a marriage which is still full of passion many years later, or ones that get better over time, but still these are not the relationships we read about in the books. I once heard a line on one of my favorite TV shows of all time, "Northern Exposure" that I could not forget. RuthAnne, the store owner, is proposed to by a traveling salesman, and she declines, telling him that he is a romantic, and romantics are always disappointed with marriage. That stuck with me, and scared me a little.

The "Twilight" books are actually what acted as catalyst to this recent worry of mine. I say worry because I should be trusting it to God, but I mostly just worry obsessively over it. They portray such an amazing love story, and there are some really nice elements to the story. However, is it healthy to get drawn into such a romantic story? Does the dream for such a relationship become an idol when we make it so important? I understand all of the things I think I should- that God is who we are ultimately longing for when we long for that, that our happily ever after will be in Heaven with Him, that I need Him and nothing else.

But that does not keep me from wanting other things, or thinking sometimes that I am kind of sad that there is no marriage in Heaven like there is on earth. Of course, I don't think God says there will be no romantic love, but Jesus says there is no marriage (forgive the paraphrase). So I try to trust more, and only end up falling short in my thoughts. Thankfully, a friend reminded me yesterday in a wonderful piece of writing, that the thoughts are not always in sync with what the Spirit knows to be true, and that our inner selves are one with Christ no matter what our thoughts are doing. Right about now, though, I sure wish my thoughts would straighten up.

It all comes down to that whole thing that it is not about me. I started reading "The Purpose Driven Life", which my mother gave my years ago and I had not read yet. I was feeling unhappy and homesick and confused here in LA, even though God has provided over and beyond what I could have hoped for already. I was thinking I would be happier somewhere else, even though I have wanted to be in a position to pursue my dreams for so long. I was confused and needed direction. The first line of the first chapter says, "It's not about you."

Wow- really? I have become so self-involved over the last few years that I must have forgotten what I already knew. I went through so much with my divorce and tried to be so faithful to my marriage and do what was right, I think I came out with this idea that the rest of my life would be about me being happy. And that is not it at all! I believe God wants us to be happy, but His purpose for us is first, and ultimately, we are here to serve His purpose and Kingdom. Some of His beloved, faithful, highly-used servants and prophets suffered horrible earthly ends. Wasn't Isaiah sawed in half? The problem is when you are self-involved and have long-held notions and dreams about what you want that you think will make you happy, it is really tough to let go of those.

So there you go. I am struggling daily to surrender these dreams and hopes, even if that is ultimately what He wants for me. That is one reason I was so fascinated by "Revolutionary Road", because that is what most of us just don't get. We expect to be happy because that is what we were designed for- life with God. But we don't live in the world we were designed for. My reward is in Heaven, not here. And it is really hard to accept this and I constantly fail. I am a romantic and can't help but hope for these things. I can't help myself at all. I just hope that eventually, I will have such a strong love for Him and trust in Him that the rest just follows. I thought I did, but it's amazing what the Spirit will expose that we don't even have a clue is lurking underneath.

Recently my roommate and I were talking about the Bible, which is pretty cool considering she told me in clear terms before I moved here that she is not religious and does not like to talk about religion. Somehow we got on the subject of Abraham, and she wanted to know why God would make him wait all that time for what was promised to him. I think I started to tell her about learning to trust Him, which is true, I believe. But then it occurred to me. Maybe God wanted Abraham to realize that what he wanted so bad, to have a son, just was not as important as he thought it was. Not as important as serving His purpose and loving Him. It turns out, for Abraham, the two went hand in hand, but they may not always. Even Jesus prayed to have His cup taken from Him, but God's purpose was more important to Him than anything, so we can all be thankful for that fact!

I know some of you out there are romance writers, and please don't think I'm dissing on romance. I am a romantic dreamer of the most extreme kind, I think, which is one of the reasons this is a hard lesson to learn. But it's also a lesson that will hopefully help me to store up my treasures in Heaven, as Jesus commanded, and help me keep perspective out here in this place where what is really important is perhaps harder to see than it is anywhere else on earth. If I can ever come out on the other side of this trial, that is. Maybe you can send some prayers my way if you are reading this. I also may post my friend's article about the inner and outer consciousness, and oneness with Christ. It's great! Thanks for your patience with the long post! And one more thing- I am really thankful now that God is willing to wrestle with us and doesn't just quit on us!


  1. I really think this is a struggle that we all go through to some degree. The bad thing is when people don't recognize it for what it is--they continue to think that the ultimate goal of life is to be happy with their earthly circumstances. Or that marriage and romance will make them giddy like it does in the movies. Or the right job or house or whatever will do the trick. So when they face the reality of plain old life, they figure something's wrong with that mate or that house or that job, and if they just change the circumstance, then they'll be happy again. At least if we start with the premise that that's a false notion, we know what to work on.

  2. Perhaps the trick is to be "in" God instead of "about" God. I relate this to the difference to being "in" love as opposed to wondering about, talking about, reading about, looking for, hoping for, wishing for and about. None of the "abouts" or "fors" hold a candle to the brilliance of "in".

    I believe we can be "in" God and not speak of religion, just as it is obvious we are "in" love from our attitudes and actions. Being "in" is not something we work at, it simply "is".

    With Love,
    Let go and let God..........

  3. Kristi, do you remember what Jacob said at the end of wrestling with God all night? He said, "I will not let go until you bless me." That encourages me, because to me it says that we have to be determined to hold on to God, and he WILL bless us if we do! Isn't that a great concept? At times in my life when I was hurting, I've said that to God, almost like a mantra. "I will not let go until you bless me." God doesn't mind our wrestling. At times in our lives, it's the healthy thing to do.

    Kristi, it sounds like you're going through culture shock. At first you have the "honeymoon" stage where you feel almost euphoric about the new place and its differences from the place you're used to. But then depression comes in and everything seems SO different and you wonder if you should just go home. Culture shock is a very real thing. I learned about it when I was in training to be a missionary, and then I experienced it in Ukraine.

    Psalm 84:11 "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless."