Caution: The following post contains Spiritual elements and may implore conscience thinking about God:
So, I recently applied for a new job. While some might ask, “Don’t you have a job, Jason?” Sure. It’s just that sometimes you get to the point where you want more. Whether that be money to make your situation better, or just a different opportunity all together, sometimes you just want more. I mean you need to know what’s out there, right. So to make a long story short, after weeks of interviewing with a particular company I received an email basically saying thanks for interviewing with us, but we’ve decided to move on with a different candidate. You know when I got the news, it wasn’t a huge deal, because again, I already have a job, but it was more of a disappointment. I had put so much in to interviewing and putting on my suit and tie Sunday best. Making sure I was clean from top to bottom…Fresh to def, blah, blah, blah….
With all that said, I just knew I was getting the job, or at least an offer I could scoff at and turn down (so much humility over here). At the very least, get into some type of bidding war with my current job, and ultimately stay with my current place of employment because they valued me so much, they couldn’t allow another company and get what they already had. (Wow that was a lot of thinking, right!) So when my disappointment came, it’s like I just didn’t know how to handle it. I’ve been sulking over the fact that they didn’t call the last couple of days. If they didn’t know better, people would have thought my whole world had ended.
Then this morning I saw a verse on Facebook posted by a friend (thanks Julie). The verse was Romans 15:13, as it reads: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
After reading the verse I realized something. After 36 years, twenty-two of which I’ve been saved, I still find it hard to trust God. At least with everything. Oh, I’ll trust him with the little stuff, like making a pot of spaghetti and trust that it will turn out good. I’ll even trust Him with my taxes in hopes that I did them right. I’ll go as far as to say that I trust Him to not have the police pull me over when I go through the HOV lane without 3 people in my car. I just don’t know if I can trust Him with (what I believe to be) the hard stuff. I don’t know if He’s gonna be there for me when I need a new job, or more money, nor when I need to fix something in my marriage or family relationships. That’s too hard for me. I can’t do that. I’m just keeping 100 here (I guess that means I’m not the Christian I thought I was).
Often times we pray about things, and say things to God, at the same time asking His will to be done. We go out telling others how much we trust in Him and how we’re gonna wait on Him because we’re so blessed and highly favored. We quote scriptures, saying my God shall supply all my needs…and then when He doesn’t bless us the way we want, we get mad. We act a fool when we don’t get our way. So Yeah, that was me alright. I was mad. After all, I had seen others around being blessed. People who I felt I knew didn’t love God the way I do. People whom I can’t say ever pray, getting blessed. All I know is I pray, I teach Bible Study, I feed the homeless on Thanksgiving, give to United Way, etc. Seeing that, I thought to myself, well if they got blessed like that, I need to open up my hands, or get my swim trunks on because was about to be blessed like Scrooge McDuck swimming in a money bin (DuckTales…WooHoo!!!). It was gonna hit me like a $380 million dollar lottery check. But again, I asked for His will to be done…Realizing, I’m not rich, it didn’t happen. Everything is still the same…at least for now. No new job. No 20K raise. No six figures. That hurts, I can’t even lie. Such a hard lesson to learn
Through all of that, I did actually learn a lesson. Maybe a lesson I wasn’t ready to learn at the time, but can share it now. The lesson is…that best blessings aren’t always visible to the human eye. They also don’t always come when we see fit. Some of us, ‘super-saints’ are out there saying that we will wait on God, but then we get embarrassed when the blessings we expected don’t arrive. Our disappointment basically speaks to the fact that we don’t or still have trouble trusting God. I mean, do I believe in God, sure. Do I trust Him? I think I do. Do I trust that He always knows best? Well…that might be going a little far. If can’t trust the people I can see, how am I gonna trust someone I’ve never seen? That’s such a real question. One that most of us Christians will never admit to asking. After all, the hardest thing God has ever done is create the whole universe, right? We know that’s well that’s within His range. I mean my life and everything it entails…well, that’s a different story. Look here…we’re talking about what’s most precious to me. He wouldn’t know anything about that, would He?
The one thing I do know about God, is that our timing means absolutely nothing to Him. I also know that there’s a difference between His permissible will and His perfect will. From this experience I’ve learned, nobody gets a blessing the same way. It just doesn’t work that way. If we say we believe and trust in Him, it can’t be just lip service. It has to be something greater within us, that allows us to walk that uncomfortable path. And believe me, when I tell you…it is UNCOMFORTABLE. The one where we may not get everything we want. Not financially, nor through relationships. Like I said, really tough, but in the end though, really gratifying. Trusting that God knows best is something that will benefit you in the long run. Doing so will help us get through our situations even when they become inconvenient. And even though, it’s STILL hard for me to completely trust in God, I’m working to get to the point where I absolutely do. That’s when I know the blessings will come.
Remember: 1 Corinthians 10:23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.
Caution: Another moment of truth here!! (This is kind of a continuation of the: Marriage Just Aint What I Expected blog):
I’m just gonna be real right here. When I got married, I had all these expectations of how our life would be lived. I believed it would be like sitting on the beaches of Tahiti every week (just in our minds while physically in California). I thought there would be this non-stop honeymoon with tons of smiles, and a love that I believed was the best thing to happen to the human race since the invention of the wheel. Well…Soooo, my dream marriage didn’t exactly turn out that way. Let’s just say that I got a rude awakening the first few years of my marriage. I would mention her, but let’s just talk about me. I found out that we didn’t actually get along as well as I’d thought. Or at least not the way we did when we met. I also learned that I’m not as easy to live with as I’d like to think I am. I couldn’t make her laugh as easily, nor was I as great at making plans or at being the “Head of the Household”. I was actually pretty terrible at it now that I think about it. You could say that our marriage had all the makings of a divorce. At least early-on.
In about year number four, I think I finally realized a few things about myself. I realized that I was rarely clear about things, unless there was some type of crisis. Almost as if when our backs were against the wall, I became the leader I wanted to be. She finally saw a man that would actually take charge, instead of being all kinds of wishy washy. It was funny, because she almost seemed to respond better when that guy showed up. The thing was just learning how to be that person all the time or at least at the right one (Timing: another weakness of mine).
I honestly had some of the same thoughts that I had judged others for so many times: Thoughts like, “Why did they get married? Do they really love each other? This wasn’t like what we saw on TV so many times. This wasn’t the happily ever after I thought about.”
You know, as long as I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve mentioned the issues with relationships and marriages. I’ve spoken pretty candidly, at least I believe. Speaking about it’s downfalls and pitfalls. The issues two people can have when attempting to be on the same page. The struggle that comes with taking those vows is real, trust me when I say that. Again like I said, to some singles, it may even seem as though I’ve been discouraging them from having relationships or getting married. To be clear and precise, I have never said that people shouldn’t get married if they love each other, and are committed to what comes with it. I’ll even go as far as to say that there are some people out there that should probably stop wasting time and get married already. Like I said, it may seem like I am trying to keep people from being married or staying married, but on the contrary, I would say that there’s something to be said about a couple that has been able to weather those storms. Because there are many. The reason I can say there are many storms is more from experience than just book knowledge. Trust me, there’s no book out there that can prepare you adequately for some of what’s to come. Sure they can tell you what happened to them, but they never quite gets the feelings involved explained in a way that everyone can relate to.
When I speak about weathering the storm, I’m talking about those who are committed to someone enough to deal with all those things you seem not to like about the person. Those that are willing to stay even when they can’t think of four good things they like about the person. Let’s be real here, marriage is great, but it’s not always a party. There are generally more moments where you’re just even keel than over the top happy or drag the person in the street upset at one another. Those are the times when marriage isn’t beautiful. He’s not very handsome to you, and she’s not beautiful the way she was when she had that dress on. It’s tough. I mean, we knew that part right? Sure, but we have to learn to understand that there are benefits to getting past the hard times. You know what I’m talking about. The financial stuff, because everyone’s had moments where money was tight (I’m still feelin’ that one). Times where someone had to deal with some sort of loss or death in the family. A person close to you betraying your trust, and the different emotions that come with that. You all know what I’m talking about. There’s just so much, and then you have to be concerned or aware of the person next to you, things tend to get a little “complicated”. They too have feelings that need to be taken care of or catered to. It’s never easy, but I would say it is gratifying. Especially when you ultimately learn how much you’ve begun to trust your spouse. They become that go-to person in your life, you’ve always wanted. Not your best friend, because they can move away, but your husband/wife, because that’s who they were actually meant to be.
A good friend once told me, that if you’re having a tough time remembering why you married someone, go back and take a look at the wedding video, if you’re fortunate enough to have one. If not, go back and look at those pictures. You’d be surprised the amount of feeling and emotions those memories bring forth. That’s why we recorded those moments to begin with. To make sure we always remembered what it was like, the first time we kissed as a married couple. Or loved ones we spent time with or witnessed the occasions.
I can’t lie, my wife, means everything to me. She’s the one person I can’t hold back my tears from. Whom I can’t go a day without thinking about. If there was a natural disaster, she’s the last person I’d want to be without in that time. She’s the best part of our marriage. And that I can truly say I appreciate. Does that mean she doesn’t get on my nerves sometimes…sure she does. Plus, my jokes are funny, and she needs to laugh at them more!!!
Surprisingly, I owe most or all of how I currently feel, to the tougher times in our first few years together. We wouldn’t be as close without all that we’ve gone and will go through. Without those times, those storms, I wouldn’t appreciate her the way I do. It made our covering much larger, and our shelter much more secure.
So, it’s coming up on 7 years that I’ve been married. I know…sounds like a long time. Feels like even longer. Truth be told though, there have been a lot of things we’ve gone through in growing as couple, as well some things we’ve had to process in order to grow as individuals as well. With that said, I can honestly say I don’t know if marriage is exactly what I’ve bargained for.
So before I get in trouble and my wife starts receiving all types of calls let me explain…
As I was coming up, I grew up seeing visions of marriage like the Cosby Show, where there was tons of success and very few mishaps or failures. Shows like Family Matters, The Brady Bunch, Full House, blah, blah, blah. All of which had a generally strong family dynamic, where the husband was labeled as this breadwinner/provider/head of household, and the wife as a caregiver/primary cook/and bearer of children there as the husband’s teammate and ultimately worked alongside with the husband and could work every issue they had with each other out within 17 to 23 minutes of actual TV time. I know what you’re thinking…THAT IS THE PERFECT FAMILY MODEL. You’re right, they are, but truth be told, they didn’t necessarily provide a realistic point of view of how a marriage actually goes.
You have all types of romantic comedies out there that depict love and marriage as something that just hits you like an epiphany, when that’s not always the case. My favorite movie is Love Jones. I honestly can’t get enough of that movie. Plus the movie has writing and poetry in it. There’s a part in the movie where Nina and Darius (the main characters) acknowledge that the world can’t keep them apart and that nothing mattered except for their love. They couldn’t stop being in love after a year apart and now they know it…cue credits!!!
That’s the love model. Movies like that are the reason why all of us marry in the first place, right? Well, then I got married (DUN DUN DUUUUNNNNN???)…and it was literally nothing like what I saw on TV. It seemed as if there were more arguments, about less serious things. There were more disagreements, less “I Love You’s”, and definitely less make-up sex than there was on TV. Fights generally lasted hours, or days, not minutes like the TV Shows of the 90’s suggested. No problem I’ve ever had in my marriage was every resolved in 17 minutes. Not even the easy ones. It’s as if the credits after the movie was offering a promise that once you get to the part where you discover how much you love someone, that everything else works itself out. In the words of the great Charlie Murphy: “Wrong!!! Wrong!!! I wasn’t always the bread winner, and she didn’t want to be just the cook or bearer of children. She wanted more.
Again, I know what you’re thinking: “Jason, that doesn’t really go along with how I think marriage should go.” Well, to that I’d say, Agreed.
That’s what I mean when I say Marriage isn’t what I expected. It just has never been very easy for me. It’s as if, I’ve been caught up in this world of some type of perfection, and I forgot that there will be moments where she wants to throw a pot of hot grits at me (Ladies, I STRONGLY ADVISE AGAINST THAT). There are even days when I just don’t wanna be there, or hear her tell me, that the trash is full and that it needs to go out. (Like I’m not an adult and can’t see the trash overflowing, Hmph…Who does she think she is?) It seems like those days always required so much, dare I say…WORK…Even the days that felt easy, required work. When I say work, I mean, the whole me having to be there and participate in it. My conversations weren’t finely tuned or scripted like on TV. I couldn’t spend hours working out the different scenarios of things we’d talk about. I don’t know every silly or crazy thing my kid(s) will do, or how I’ll resolve every issue for that matter. I say all this to say that’s actually the part I like about it. That I don’t always know what’s going to happen. It’s not boring, just different for me. There are days where you’ll feel like you’ve known the person you’re whole life and then days where you feel like you don’t know them at all. Look no further than the example of a pregnant woman. It’s absolutely CRAAAAZZZZYYYY!!! Trust me, you don’t have to experience it for yourself to take my word for it. I’m telling you now. HAHAHA!!!
To say Marriage is not what I expected, is quite the understatement. To say that is a bad thing, is not entirely accurate either. Marriage is one of those things that is kind of what you make of it. And it’s really up to you on whether or not your marriage is a terrible one or if it’s really successful. I won’t go as far as to say my marriage has been completely and utterly successful. Buuttt….I won’t say it’s been a bust either. It has been quite a ride for us. And we’re actually still pretty interested to see how the rest of the story goes. We still have issues to fight over, and things to disagree upon; but we also still have more smiles and epic moments to come. That’s what I look forward to be honest with you. We’re far from our closing credits, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!!!