As I finished up reading Beyond Ordinary I knew God was speaking into my heart. So many thoughts flooded through my mind as I flipped through the pages of Justin and Trisha’s story. I saw so much of myself in them, and even more I learned so much more about myself.
I have debated long and hard about this. From the moment my mom shared Justin & Trisha’s story with me, I knew I wanted to read the book. Even more, I knew I would want to share the contents of their story with as many people as possible. However, I did not want to take the focus away from the grace so apparent from the work God did in their lives.
Being the analytical person I am, I tried to figure out the best way to share what I learned from Justin & Trisha’s story. I firmly believe there are lessons in here we can all learn from. So, I have decided to present this as a serial piece with “No Ordinary Battle” being part one. This is a very, very deep book. I had moments where I cried, one moment where I had to bite the collar of my shirt to try and hold in the pain, and multiple moments where I was continually analyzing the journey I am on.
Our lives are a journey and they are not a journey where God is simply along for the ride. Growing up, my dad said he was always bothered by the song ‘Jesus Take the Wheel’ by Carrie Underwood. My dad drilled into my sister and I from the day the song was released that no matter what, Jesus should ALREADY have the wheel. I can’t agree with my father more, and I think Justin & Trisha would too. If we are to truly say God is in control and truly have him direct our lives, then we must be willing to open ourselves to His plan and surrender our plans to Him.
The thing is God has a vision for our lives. As Justin & Trisha would continue to emphasize, part of that vision is what he can do for us in our relationships as couples. God’s vision is something different and far greater than anything we could ever imagine. Maybe not everyone has a desire to be different but I do. I want to reach different, and I am sure many others want to reach different as well, but we are not capable of doing it on our own. God wants to transform us. He wants to change our hearts. I may sound like a broken record player here, but we should let Him change us!
Justin & Trisha emphasize extraordinary throughout their entire book and talk their reader’s through the ways in which they can reach extraordinary. The most important aspect to remember is extraordinary can only come when we invite God to change us. He longs to transform us because this transformation allows us to look more like Him. He will answer this prayer for us. The process will hurt (believe me, it hurts) but the outcome is beautiful. As the author’s state, God does not promise us improved, He promises us new.
As stated in “No Ordinary Battle,” we have to fight for this. We have to pursue God fully and completely to find this change. No matter the outcome, things will always be better because you changed.
Like any other challenge, however, there is adversity in facing change and fear is usually the driving force of this adversity. As the couple states, we begin to fear being exposed, facing emotional pain, and not being loved. These aspects will usually lead to dishonesty as well. We begin to fear that if the people closest to us knew the truth then we would instantly become unlovable. Yet distorting and compromising truth does not benefit us in the end. Distorting and compromising truth will only erode intimacy and break trust in relationships (including platonic ones).
The funny thing about us (and trust me, I am just as guilty of this as the next person) is that when we face trouble and when things get hard, we know to turn to God. We know to pray and seek God’s guidance because we know it’s the right thing to do. Though somehow even when we turn to our heavenly Father, we still try to hide the darkest parts of ourselves from Him. We still view Him as some mystic-being floating around in the galaxy instead of the beautiful, omniscient God who knows us better than we could ever dream of knowing ourselves. Justin & Trisha emphasize intimacy a lot throughout their book. They describe intimacy as oneness which equals being fully known. When we try to hide the truth from the one’s we love, we limit the level of intimacy we are capable of experiencing in that relationship. This includes God!
As stated by the author’s, we can NEVER have extraordinary relationships when we settle for an ordinary relationship with God. Being honest is a condition of our hearts. Guess what it all loops back to? If you guessed allowing God to change us, then call Regis Philbin because you could be on Who Wants to be a Millionaire! (But seriously, does that show even exist anymore…?)
As Christians we are taught the importance of confessing our sins to God. When I was a little girl I remember I was with my dad at our church one day and while I don’t remember what I did, all I know is a I got in t-r-o-u-b-l-e. After what I’m sure was a very stern talk between me and my dad, he made me pray and confess to God what I had done. Even though I think I was only seven at the time, this has left a lasting impression on me. My dad explained to me how confession is not only admitting to God what we’ve done, but then asking for forgiveness and moving forward to do it no more. Confession doesn’t do any good in our lives if it doesn’t lead to a transformation. Sure, we need to be patient in the process but we still have to allow God to change us.
Even though God knows everything, the honesty of the confession is what brings us into a closer relationship with him. We experience new levels of intimacy with our Father and over time we see the evidence of this transformation in our lives. Our relationship with God moves from ordinary to extraordinary, and as a result the rest of our intimate relationships will as well.
Beautiful things can happen when we allow God to change us. While we may not always understand it, we may try to ignore it, and we may not want it, the outcome is positive, I promise. We do not simply become a better person. We become a new person. Remember – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
I pray you would allow yourself to become this new creature. I stand with Justin & Trisha that the journey is a difficult one indeed but the outcome is absolutely worth it. Who knows the beautiful and perfect journey your transformation could take you on!