If you have been following my blog (and for that I want to say thanks!) then you know I spent the past couple weeks reading the book Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough by Justin and Trisha Davis. This book spoke to me in ways I expected it would and even further. I began doing installment pieces over Justin & Trisha’s story because I firmly believe there are lessons we can all learn.
The main lesson I have gathered and emphasized the most so far from Justin & Trisha is that to reach these extraordinary levels in our lives and in our relationships we should allow God to change US. Not our situations, not other people, but us. Our hearts, our attitudes, our minds, our emotions. We should allow God to give us revelations of who is and follow the transformation that will undoubtedly ensue from these revelations. Not only will these changes elevate our mind, but they provide us with opportunities to experience God for who he is and the work he is capable of.
Many times experiencing a true transformation in our life will require a leap of faith. If we are willing to take this leap of faith, we usually have no idea of the journey that will soon follow. Justin & Trisha use the example of the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. I’m sure most of you know the story – the Israelites trusted God to lead them out of slavery in Egypt, witnessed God perform miracles, and then only a few days into their journey began to beg Moses to take them back to Egypt because they were tired. When these resentments toward God’s plan set in and we reach the point where we want to go back to the way things were, we begin to rely more on what we can do than what God can do (BIG mistake, but we all make it).
The problem with relying on ourselves and not on God is not only do we doubt what our Lord is capable of, but we are also left with a God-like hole in our hearts. A God-like hole that only God himself can fill. Maybe you are a person who thinks you can handle everything without God. Justin & Trisha call that the Messiah complex. You believe you have everything figured out and you don’t need God. If you’re like me, then you suffer from the opposite, what the couple would call the reverse-Messiah complex.
In this reverse-Messiah complex, I am guilty of placing God-like expectations on those around me, especially those closest to me. I expect them to pick me up and solve all of my problems (and make them idols in the process) only to blame them when they fall short and my expectations aren’t met. I create a God-like hole in my heart that I expect others to fill (Think back to Godly Dating 101). Then when they fail, not only do I blame them, but I have bred feelings of hurt, misunderstanding, and unresolved conflict. Due to this situation, I am guilty of leaving others around me feeling like they are never good enough. When we let these God-like holes thrive in our lives, the problems we ignore will only continue to come back until we allow God himself to fill the hole.
Speaking from personal experience (as Justin & Trisha did too) when we don’t deal with our God-like holes, we begin to gage the “success” of our lives around the conflict we have avoided. We settle for less than what God longs for us to have. We aren’t different. However, avoiding pain and conflict NEVER leads to oneness (remember that feeling of wanting to be fully known?). As the Israelites on their journey, we would rather settle for ordinary in Egypt as opposed to an extraordinary walk with God through the wilderness.
The author’s stated it and I couldn’t word it any better – God’s greatest purpose for our lives isn’t where we are going but who we are becoming. During the walks in the wilderness, we are refined and we learn about God. We are better equipped to learn to trust God and not forget him when we reach the Promised Land.
The longer we live with these God-like holes, seeing things play out differently than we thought they would and feeling only disappointment, we begin to question our decisions. Justin & Trisha would call this the dip.
When we reach a dip in our lives, we reach the moment we feel we have manipulated all we can but things still aren’t changing. Our choice is simple, we can either go back to Egypt (unhappy and settling for ordinary) or we can trust God through the wilderness. Basically, we can choose to stick it out or quit.
In the dip, we begin to wonder if our journey is truly worth it. If we quit, well, then we will never know. We may avoid the pain of transformation, but we also forfeit God molding our hearts. BUT it is during those moments in the dip we get to experience God shaping us, forming us, and refining us (whether concerning relationships or our personal lives only). I believe it is in the dip we receive some of our greatest revelations of God for who is not because he has changed our situation but because he has changed us! We learn what it truly feels like to lean on God because we stop trying to be God (or have others play God) and we let God be God!
As I said earlier, this is a very, very deep book. The things I have just discussed (completely based off the writings of Justin & Trisha) are very, very deep. They are difficult to deal with and difficult to comprehend. After all, why should we want to embrace pain in our lives? I sure didn’t. I think God threw all the coconuts on the Hawaiian Islands at my head before I was ready to listen to Him.
I don’t want to romanticize the journey because the simple fact is facing the refiners fire sucked. I was in pain, lost, and confused. I told God daily I wanted to give up. Yet as I stated earlier, it was when I reached rock bottom, or the dip, that I experienced some of my most intimate moments with God. Everything I felt and everything I buried deep inside my heart was dug out. I became thankful for my journey because I wasn’t just made better, I was made new.
This is a video by The Skit Guys called God’s Chisel. I have seen it multiple times and maybe you have to, but no matter what, I invite you to visit the video and really hear what The Skit Guys are saying. The transformation is never easy, but it is always worth it.
P.S. I also highly encourage you to watch God’s Chisel Revisited. Same concept with slightly different dialogue and still just as good!