Relationship Goals: Check Your Baggage

Last week I began attending a Tuesday night worship service in Fort Worth with my cousin called The Porch. I have no other way to describe it other than purely amazing. The service itself takes place at multiple campuses across DFW, but the Fort Worth location alone sees nearly 400 young adults weekly. Spending time with these young adults all coming together to worship God is difficult to beat.

Anyway, so I’ve been twice now and I have loved it both times. I came in during the middle of a sermon series called Relationship Goals. Two sermons, both amazing. Naturally, I am going to do a two part series over both sermons.

Both of these sermons come straight from the young adult Jonathan Pokluda. It was just one of those things that JP’s sermons were so convicting, I had to share them.

While I can be weary of the term relationship goals sometimes, I do see what JP is getting at with his sermon title. I don’t believe we should strive to have the exact things another relationship has, however, there are things in relationships we should definitely strive for.

First things first, date for biblical marriage. I have said it before, so I will reiterate what JP said last week, if you’re not dating for biblical marriage, you don’t need to be dating at all.

Next, love people. I am a firm believer loving people can change the world. God loves us and therefore we have no right to love other people. It can be hard, we can say people hurt us, and therefore they don’t deserve it. Hear me out, they do. God loves them, so love them.

So when you know to date for biblical marriage and love people, what do you do next? Deal with your baggage.

Baggage. We all have it. Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s there. We’ve been hurt. Wronged. Angered. Abused. Beaten. Neglected. You name it, we’ve felt it.

Why should you deal with your baggage? To put it bluntly, you have no business dating until you do. When you don’t deal with your baggage but decide to date anyway, all you’re going to do is dump that baggage on someone else. You’ll end up hurting them in the ways you’ve been hurt.

There is no better reason to get rid of the baggage. Take off the baggage and put on Christ because Christ is who makes you new.

So what happens when we don’t deal with our baggage? We end up with unchecked sins, hurts, lies that seek to destroy us.

JP classified unchecked sins as “pet sins.” These are the sins we ignore and therefore struggle getting rid of. We can think of it as old clothes, the ones you never wear yet are always hanging in your closet. Those clothes exist in sins in our lives as well.

The problem with these unchecked sins is they seek to hurt a marriage before it even begins. You cannot expect a marriage to survive if you’re okay allowing sins like addiction, pornography, and so, so many more thrive in your life.

How do you deal with this? You do whatever it takes to deal them. If you don’t they will end you. They will result in deep hurt. You seek help, you talk to others, and you seek God. It may take longer than you wish it will, but healing will come.

Sin isn’t the only thing JP addressed though. There are still hurts and lies left that need to dealt with as well.

So what are hurts? Hurts are the things that have happened to us. As stated before, these are the instances where we’ve been wronged, abused, neglected, and angered. These are the things that leave us broken. This is a brokenness we have to deal with. It will eat us to death if we don’t.

I don’t think I can emphasize enough how important it is to find healing. Bringing the hurts to the light and letting God work, we experience empathy with God. Even more, healed people heal people. The lack of forgiveness results in trouble, the opposite results in healing.

Lastly, lies left unchecked will lead you astray. When we don’t deal with the lies in our life, all we do is shuffle them around. One lie becomes another lie, which becomes another lie, which becomes another lie. By the time it’s all said and done, we’ve wandered so far away, we need God to guide us back.

The important thing about relationships is to remember they don’t point to our happiness, they point to who put us here. Relationships point toward God, nothing else.

The whole conversation about baggage reminded me of an episode of Gilmore Girls. In this episode, Lorelai whole-heartedly tells Christopher, Rory’s dad, that no matter what her relationship status has been, she always had the prospect of Christopher in her mind. She then proceeded to tell Christopher that she feels she has subconsciously sabotaged all of her relationships because he was so linked to her mind. But (there’s always a but) she’s telling Christopher this because now she feels she can move beyond it.

Are you making the face I am? Christopher is Lorelai’s baggage and in that two minute speech, she told Christopher he is the reason for her unhappiness in the past 16 years, that he is the reason she endured unhealthy relationships. Lorelai never dealt with her baggage and proceeded to blame everyone else for it, especially Christopher.

It hurts. It hurts having someone else tell you that you’re the reason for any struggles in their life, whether they realize they’re doing it or not. It hurts to be on the receiving end of it, but it also hurts to be the one giving it to.

To say that we can’t have healthy relationships because of someone else, to say that we can’t love someone or even talk to someone, isn’t a result of that person, but a direct result of the baggage we lug around in our own hearts. This is why we seek healing and this is why we check our baggage. We will not be able to move forward in life without it.

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