In the same way, no two people have the same relationship with God. Now think of all the people God knows, and it's incomprehensible that He doesn't start to treat us all alike in some ways. I feel stretched to the max getting to know my husband and five kids. Not to mention all the "friends" I have on Facebook (annnnd, I'm kidding). But God has made us all so unique, that the ways in which he relates to us are infinitely unique. Although most of us like to enjoy affinity with one another, I try to be cautious not to project my own preferences or experiences onto others. As more grey hairs twang out of the top of my head (which I infer to mean I'm growing wiser) I opinionate less and listen more...and I am amazed at our creative God and the depth of his love for us. I'll notice that he loves someone else in a completely different way than he is loving me, much like how I relate to my own children. I can be jealous of how He is loving another, or maybe just glad for them, because that's not what would float my boat. It drives me crazy to see people rolling their eyes at a mother's maternity choices, or telling someone what God wants them to do, as if in their limited frame of reference, they've become all-knowing.
Sometimes I don't want to admit it, but marriages are all different, too. There are some basic ideas, but how that plays out for each person is infinitely unique. I recently heard Bill Clem of Mars Hill Ballard say this:
"What I understood about marriage, before I got remarried, was that I could be a good husband by being a biblical husband. But if you have children...you start understanding you can love them, but there really is a difference and that you can't just generically be "dad" or generically be "mom" to all [five]. That there's a way that you have to love each person in a unique way. That becomes the assignment in marriage. It isn't to be a generic biblical spouse, but it is to be a biblical spouse who is tailor-shaping that love to your spouse, and that they tailor themselves to express a biblical love to you and that's what makes it marriage instead of simply fellowship."The reason I don't want to admit this is because I am married to an addict. I want to squeeze my marriage into the boundaries of another marriage, so I can somehow extract more of the romantic ideals that other marriages seem to have more of. I want to be experiencing what I regard as cohesive marriage where we're both equally contributing to the relationship (picture me doing the Robot here). In our relationship it seems like we are both contributing to the healing of the addict, and a very unequal piece of care comes my way. This may or may not be true, and this may or may not be something I have control over; I haven't completely figured it out yet. On many good days, I'm leaning hard into friends and my Redeemer Husband to keep my heart from exploding with need.
Twice this week I've heard Philippians 2--
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who,being in very nature God, didn't consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross! (NIV)Wow. If Jesus was equal to God and used this status to serve others with to-the-death humility, then how about this: I am unequivocally loved, accepted and provided for by God, so I have the ability to use this to serve others with to-the-death humility. Obedience....the very nature of a servant....tailor-shaping that love to your spouse.... It all fits together, and it serves me well to keep asking... how?