Sorry for not getting this up until today (which goes for Brittany over at Daughter... Wife... Mom... Sis too) but my husband was out of town all week and, well, I wasn't able to accomplish much of anything aside from chasing down two little ones. And Brittany's 4-year-old had his tonsils and adenoids removed yesterday so she's been tending to that and will have her post up late as well. Life happens, you know? But kudos to Laurel over at Welcome to Deckerville for beating us both to it. So onto this week's topic, which is accountability:
Friends... we all have them. Some are friends for a short season and some are friends for life. Some are friends that you partied with in college or went wild with on spring break, memories that you'd maybe rather forget. And then others are the ones who console you when you're upset or going through a difficult time, give you advice, and hopefully steer you in a different direction when you're choosing a not-so-great path. Throughout my life I have had all of these sets of friends, many that are and will be my best friends for life, but if I had to choose one that holds me most accountable, it would have to be my husband (say it together... "awwwwww"). But seriously, since day one, he has been the one who has supported me the most, encouraged me always, and challenged me to be the best version of myself, even when it meant making tough changes in my life that I did not always want to make. And his baseline measurement for everything? Scripture. With every protest I had and every time I thought he was wrong, he opened that book and showed me things I had never seen. For example, if I got caught in a lie, he would point out that the Bible It's funny to me now, but looking back on our journey together I can remember how frustrating it could be. To me the Bible was just a book of stories, but to him it was a manual for how to live your life, which is what it is supposed to be. Fast forward to now and it's the same for me and I hope and pray that my children will always view it that way.
But let me back up a bit and give you a little background here. Josh and I met and had a bit of a whirlwind romance. We were already in our late twenties and were both ready to meet "the one." After one date it was evident to both of us that this was it- and he was even bold enough to tell me that. On date two. Yeah, my husband can be a bit intense. And because of these feelings he asked me to marry him a mere six weeks after that first meeting. To look back on it, I still think it's a little bit crazy, but it's one of those things that with hindsight being 20/20, I know it was God's timing... because if we hadn't gotten engaged that quickly, we probably would not have made it. Yes, you read that correctly... because we made a commitment to each other so early on, we decided to work through a lot of things that would have probably broken us otherwise. And these things I speak of are all accountability issues.
Let me preface this by saying that I was not some sort of horrible person before I met Josh. As a friend, I am the same... fun-loving, outgoing, caring (sometimes to a fault), and compassionate. I love people so much and am fascinated by how different we all are and love getting to know people better. But the trouble with this is that not only do I attach myself to the good ones, but I also attach myself to the "bad" ones. I put bad in quotations because I do not think people are inherently bad, but there are some who influence others in not-so-great ways, myself included. Because I love people, I also crave acceptance- I love to be liked, and to be popular if possible. With that desire being bigger than any set of standards I had set for myself and who I want to be as a person, it's very easy to make decisions that are not in your best interest... just to be cool. To be liked. A person (like me) often does things to impress whatever crowd they're running with at the time, whether good or bad. You see this with Olympians- they are all great because they surround themselves with greatness. On the other hand, a drug addict never set out to become one, but because they more than likely surrounded themselves with other drug addicts, they eventually end up running that same course, too. It's all about your circle of influence.
Before meeting Josh, I really thought that once you became someone's friend, it was almost your responsibility to always be that person's friend. But as he began to point out to me, some relationships do more harm than good, so why would I want to keep them in my life? Uhhhh... I had no answer. Through our engagement, he encouraged me to evaluate all of the people in my life and try and sort out who it was that made my life better, who shared the same values, and who built me up to be a better person, rather than dragged me down. Often people think that they are going to be the friend that changes a person for the better, perhaps helping them turn away from a bad habit or a bad relationship or even lead a non-believer to Christ. While in some cases this is true, more often than not the opposite happens. A person has to be willing and open to change before you can change them. But even more so than that, you need to remember that YOU can't change anyone, only Christ can do that. Severing ties is one of the most difficult things a person can be faced with, particularly if you inherently care deeply for the other person. But if a "friend" or past relationship is continuously tearing you down or bringing you pain, it's time to evaluate whether or not you will be a path to that person's heart change. And if not, it's time to move on.
There are still people in my life that probably question my decision to turn my back on some people from my past, shutting them out completely. In the world of social media overload, it's common for us to keep connected with everyone, good or bad: ex-boyfriends or girlfriends and even people who have betrayed us somehow still continue to be our Facebook friends. And for what? As Josh once asked me, do you think he/she really cares how you're doing these days? Curiosity is one thing, but caring is completely different. How I'm doing probably has nothing to do with a person from my past's happiness... that thought alone was just a bit egotistical of me. Like I said, it's not easy and the decision will probably be questioned, but in Josh I saw light and a future. I saw a man who would teach me the right ways to live according to the living Word. And without knowing it at the time, I must have had a glimpse of a future filled with freedom from those past decisions that brought me guilt or shame, often derived by unhealthy relationships with people who weighed me down or led me astray. Is my husband perfect? Of course not, nor does he claim to be. In fact, there are days that he drives me completely nuts and we still disagree on things from time to time. But at the end of the day, moving forward with him and making our marriage and friendship as strong as possible is far more important than the road I traveled down to get here.
I hope you find this encouraging if you're facing any similar situations. I pulled few verses that helped me through a lot of this to share with you as well:
"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." (Matthew 7:6)
"If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)
"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6)
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
As for next week, I don't even know what the topic is because it's Brittany's turn to pick! Keep an eye out for her post sometime soon and it will be at the bottom. And as soon as I find out what it is, I'll share it in a new post, too! I hope my words are encouraging to you, especially if you find yourself in this situation. Just remember that no matter what, you are loved. Have a fantastic weekend!