2018 will be one of the best years of my life. I say this because in just 2 short months, I’ll get to say ‘I Do’ to the woman I’ve been in Love with for almost 9 years. Just typing that puts a big smile on my face. I smile because of all that we’ve been through and by the grace of God, all that we’ve overcome.
I remember being a little boy growing up and imagining what this day would be like: The suit I would wear, the music I’d play, the cute little flower girls, and of course me waiting as My Beautiful Bride walks down the aisle. And now, in just a few short months, all that I once dreamed about as a boy, will finally happen!
As exciting as this time has been, there have also been moments where people have given me advice or have shared their opinions about marriage and “how hard it is,” based on their own experiences. It’s like they’re preparing me to be ready to face what they faced and what they faced was really hard so I better listen up. Their advice could be about marriage, a new job, or that dream you’ve always had and finally going after. But what’s interesting about the advice that some people give is that we may believe in different things. So the advice we’re getting from this person’s bad experience, may not be for us.
But there are those people who have NO idea what they believe in when it comes to their faith, their marriage, their kids, their job, etc. So what do they do? They seek out advice or tips from those who have experienced what they’re about to experience and then use what they’ve heard in their own life.
This happens all the time and if we’re not careful, we will allow others to manipulate what should be joyful into something that becomes joyless. In other words, someone else’s fear now becomes our fear - Someone else’s story now becomes our story. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s not the way I want to live my life.
So what can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen? Well I think Carl Lentz said it best,
“We have to learn ever increasingly how to stand strong in what we believe, so we don’t get swayed when things get challenging.”
“STAND STRONG IN WHAT WE BELIEVE”
Things WILL inevitably get challenging but if we can have conviction and confidence in what we believe in, we won’t be easily swayed. We’ll be able to take what works for us, disregard what doesn’t, and then be on our way. But it first starts with what you believe in and what that means to you. As the famous quote says, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
I remember a situation earlier in our relationship when I was planning to move to Los Angeles. Anna still had 2 years of school left which meant she would need to stay in Texas to finish her degree.
There were a lot of times when I, or many others I’m sure, probably didn’t think we’d survive. I remember someone close to me who said, “Scottie long distance is really hard – Y’all probably won’t make it.” The more I heard these types of comments, the more I started to believe them. But God had other plans and his plan was for us to use this experience - A Long Distance Relationship- and allow it to strengthen our faith, our trust, & our love for him. The more we focused on him, the more we grew as a couple. It wasn’t always easy, but instead of listening to the negativity of others, we put our trust in God and built our relationship on that foundation.
Now I am always open to receiving advice as long as it’s constructive. Anna & I are both so far from perfect and we’re always looking for ways to be better, as individuals and as a couple. But what I’m talking about is allowing other people’s opinions from their own experiences, which could be totally opposite from what you believe in, start to affect your thoughts, your decisions, and ultimately, your life.
I want to challenge you today to stand STRONG in what you believe in. Pursue Godly wisdom & not the wisdom of the world. And Surround yourself with friends & community that will give you the wisdom that aligns with what you believe in.
I hope this encourages somebody.
Share with someone who needs this reminder.